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Southern California Edison Company; San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, Units 1, 2, and 3

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AGENCY:

Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION:

Exemption; issuance.

SUMMARY:

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is issuing an exemption from the requirement to maintain a specified level of onsite property damage insurance in response to an October 22, 2015, request from the Southern California Edison Company (the licensee). Specifically, the licensee requested that the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, Units 1, 2, and 3, be granted an exemption to permit the licensee to reduce its onsite property damage insurance from $1.06 billion to $50 million.

ADDRESSES:

Please refer to Docket ID NRC-2018-0004 when contacting the NRC about the availability of information regarding this document. You may obtain publicly-available information related to this document using any of the following methods:

  • Federal Rulemaking website: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2018-0004. Address questions about NRC dockets to Carol Gallagher; telephone: 301-415-3463; email: Carol.Gallagher@nrc.gov. For technical questions, contact the individual listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this document.
  • 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 it is available in ADAMS) is provided the first time that it is mentioned in this document.
  • 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.
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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Marlayna Vaaler, Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001; telephone: 301-415-3178; email: Marlayna.Vaaler@nrc.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

The San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, Units 1, 2, and 3 (SONGS), operated by the Southern California Edison Company (SCE) is located approximately 4 miles south of San Clemente, California. The SONGS, Unit 1, Docket No. 50-206, was a Westinghouse 456 megawatt electric (MWe) pressurized water reactor which was granted Facility Operating License No. DPR-13 on January 1, 1968 (ADAMS Accession No. ML13309A138), and ceased operation on November 30, 1992 (ADAMS Accession No. ML13319B040). The licensee completed defueling on March 6, 1993 (ADAMS Accession No. ML13319B055), and maintained the unit in SAFSTOR until June 1999, when it initiated decommissioning (ADAMS Accession No. ML13319B111). On December 28, 1993 (ADAMS Accession No. Start Printed Page 2681ML13319B059), the NRC approved the Permanently Defueled Technical Specifications for SONGS, Unit 1.

The SCE submitted the proposed Decommissioning Plan for SONGS, Unit 1, on November 3, 1994 (ADAMS Accession No. ML13319B073). As a result of the 1996 revision to the regulations in section 50.82 of title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR), the NRC replaced the requirement for a decommissioning plan with a requirement for a Post Shutdown Decommissioning Activities Report (PSDAR). On August 28, 1996, the SONGS, Unit 1, Decommissioning Plan became the SONGS 1 PSDAR (61 FR 67079; December 19, 1996). On December 15, 1998 (ADAMS Accession No. ML13184A353), SCE submitted an update to the PSDAR to the NRC, as required by 10 CFR 50.82(a)(7), in order to begin planning for the dismantlement and decommissioning of SONGS, Unit 1.

The SONGS, Units 2 and 3, Docket Nos. 50-361 and 50-362, are Combustion Engineering 1127 MWe pressurized water reactors, which were granted Facility Operating Licenses NPF-10 on February 16, 1982, and NPF-15 on November 15, 1982, respectively. In June 2013, pursuant to 10 CFR 50.82(a)(1)(i), the licensee certified to the NRC that as of June 7, 2013, operations had ceased at SONGS, Units 2 and 3 (ADAMS Accession No. ML131640201). The licensee subsequently certified, pursuant to 10 CFR 50.82(a)(1)(ii), that all fuel had been removed from the reactor vessels of both units, and committed to maintaining the units in a permanently defueled status (ADAMS Accession Nos. ML13204A304 and ML13183A391 for Unit 2 and Unit 3, respectively). Therefore, pursuant to 10 CFR 50.82(a)(2), SCE's 10 CFR part 50 licenses no longer authorize operation of SONGS or emplacement or retention of fuel into the reactor vessels. The licensee is still authorized to possess and store irradiated nuclear fuel. Irradiated fuel is currently being stored onsite in spent fuel pools (SFPs) and in dry casks at an Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation (ISFSI).

The PSDAR for SONGS, Units 2 and 3, was submitted on September 23, 2014 (ADAMS Accession No. ML14272A121), and the associated public meeting was held on October 27, 2014, in Carlsbad, California (ADAMS Accession No. ML14352A063). The NRC confirmed its review of the SONGS, Units 2 and 3, PSDAR and addressed public comments in a letter dated August 20, 2015 (ADAMS Accession No. ML15204A383). On July 17, 2015, the NRC approved the Permanently Defueled Technical Specifications for SONGS, Units 2 and 3 (ADAMS Accession No. ML15139A390).

