US NRC proposes rulemaking on nuclear emergency preparedness

Washington (Platts)--25 Oct 2013 507 pm EDT/2107 GMT

US Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff Friday proposed a plan to develop a rule to address nuclear power plant emergency preparedness issues raised by the Fukushima I accident in Japan.

"NRC has identified a lack of regulatory requirements in the areas of severe accident management guidelines (SAMGs) and supporting procedures," agency staff said in a regulatory basis document, dated October 1 and released Friday. "Further, the NRC has determined that accident mitigation strategies are scattered throughout several sets of procedures that have been developed through separate initiatives with minimal integration of the procedures to ensure cohesion, usability and effectiveness.

"In addition to a lack of regulatory requirements for the procedures themselves, no regulatory requirements exist for the training and qualification of personnel who would implement for the procedures, for severe accident exercises, or to define the roles, responsibilities and clear lines of decision-making authority (i.e., command and control structures) required to respond to severe accidents."

Staff said it "recommends developing a proposed rule that would require integrated accident mitigation procedures and associated severe accident exercises, identify requirements for a severe accident command and control organization, and amend current rules for training to include requirements related to severe accidents."

The regulatory basis includes draft language for one section of a proposed rule. NRC said in a Federal Register notice published Friday that the language is not a final staff position and has not been reviewed by the commission.

NRC said in the notice that several staffers "did not agree with some content of the regulatory basis," and the basis was revised "to address the staff members' concerns."

Four of the staffers agreed with the revised basis and one still did not concur, the agency said.

The notice said documentation of the non-concurrences was available in NRC's online Adams system, but those documents were not immediately accessible. The reasons given for non-concurrence are not stated in the notice.

A draft version of the regulatory basis was issued for public comment in January. The current version is available on under Docket ID NRC-2012-0031.

NRC said in the notice it is not seeking public comment on the basis but there will be a comment period for the proposed rule after it has been developed.

--Steven Dolley, --Edited by Richard Rubin,

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