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Title 10

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Subpart A - Early Site Permits
§ 52.12 Scope of subpart.

This subpart sets out the requirements and procedures applicable to Commission issuance of an early site permit for approval of a site for one or more nuclear power facilities separate from the filing of an application for a construction permit or combined license for the facility.

§ 52.13 Relationship to other subparts.

This subpart applies when any person who may apply for a construction permit under 10 CFR part 50, or for a combined license under this part seeks an early site permit from the Commission separately from an application for a construction permit or a combined license.

§ 52.15 Filing of applications.

(a) Any person who may apply for a construction permit under 10 CFR part 50, or for a combined license under this part, may file an application for an early site permit with the Director, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation. An application for an early site permit may be filed notwithstanding the fact that an application for a construction permit or a combined license has not been filed in connection with the site for which a permit is sought.

(b) The application must comply with the applicable filing requirements of §§ 52.3 and 50.30 of this chapter.

(c) The fees associated with the filing and review of an application for the initial issuance or renewal of an early site permit are set forth in 10 CFR part 170.

[72 FR 49517, Aug. 28, 2007, as amended at 84 FR 65645, Nov. 29, 2019]

§ 52.16 Contents of applications; general information.

The application must contain all of the information required by 10 CFR 50.33(a) through (d) and (j) of this chapter.

§ 52.17 Contents of applications; technical information.

(a) For applications submitted before September 27, 2007, the rule provisions in effect at the date of docketing apply unless otherwise requested by the applicant in writing. The application must contain:

(1) A site safety analysis report. The site safety analysis report shall include the following:

(i) The specific number, type, and thermal power level of the facilities, or range of possible facilities, for which the site may be used;

(ii) The anticipated maximum levels of radiological and thermal effluents each facility will produce;

(iii) The type of cooling systems, intakes, and outflows that may be associated with each facility;

(iv) The boundaries of the site;

(v) The proposed general location of each facility on the site;

(vi) The seismic, meteorological, hydrologic, and geologic characteristics of the proposed site with appropriate consideration of the most severe of the natural phenomena that have been historically reported for the site and surrounding area and with sufficient margin for the limited accuracy, quantity, and period of time in which the historical data have been accumulated;

(vii) The location and description of any nearby industrial, military, or transportation facilities and routes;

(viii) The existing and projected future population profile of the area surrounding the site;

(ix) A description and safety assessment of the site on which a facility is to be located. The assessment must contain an analysis and evaluation of the major structures, systems, and components of the facility that bear significantly on the acceptability of the site under the radiological consequence evaluation factors identified in paragraphs (a)(1)(ix)(A) and (a)(1)(ix)(B) of this section. In performing this assessment, an applicant shall assume a fission product release[1] from the core into the containment assuming that the facility is operated at the ultimate power level contemplated. The applicant shall perform an evaluation and analysis of the postulated fission product release, using the expected demonstrable containment leak rate and any fission product cleanup systems intended to mitigate the consequences of the accidents, together with applicable site characteristics, including site meteorology, to evaluate the offsite radiological consequences. Site characteristics must comply with part 100 of this chapter. The evaluation must determine that:

(A) An individual located at any point on the boundary of the exclusion area for any 2 hour period following the onset of the postulated fission product release, would not receive a radiation dose in excess of 25 rem[2] total effective dose equivalent (TEDE).

(B) An individual located at any point on the outer boundary of the low population zone, who is exposed to the radioactive cloud resulting from the postulated fission product release (during the entire period of its passage) would not receive a radiation dose in excess of 25 rem TEDE;

(x) Information demonstrating that site characteristics are such that adequate security plans and measures can be developed;

(xi) For applications submitted after September 27, 2007, a description of the quality assurance program applied to site-related activities for the future design, fabrication, construction, and testing of the structures, systems, and components of a facility or facilities that may be constructed on the site. Appendix B to 10 CFR part 50 sets forth the requirements for quality assurance programs for nuclear power plants. The description of the quality assurance program for a nuclear power plant site shall include a discussion of how the applicable requirements of appendix B to part 50 of this chapter will be satisfied; and

(xii) An evaluation of the site against applicable sections of the Standard Review Plan (SRP) revision in effect 6 months before the docket date of the application. The evaluation required by this section shall include an identification and description of all differences in analytical techniques and procedural measures proposed for a site and those corresponding techniques and measures given in the SRP acceptance criteria. Where such a difference exists, the evaluation shall discuss how the proposed alternative provides an acceptable method of complying with the Commission's regulations, or portions thereof, that underlie the corresponding SRP acceptance criteria. The SRP is not a substitute for the regulations, and compliance is not a requirement.