II. Request/Action

Pursuant to 10 CFR 50.12, “Specific exemptions,” SCE requested an exemption from 10 CFR 50.54(w)(1), by letter dated October 22, 2015 (ADAMS Accession No. ML15299A220). The exemption from the requirements of 10 CFR 50.54(w)(1) would permit the licensee to reduce the required level of onsite property damage insurance from $1.06 billion to $50 million.

The regulation at 10 CFR 50.54(w)(1) requires each licensee to have and maintain onsite property damage insurance to stabilize and decontaminate the reactor and reactor site in the event of an accident. The onsite insurance coverage must be either $1.06 billion or whatever amount of insurance is generally available from private sources (whichever is less).

The licensee states that the risk of an incident at a permanently shutdown and defueled reactor is much less than the risk from an operating power reactor. In addition, since reactor operation is no longer authorized at SONGS, there are no events that would require the stabilization of reactor conditions after an accident. Similarly, the risk of an accident that that would result in significant onsite contamination at SONGS is also much lower than the risk of such an event at operating reactors. Therefore, SCE is requesting an exemption from 10 CFR 50.54(w)(1) to reduce its onsite property damage insurance from $1.06 billion to $50 million, commensurate with the reduced risk of an incident at the permanently shutdown and defueled SONGS site.

III. Discussion

Under 10 CFR 50.12, the Commission may, upon application by any interested person or upon its own initiative, grant exemptions from the requirements of 10 CFR part 50 when (1) the exemptions are authorized by law, will not present an undue risk to public health or safety, and are consistent with the common defense and security; and (2) any of the special circumstances listed in 10 CFR 50.12(a)(2) are present.

The financial protection limits of 10 CFR 50.54(w)(1) were established after the Three Mile Island accident out of concern that licensees may be unable to financially cover onsite cleanup costs in the event of a major nuclear accident. The specified $1.06 billion coverage amount requirement was developed based on an analysis of an accident at a nuclear reactor operating at power, resulting in a large fission product release and requiring significant resource expenditures to stabilize the reactor and ultimately decontaminate and cleanup the site.

These cost estimates were developed based on the spectrum of postulated accidents for an operating nuclear reactor. Those costs were derived from the consequences of a release of radioactive material from the reactor. Although the risk of an accident at an operating reactor is very low, the consequences onsite and offsite can be significant. In an operating plant, the high temperature and pressure of the reactor coolant system (RCS), as well as the inventory of relatively short-lived radionuclides, contribute to both the risk and consequences of an accident. With the permanent cessation of reactor operations at SONGS and the permanent removal of the fuel from the reactor cores, such accidents are no longer possible. As a result, the reactors, RCS, and supporting systems no longer operate and have no function related to the storage of the irradiated fuel. Therefore, postulated accidents involving failure or malfunction of the reactors, RCS, or supporting systems are no longer applicable.

As described in the PSDAR, SONGS, Unit 1, is being returned to a condition suitable for unrestricted use. According to SCE, there are no structures, systems, or components (SSCs) classified as safety-related remaining at SONGS, Unit 1. Plant dismantlement is complete and nearly all of the SSCs have been shipped offsite for disposal. Only the spent fuel, reactor vessel, and the below-grade portions of some buildings remain onsite. The principal remaining decommissioning activities are soil remediation, compaction, and grading. This is to be completed in conjunction with the future decommissioning of the ISFSI subsequent to shipment offsite of the SONGS stored spent fuel.

The licensee also stated that decommissioning of SONGS, Units 2 and 3, has begun and the nuclear reactors and essentially all associated SSCs in the nuclear steam supply system and balance of plant that supported the generation of power have been retired in place and are being prepared for removal. The SSCs that remain operable are associated with the SFPs and the spent fuel building, are needed to meet other regulatory requirements, or are needed to support other site facilities (e.g., radioactive waste handling, ventilation and air conditioning, etc.). No remaining active SSCs are classified as safety-related.Start Printed Page 2682

During reactor decommissioning, the largest radiological risks are associated with the storage of spent fuel onsite. In its October 22, 2015, exemption request, SCE discusses both design-basis and beyond design-basis events involving irradiated fuel stored in the SFPs. The licensee determined that there are no possible design-basis events at SONGS that could result in an offsite radiological release exceeding the limits established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) early-phase Protective Action Guidelines (PAGs) of 1 rem (roentgen equivalent man) at the exclusion area boundary, as a way to demonstrate that any possible radiological releases would be minimal and not require precautionary protective actions (e.g., sheltering in place or evacuation). The staff evaluated the radiological consequences associated with various decommissioning activities, and design basis accidents at SONGS, in consideration of SONGS's permanently shut down and defueled status. The possible design-basis accident scenarios at SONGS have greatly reduced radiological consequences. Based on its review, the staff concluded that no reasonably conceivable design-basis accident exists that could cause an offsite release greater than the EPA PAGs.

