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Acceptance of Commercial-Grade Design and Analysis Computer Programs for Nuclear Power Plants

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AGENCY:

Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION:

Draft regulatory guide; request for comment.

SUMMARY:

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is issuing for public comment draft regulatory guide (DG), DG-1305, “Acceptance of Commercial-Grade Design and Analysis Computer Programs for Nuclear Power Plants.” This DG provides new (i.e., not preceded by earlier guidance on the same subject) guidance that describes acceptance methods that the staff of the NRC considers acceptable in meeting regulatory requirements for acceptance and dedication of commercial-grade design and analysis computer programs for nuclear power plants.

DATES:

Submit comments by August 31, 2015. Comments received after this date will be considered if it is practical to do so, but the NRC is able to ensure consideration only for comments received on or before this date. Although a time limit is given, comments and suggestions in connection with items for inclusion in guides currently being developed or improvements in all published guides are encouraged at any time.

ADDRESSES:

You may submit comments by any of the following methods (unless this document describes a different method for submitting comments on a specified subject):

  • Federal Rulemaking Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2015-0153. Address questions about NRC dockets to Carol Gallagher; telephone: 301-415-3463; email: Carol.Gallagher@nrc.gov. For technical questions, contact the individual(s) listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this document.
  • Mail comments to: Cindy Bladey, Office of Administration, Mail Stop: OWFN-12-H08, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001.

For additional direction on accessing information and submitting comments, see “Obtaining Information and Submitting Comments” in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

George Lipscomb, Office of New Start Printed Page 37667Reactors, 301-415-6838, email: George.Lipscomb@nrc.gov, or Steve Burton, Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research, 301-415-7000, email: Stephen.Burton@nrc.gov. U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Obtaining Information and Submitting Comments

A. Obtaining Information

Please refer to Docket ID NRC-2015-0153 when contacting the NRC about the availability of information regarding this document. You may obtain publically-available information related to this document, by any of the following methods:

  • Federal Rulemaking Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2015-0153.
  • NRC's Agencywide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS): You may obtain publicly available documents online in the ADAMS Public Documents collection at http://www.nrc.gov/​reading-rm/​adams.html. To begin the search, select “ADAMS Public Documents” and then select “Begin Web-based ADAMS Search.” For problems with ADAMS, please contact the NRC's Public Document Room (PDR) reference staff at 1-800-397-4209, 301-415-4737, or by email to pdr.resource@nrc.gov. The ADAMS accession number for each document referenced (if available in ADAMS), is provided the first time that a document is referenced. The DG is electronically available in ADAMS under Accession No. ML14119A286.
  • NRC's PDR: You may examine and purchase copies of public documents at the NRC's PDR, Room O1-F21, One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852.

B. Submitting Comments

Please include Docket ID NRC-2015-0153 in the subject line of your comment submission, in order to ensure that the NRC is able to make your comment submission available to the public in this docket.

The NRC cautions you not to include identifying or contact information that you do not want to be publicly disclosed in your comment submission. The NRC will post all comment submissions at http://www.regulations.gov as well as enters the comment submissions into ADAMS. The NRC does not routinely edit comment submissions to remove identifying or contact information.

If you are requesting or aggregating comments from other persons for submission to the NRC, then you should inform those persons not to include identifying or contact information that they do not want to be publicly disclosed in their comment submission. Your request should state that the NRC does not routinely edit comment submissions to remove such information before making the comment submissions available to the public or entering the comment submissions into ADAMS.

II. Additional Information

The NRC is issuing for public comment a DG in the NRC's “Regulatory Guide” series. This series was developed to describe and make available to the public information regarding methods that are acceptable to the NRC staff for implementing specific parts of the NRC's regulations, techniques that the staff uses in evaluating specific issues or postulated events, and data that the staff needs in its review of applications for permits and licenses.

The DG, entitled, “Acceptance of Commercial-Grade Design and Analysis Computer Programs for Nuclear Power Plants,” is temporarily identified by its task number, DG-1305. This DG provides new guidance that describes acceptance methods that the staff of the NRC considers acceptable in meeting regulatory requirements for acceptance and dedication of commercial-grade design and analysis computer programs for nuclear power plants.

II. Backfitting and Issue Finality

Draft Guide-1305 describes acceptable methods for meeting the dedication requirements in part 21 of title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR) and 10 CFR 50.55(e) with respect to design and analysis computer programs for nuclear power plants. The draft regulatory guide, if finalized, would not constitute backfitting as defined in 10 CFR 50.109 (the Backfit Rule) and is not otherwise inconsistent with the issue finality provisions in 10 CFR part 52, “Licenses, Certifications and Approvals for Nuclear Power Plants.” This regulatory guide, if finalized, represents the first NRC guidance on this subject. Issuance of new guidance, by itself, does not represent backfitting unless the NRC intends to impose the guidance on existing licensees and currently-approved design certification rules issued under part 52. The NRC does not have such an intention. Existing licensees and applicants of final design certification rules will not be required to comply with the positions set forth in this draft regulatory guide, unless the licensee or design certification rule applicant seeks a voluntary change to its licensing basis with respect to safety-related power operated valve actuators, and where the NRC determines that the safety review must include consideration of the qualification of the valve actuators. Further information on the staff's use of the draft regulatory guide, if finalized, is contained in the draft regulatory guide under Section D. Implementation.

Applicants and potential applicants are not, with certain exceptions, afforded protection by either the Backfit Rule or any issue finality provisions under part 52. Neither the Backfit Rule nor the issue finality provisions under part 52—with certain exclusions discussed below—were intended to apply to every NRC action which substantially changes the expectations of current and future applicants. Therefore, the positions in any final draft regulatory guide, if imposed on applicants, would not represent backfitting (except as discussed below). The exceptions to the general principle are applicable whenever a combined license applicant references a part 52 license (i.e., an early site permit or a manufacturing license) and/or part 52 regulatory approval (i.e., a design certification rule or design approval. The staff does not, at this time, intend to impose the positions represented in the draft regulatory guide in a manner that is inconsistent with any issue finality provisions in these part 52 licenses and regulatory approvals. If, in the future, the staff seeks to impose a position in this regulatory guide in a manner which does not provide issue finality as described in the applicable issue finality provision, then the staff must address the criteria for avoiding issue finality as described applicable issue finality provision.

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Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 24th day of June, 2015.

For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Thomas H. Boyce,

Chief, Regulatory Guidance and Generic Issues Branch, Division of Engineering, Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research.

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[FR Doc. 2015-16131 Filed 6-30-15; 8:45 am]

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