(2) A complete environmental report as required by 10 CFR 51.50(b).

(b)

(1) The site safety analysis report must identify physical characteristics of the proposed site, such as egress limitations from the area surrounding the site, that could pose a significant impediment to the development of emergency plans. If physical characteristics are identified that could pose a significant impediment to the development of emergency plans, the application must identify measures that would, when implemented, mitigate or eliminate the significant impediment.

(2) The site safety analysis report may also:

(i) Propose major features of the emergency plans, in accordance with the pertinent standards of § 50.47 of this chapter and the requirements of appendix E to part 50 of this chapter, such as the exact size and configuration of the emergency planning zones, for review and approval by the NRC, in consultation with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in the absence of complete and integrated emergency plans; or

(ii) Propose complete and integrated emergency plans for review and approval by the NRC, in consultation with FEMA, in accordance with the applicable standards of § 50.47 of this chapter and the requirements of appendix E to part 50 of this chapter. To the extent approval of emergency plans is sought, the application must contain the information required by § 50.33(g) and (j) of this chapter.

(3) Emergency plans submitted under paragraph (b)(2)(ii) of this section must include the proposed inspections, tests, and analyses that the holder of a combined license referencing the early site permit shall perform, and the acceptance criteria that are necessary and sufficient to provide reasonable assurance that, if the inspections, tests, and analyses are performed and the acceptance criteria met, the facility has been constructed and will be operated in conformity with the emergency plans, the provisions of the Act, and the Commission's rules and regulations. Major features of an emergency plan submitted under paragraph (b)(2)(i) of this section may include proposed inspections, tests, analyses, and acceptance criteria.

(4) Under paragraphs (b)(1) and (b)(2)(i) of this section, the site safety analysis report must include a description of contacts and arrangements made with Federal, State, and local governmental agencies with emergency planning responsibilities. The site safety analysis report must contain any certifications that have been obtained. If these certifications cannot be obtained, the site safety analysis report must contain information, including a utility plan, sufficient to show that the proposed plans provide reasonable assurance that adequate protective measures can and will be taken in the event of a radiological emergency at the site. Under the option set forth in paragraph (b)(2)(ii) of this section, the applicant shall make good faith efforts to obtain from the same governmental agencies certifications that:

(i) The proposed emergency plans are practicable;

(ii) These agencies are committed to participating in any further development of the plans, including any required field demonstrations, and

(iii) That these agencies are committed to executing their responsibilities under the plans in the event of an emergency.

(c) An applicant may request that a limited work authorization under 10 CFR 50.10 be issued in conjunction with the early site permit. The application must include the information otherwise required by 10 CFR 50.10(d)(3). Applications submitted before, and pending as of November 8, 2007, must include the information required by § 52.17(c) effective on the date of docketing.

(d) Each applicant for an early site permit under this part shall protect Safeguards Information against unauthorized disclosure in accordance with the requirements in §§ 73.21 and 73.22 of this chapter, as applicable.

[72 FR 49517, Aug. 28, 2007, as amended at 72 FR 57447, Oct. 9, 2007; 73 FR 63571, Oct. 24, 2008; 78 FR 34249, June 7, 2013; 78 FR 75450, Dec. 12, 2013]

§ 52.18 Standards for review of applications.

Applications filed under this subpart will be reviewed according to the applicable standards set out in 10 CFR part 50 and its appendices and 10 CFR part 100. In addition, the Commission shall prepare an environmental impact statement during review of the application, in accordance with the applicable provisions of 10 CFR part 51. The Commission shall determine, after consultation with FEMA, whether the information required of the applicant by § 52.17(b)(1) shows that there is not significant impediment to the development of emergen cy plans that cannot be mitigated or eliminated by measures proposed by the applicant, whether any major features of emergency plans submitted by the applicant under § 52.17(b)(2)(i) are acceptable in accordance with the applicable standards of § 50.47 of this chapter and the requirements of appendix E to part 50 of this chapter, and whether any emergency plans submitted by the applicant under § 52.17(b)(2)(ii) provide reasonable assurance that adequate protective measures can and will be taken in the event of a radiological emergency.