The only incident that might lead to a significant radiological release at a decommissioning reactor is a zirconium fire. The zirconium fire scenario is a postulated, but highly unlikely, beyond design-basis accident scenario that involves loss of water inventory from the SFP, resulting in a significant heat-up of the spent fuel, and culminating in substantial zirconium cladding oxidation and fuel damage. The probability of a zirconium fire scenario is related to the decay heat of the irradiated fuel stored in the SFP. Therefore, the risks from a zirconium fire scenario continue to decrease as a function of the time that SONGS has been permanently shut down. The licensee provided a detailed analysis of hypothetical beyond-design-basis accidents that could result in a radiological release at SONGS in its March 31, 2014, submittal to the NRC (ADAMS Accession No. ML14092A332), as supplemented by letters dated September 9, October 2, October 7, October 27, November 3, and December 15, 2014 (ADAMS Accession Nos. ML14258A003, ML14280A265, ML14287A228, ML14303A257, ML14309A195, and ML14351A078, respectively). One of these beyond design-basis accidents involves a complete loss of SFP water inventory, where cooling of the spent fuel would be primarily accomplished by natural circulation of air through the uncovered spent fuel assemblies. The licensee's analysis of this accident shows that by August 31, 2014, air-cooling of the spent fuel assemblies will be sufficient to keep the fuel within a safe temperature range indefinitely without fuel damage or offsite radiological release.

The Commission has previously authorized a lesser amount of onsite financial protection, based on this analysis of the zirconium fire risk. In SECY-96-256, “Changes to Financial Protection Requirements for Permanently Shutdown Nuclear Power Reactors, 10 CFR 50.54(w)(1) and 10 CFR 140.11,” dated December 17, 1996 (ADAMS Accession No. ML15062A483), the staff recommended changes to the power reactor financial protection regulations that would allow licensees to lower onsite insurance levels to $50 million upon demonstration that the fuel stored in the SFP can be air-cooled. In its Staff Requirements Memorandum to SECY-96-256, dated January 28, 1997 (ADAMS Accession No. ML15062A454), the Commission supported the staff's recommendation that, among other things, would allow permanently shutdown power reactor licensees to reduce commercial onsite property damage insurance coverage to $50 million when the licensee was able to demonstrate the technical criterion that the spent fuel could be air-cooled if the spent fuel pool was drained of water. The staff has used this technical criterion to grant similar exemptions to other decommissioning reactors (e.g., Maine Yankee Atomic Power Station, published in the Federal Register on January 19, 1999 (64 FR 2920); and Zion Nuclear Power Station, published in the Federal Register on December 28, 1999 (64 FR 72700)). These prior exemptions were based on these licensees demonstrating that the SFP could be air-cooled, consistent with the technical criterion discussed above.

In SECY-00-0145, “Integrated Rulemaking Plan for Nuclear Power Plant Decommissioning,” dated June 28, 2000, and SECY-01-0100, “Policy Issues Related to Safeguards, Insurance, and Emergency Preparedness Regulations at Decommissioning Nuclear Power Plants Storing Fuel in the Spent Fuel Pool,” dated June 4, 2001 (ADAMS Accession Nos. ML003721626 and ML011450420, respectively), the NRC staff discussed additional information concerning SFP zirconium fire risks at decommissioning reactors and associated implications for onsite property damage insurance. Providing an analysis of when the spent fuel stored in the SFP is capable of air-cooling is one measure that can be used to demonstrate that the probability of a zirconium fire is exceedingly low. However, the staff has more recently used an additional analysis that bounds an incomplete drain down of the SFP water, or some other catastrophic event (such as a complete drainage of the SFP with rearrangement of spent fuel rack geometry and/or the addition of rubble to the SFP). The analysis postulates that decay heat transfer from the spent fuel via conduction, convection, or radiation would be impeded. This analysis is often referred to as an adiabatic heatup.

The licensee's analyses referenced in its exemption request demonstrates that under conditions where the SFP water inventory has drained completely and only air-cooling of the stored irradiated fuel is available, there is reasonable assurance that after August 2014, the SONGS spent fuel will remain at temperatures far below those associated with a significant radiological release. However, a portion of the air-cooling analyses credits operation of the normal fuel building ventilation systems because the fuel building structures are robust and offer little potential for natural air exchange with the environment for cooling. Because the normal fuel building ventilation could become unavailable during an initiating event that would lead to complete SFP drainage (i.e., a seismic event), the NRC staff also relied upon the additional time that the fuel in the SONGS SFPs has had to cool since the plant was permanently shutdown in June 2013 during its evaluation of the licensee's exemption request. As discussed in the staff response to a question in SECY-00-0145, “the staff believes that full insurance coverage must be maintained for 5 years or until a licensee can show by analysis that its spent fuel pool is no longer vulnerable to such [a zirconium] fire.”

Although the official certifications for permanent cessation of power operations and permanent removal of fuel from the reactor vessel were not submitted until June 2013, the staff notes that SONGS was in an extended outage to address steam generator issues, and neither SONGS, Units 2 nor 3, have produced power since January 2012. This additional storage time for the fuel in the SONGS SFPs has allowed it to cool for greater than the 5 years suggested in SECY-00-0145, which supports the conclusion that zirconium fire risks from the irradiated fuel stored in the SFPs is of negligible concern and exemption from the requested requirements is warranted.Start Printed Page 2683

In addition to the air-cooling scenario, the licensee's adiabatic heat-up analyses demonstrate that as of October 12, 2014, there would be at least 17 hours after the loss of all means of cooling (both air and/or water), before the spent fuel cladding would reach a temperature where the potential for a significant offsite radiological release could occur. The licensee states that for this loss of all cooling scenario, 10 hours is sufficient time for personnel to respond with additional resources, equipment, and capability to restore cooling to the SFPs, even after a non-credible, catastrophic event.

As provided in SCE's letters dated October 7 and December 15, 2014, the licensee furnished information concerning its makeup strategies, in the event of a loss of SFP coolant inventory. The multiple strategies for providing makeup to the SFPs include: using existing plant systems for inventory makeup; an internal strategy that relies on installed fire water pumps and service water or fire water storage tanks; or an external strategy that uses portable pumps to initiate makeup flow into the SFPs through a seismic standpipe and standard fire hoses routed to the SFPs or to a spray nozzle. These strategies will be maintained by a license condition until such time as all fuel has been moved to dry storage in an onsite ISFSI. The licensee states that the equipment needed to perform these actions are located onsite, and that the external makeup strategy (using portable pumps) is capable of being deployed within 2 hours. The licensee also stated that, considering the very low-probability of beyond design-basis accidents affecting the SFPs, these diverse strategies provide defense-in-depth and time to mitigate and prevent a zirconium fire, using makeup or spray into the SFPs before the onset of zirconium cladding rapid oxidation.

In the safety evaluation of the licensee's request for exemptions from certain emergency planning requirements dated June 4, 2015 (ADAMS Accession No. ML15082A204), the NRC staff assessed the SCE accident analyses associated with the radiological risks from a zirconium fire at the permanently shutdown and defueled SONGS site. The NRC staff has confirmed that under conditions where cooling air flow can develop, suitably conservative calculations indicate that by the end of August 2014, the fuel would remain at temperatures where the cladding would be undamaged for an unlimited period. The staff also finds that the additional cooling time provided for the fuel between January 2012 and the issuance of this exemption provides reasonable assurance that zirconium fire risks from the irradiated fuel stored in the SFPs is of negligible concern. For the very unlikely beyond design-basis accident scenario, where the SFP coolant inventory is lost in such a manner that all methods of heat removal from the spent fuel are no longer available, there will be a minimum of 10 hours from the initiation of the accident until the cladding reaches a temperature where offsite radiological release might occur. The staff finds that 10 hours is sufficient time to support deployment of mitigation equipment, consistent with plant conditions, to prevent the zirconium cladding from reaching a point of rapid oxidation.

The staff's basis as to why it considers $50 million to be an adequate level of onsite property damage insurance for a decommissioning reactor, once the spent fuel in the SFP is no longer susceptible to a zirconium fire, is provided in SECY-96-256. The staff has postulated that there is still a potential for other radiological incidents at a decommissioning reactor that could result in significant onsite contamination besides a zirconium fire. In SECY-96-256, the NRC staff cited the rupture of a large (~450,000 gallon) liquid radioactive waste storage tank containing slightly radioactive water, causing soil contamination and potential groundwater contamination, as the most costly postulated event to decontaminate and remediate (other than a SFP zirconium fire). The postulated large liquid radwaste storage tank rupture event was determined to have a bounding onsite cleanup cost of approximately $50 million.