[72 FR 49517, Aug. 28, 2007, as amended at 78 FR 34249, June 7, 2013; 78 FR 75450, Dec. 12, 2013]

§ 52.21 Administrative review of applications; hearings.

An early site permit is subject to all procedural requirements in 10 CFR part 2, including the requirements for docketing in § 2.101(a)(1) through (4) of this chapter, and the requirements for issuance of a notice of hearing in §§ 2.104(a) and (d) of this chapter, provided that the designated sections may not be construed to require that the environmental report, or draft or final environmental impact statement include an assessment of the benefits of construction and operation of the reactor or reactors, or an analysis of alternative energy sources. The presiding officer in an early site permit hearing shall not admit contentions proffered by any party concerning an assessment of the benefits of construction and operation of the reactor or reactors, or an analysis of alternative energy sources if those issues were not addressed by the applicant in the early site permit application. All hearings conducted on applications for early site permits filed under this part are governed by the procedures contained in subparts C, G, L, and N of 10 CFR part 2, as applicable.

§ 52.23 Referral to the Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards (ACRS).

The Commission shall refer a copy of the application for an early site permit to the ACRS. The ACRS shall report on those portions of the application which concern safety.

§ 52.24 Issuance of early site permit.

(a) After conducting a hearing under § 52.21 and receiving the report to be submitted by the ACRS under § 52.23, the Commission may issue an early site permit, in the form the Commission deems appropriate, if the Commission finds that:

(1) An application for an early site permit meets the applicable standards and requirements of the Act and the Commission's regulations;

(2) Notifications, if any, to other agencies or bodies have been duly made;

(3) There is reasonable assurance that the site is in conformity with the provisions of the Act, and the Commission's regulations;

(4) The applicant is technically qualified to engage in any activities authorized;

(5) The proposed inspections, tests, analyses and acceptance criteria, including any on emergency planning, are necessary and sufficient, within the scope of the early site permit, to provide reasonable assurance that the facility has been constructed and will be operated in conformity with the license, the provisions of the Act, and the Commission's regulations;

(6) Issuance of the permit will not be inimical to the common defense and security or to the health and safety of the public;

(7) Any significant adverse environmental impact resulting from activities requested under § 52.17(c) can be redressed; and

(8) The findings required by subpart A of 10 CFR part 51 have been made.

(b) The early site permit must specify the site characteristics, design parameters, and terms and conditions of the early site permit the Commission deems appropriate. Before issuance of either a construction permit or combined license referencing an early site permit, the Commission shall find that any relevant terms and conditions of the early site permit have been met. Any terms or conditions of the early site permit that could not be met by the time of issuance of the construction permit or combined license, must be set forth as terms or conditions of the construction permit or combined license.

(c) The early site permit shall specify those 10 CFR 50.10 activities requested under § 52.17(c) that the permit holder is authorized to perform.

[72 FR 49517, Aug. 28, 2007, as amended at 72 FR 57447, Oct. 9, 2007]

§ 52.25 Extent of activities permitted.

If the activities authorized by § 52.24(c) are performed and the site is not referenced in an application for a construction permit or a combined license issued under subpart C of this part while the permit remains valid, then the early site permit remains in effect solely for the purpose of site redress, and the holder of the permit shall redress the site in accordance with the terms of the site redress plan required by § 52.17(c). If, before redress is complete, a use not envisaged in the redress plan is found for the site or parts thereof, the holder of the permit shall carry out the redress plan to the greatest extent possible consistent with the alternate use.

§ 52.26 Duration of permit.

(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, an early site permit issued under this subpart may be valid for not less than 10, nor more than 20 years from the date of issuance.

(b) An early site permit continues to be valid beyond the date of expiration in any proceeding on a construction permit application or a combined license application that references the early site permit and is docketed before the date of expiration of the early site permit, or, if a timely application for renewal of the permit has been docketed, before the Commission has determined whether to renew the permit.

(c) An applicant for a construction permit or combined license may, at its own risk, reference in its application a site for which an early site permit application has been docketed but not granted.

(d) Upon issuance of a construction permit or combined license, a referenced early site permit is subsumed, to the extent referenced, into the construction permit or combined license.

[72 FR 49517, Aug. 28, 2007. Redesignated at 72 FR 57447, Oct. 9, 2007]

§ 52.27 Limited work authorization after issuance of early site permit.

A holder of an early site permit may request a limited work authorization in accordance with § 50.10 of this chapter.