The NRC staff has determined that the licensee's proposed reduction in onsite property damage insurance coverage to a level of $50 million is consistent with SECY-96-256 and subsequent insurance considerations, resulting from additional zirconium fire risks, as discussed in SECY-00-0145 and SECY-01-0100. In addition, the NRC staff notes that similar exemptions have been granted to other permanently shutdown and defueled power reactors, upon demonstration that the criterion of the zirconium fire risks from the irradiated fuel stored in the SFP is of negligible concern. As previously stated, the staff concluded that as of October 12, 2014, sufficient irradiated fuel decay time has elapsed at SONGS to decrease the probability of an onsite radiological release from a postulated zirconium fire accident to negligible levels. In addition, the licensee's proposal to reduce onsite insurance to a level of $50 million is consistent with the maximum estimated cleanup costs for the recovery from the rupture of a large liquid radwaste storage tank. Finally, the staff notes that in accordance with the SONGS PSDAR, all spent fuel will be removed from the SFPs and moved into dry storage at an onsite independent spent fuel storage installation (ISFSI) by the end of 2019, and the probability of an initiating event that would threaten pool integrity occurring before that time is extremely low, which further supports the conclusion that the zirconium fire risk is negligible.

The Exemption Is Authorized by Law

In accordance with 10 CFR 50.12, the Commission may grant exemptions from the regulations in 10 CFR part 50 as the Commission determines are authorized by law. The NRC staff has determined that granting the licensee's proposed exemption will not result in a violation of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, Section 170, as amended, other laws, or the Commission's regulations, which require licensees to maintain adequate financial protection. Therefore, the proposed exemption for SONGS from the onsite property damage insurance requirements of 10 CFR 50.54(w)(1) is authorized by law.

The Exemption Will Not Present an Undue Risk to Public Health and Safety

The onsite property damage insurance requirements of 10 CFR 50.54(w)(1) were established to provide financial assurance that following a significant nuclear incident, onsite conditions could be stabilized and the site decontaminated. The requirements of 10 CFR 50.54(w)(1) and the existing level of onsite insurance coverage for SONGS are predicated on the assumption that the reactor is operating. However, SONGS is a permanently shutdown and defueled facility. The permanently defueled status of the facility has resulted in a significant reduction in the number and severity of potential accidents, and correspondingly, a significant reduction in the potential for and severity of onsite property damage. The proposed reduction in the amount of onsite insurance coverage does not impact the probability or consequences of potential accidents. The proposed level of insurance coverage is commensurate with the reduced risk and reduced cost consequences of potential nuclear accidents at SONGS. Therefore, the NRC staff concludes that granting the requested exemption will not present an undue risk to the health and safety of the public.Start Printed Page 2684

The Exemption Is Consistent With the Common Defense and Security

The proposed exemption would not eliminate any requirements associated with physical protection of the site and would not adversely affect SCE's ability to physically secure the site or protect special nuclear material. Physical security measures at SONGS are not affected by the requested exemption. Therefore, the proposed exemption is consistent with the common defense and security.

Special Circumstances

Under 10 CFR 50.12(a)(2)(ii), special circumstances are present if the application of the regulation in the particular circumstances would not serve the underlying purpose of the rule or is not necessary to achieve the underlying purpose of the rule. The underlying purpose of 10 CFR 50.54(w)(1) is to provide reasonable assurance that adequate funds will be available to stabilize conditions and cover onsite cleanup costs associated with site decontamination, following an accident that results in the release of a significant amount of radiological material. Because SONGS is permanently shut down and defueled, it is no longer possible for the radiological consequences of design-basis accidents or other credible events at SONGS to exceed the limits of the EPA PAGs at the exclusion area boundary. The licensee has performed site-specific analyses of highly unlikely, beyond-design-basis zirconium fire accidents involving the stored irradiated fuel in the SFPs. The analyses show that after October 12, 2014, the probabilities of such an accident are minimal. The NRC staff's evaluation of the licensee's analyses confirm this conclusion.

The NRC staff also finds that the licensee's proposed $50 million level of onsite insurance is consistent with the bounding cleanup and decontamination cost, as discussed in SECY-96-256, to account for hypothetical rupture of a large liquid radwaste tank at the SONGS site, should such an event occur. The staff notes that the SONGS technical specifications provide controls for unprotected outdoor liquid storage tanks to limit the quantity of radioactivity contained in these tanks, in the event of an uncontrolled release of the contents of these tanks. Therefore, the staff concludes that the application of the current requirements in 10 CFR 50.54(w)(1) to maintain $1.06 billion in onsite insurance coverage is not necessary to achieve the underlying purpose of the rule for the permanently shutdown and defueled SONGS reactors.

Under 10 CFR 50.12(a)(2)(iii), special circumstances are present whenever compliance would result in undue hardship or other costs that are significantly in excess of those contemplated when the regulation was adopted, or that are significantly in excess of those incurred by others similarly situated. The NRC staff concludes that if the licensee was required to continue to maintain an onsite insurance level of $1.06 billion, the associated insurance premiums would be in excess of those necessary and commensurate with the radiological contamination risks posed by the SONGS site now that it has entered decommissioning. In addition, such insurance levels would be significantly in excess of other decommissioning reactor facilities that have been granted similar exemptions by the NRC.

The NRC staff finds that compliance with the existing rule would result in an undue hardship or other costs that are significantly in excess of those contemplated when the regulation was adopted and are significantly in excess of those incurred by others similarly situated. Therefore, the special circumstances required by 10 CFR 50.12(a)(2)(ii) and 10 CFR 50.12(a)(2)(iii) exist for the proposed exemption from the onsite property damage insurance requirements of 10 CFR 50.54(w)(1).

Environmental Considerations

The NRC approval of an exemption to insurance or indemnity requirements belongs to a category of actions that the Commission, by rule or regulation, has declared to be a categorical exclusion, after first finding that the category of actions does not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment. Specifically, the exemption is categorically excluded from further analysis under 10 CFR 51.22(c)(25). Pursuant to 10 CFR 51.22(c)(25), the granting of an exemption from the requirements of any regulation in Chapter I of 10 CFR is a categorical exclusion provided that (i) there is no significant hazards consideration; (ii) there is no significant change in the types or significant increase in the amounts of any effluents that may be released offsite; (iii) there is no significant increase in individual or cumulative public or occupational radiation exposure; (iv) there is no significant construction impact; (v) there is no significant increase in the potential for or consequences from radiological accidents; and (vi) the requirements from which an exemption is sought are among those identified in 10 CFR 51.22(c)(25)(vi).

The NRC staff has determined that approval of the exemption request involves no significant hazards consideration because reducing the licensee's onsite property damage insurance at the decommissioning San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, Units 1, 2, and 3, does not (1) involve a significant increase in the probability or consequences of an accident previously evaluated; (2) create the possibility of a new or different kind of accident from any accident previously evaluated; or (3) involve a significant reduction in a margin of safety. The exempted financial protection regulation is unrelated to the operation of SONGS.

Accordingly, there is no significant change in the types or significant increase in the amounts of any effluents that may be released offsite, and no significant increase in individual or cumulative public or occupational radiation exposure. The exempted regulation is not associated with construction, so there is no significant construction impact. The exempted regulation does not concern the source term (i.e., potential amount of radiation involved an accident) or accident mitigation; therefore, there is no significant increase in the potential for, or consequences from, a radiological accident. In addition, there would be no significant impacts to biota, water resources, historic properties, cultural resources, or socioeconomic conditions in the region. The requirement for onsite property damage insurance may be viewed as involving surety, insurance, or indemnity matters in accordance with 10 CFR 51.22(c)(25)(vi).

Therefore, pursuant to 10 CFR 51.22(b) and 10 CFR 51.22(c)(25), no environmental impact statement or environmental assessment need be prepared in connection with the approval of this exemption request.

IV. Conclusions

Accordingly, the Commission has determined that, pursuant to 10 CFR 50.12(a), the exemption from 10 CFR 50.54(w)(1) is authorized by law, will not present an undue risk to the public health and safety, and is consistent with the common defense and security. In addition, special circumstances are present. Therefore, the Commission hereby grants SCE an exemption from the requirements of 10 CFR 50.54(w)(1), to permit the licensee to reduce its onsite property damage insurance to a level of $50 million.

This exemption is effective upon issuance.

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Dated at Rockville, Maryland, on January 10, 2018.

For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Gregory Suber,

Deputy Division Director, Division of Decommissioning, Uranium Recovery and Waste Programs, Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards.

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[FR Doc. 2018-00715 Filed 1-17-18; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 7590-01-P