[72 FR 57447, Oct. 9, 2007]

§ 52.28 Transfer of early site permit.

An application to transfer an early site permit will be processed under 10 CFR 50.80.

§ 52.29 Application for renewal.

(a) Not less than 12, nor more than 36 months before the expiration date stated in the early site permit, or any later renewal period, the permit holder may apply for a renewal of the permit. An application for renewal must contain all information necessary to bring up to date the information and data contained in the previous application.

(b) Any person whose interests may be affected by renewal of the permit may request a hearing on the application for renewal. The request for a hearing must comply with 10 CFR 2.309. If a hearing is granted, notice of the hearing will be published in accordance with 10 CFR 2.309.

(c) An early site permit, either original or renewed, for which a timely application for renewal has been filed, remains in effect until the Commission has determined whether to renew the permit. If the permit is not renewed, it continues to be valid in certain proceedings in accordance with the provisions of § 52.26(b).

(d) The Commission shall refer a copy of the application for renewal to the ACRS. The ACRS shall report on those portions of the application which concern safety and shall apply the criteria set forth in § 52.31.

[72 FR 49517, Aug. 28, 2007, as amended at 85 FR 65663, Oct. 16, 2020]

§ 52.31 Criteria for renewal.

(a) The Commission shall grant the renewal if it determines that:

(1) The site complies with the Act, the Commission's regulations, and orders applicable and in effect at the time the site permit was originally issued; and

(2) Any new requirements the Commission may wish to impose are:

(i) Necessary for adequate protection to public health and safety or common defense and security;

(ii) Necessary for compliance with the Commission's regulations, and orders applicable and in effect at the time the site permit was originally issued; or

(iii) A substantial increase in overall protection of the public health and safety or the common defense and security to be derived from the new requirements, and the direct and indirect costs of implementation of those requirements are justified in view of this increased protection.

(b) A denial of renewal for failure to comply with the provisions of § 52.31(a) does not bar the permit holder or another applicant from filing a new application for the site which proposes changes to the site or the way that it is used to correct the deficiencies cited in the denial of the renewal.

§ 52.33 Duration of renewal.

Each renewal of an early site permit may be for not less than 10, nor more than 20 years, plus any remaining years on the early site permit then in effect before renewal.

§ 52.35 Use of site for other purposes.

A site for which an early site permit has been issued under this subpart may be used for purposes other than those described in the permit, including the location of other types of energy facilities. The permit holder shall inform the Director, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation (Director), of any significant uses for the site which have not been approved in the early site permit. The information about the activities must be given to the Director at least 30 days in advance of any actual construction or site modification for the activities. The information provided could be the basis for imposing new requirements on the permit, in accordance with the provisions of § 52.39. If the permit holder informs the Director that the holder no longer intends to use the site for a nuclear power plant, the Director may terminate the permit.

[73 FR 5724, Jan. 31, 2008, as amended at 84 FR 65645, Nov. 29, 2019; 84 FR 68781, Dec. 17, 2019]

§ 52.39 Finality of early site permit determinations.

(a) Commission finality.

(1) Notwithstanding any provision in 10 CFR 50.109, while an early site permit is in effect under §§ 52.26 or 52.33, the Commission may not change or impose new site characteristics, design parameters, or terms and conditions, including emergency planning requirements, on the early site permit unless the Commission:

(i) Determines that a modification is necessary to bring the permit or the site into compliance with the Commission's regulations and orders applicable and in effect at the time the permit was issued;

(ii) Determines the modification is necessary to assure adequate protection of the public health and safety or the common defense and security;

(iii) Determines that a modification is necessary based on an update under paragraph (b) of this section; or

(iv) Issues a variance requested under paragraph (d) of this section.

(2) In making the findings required for issuance of a construction permit or combined license, or the findings required by § 52.103, or in any enforcement hearing other than one initiated by the Commission under paragraph (a)(1) of this section, if the application for the construction permit or combined license references an early site permit, the Commission shall treat as resolved those matters resolved in the proceeding on the application for issuance or renewal of the early site permit, except as provided for in paragraphs (b), (c), and (d) of this section.

(i) If the early site permit approved an emergency plan (or major features thereof) that is in use by a licensee of a nuclear power plant, the Commission shall treat as resolved changes to the early site permit emergency plan (or major features thereof) that are identical to changes made to the licensee's emergency plans in compliance with § 50.54(q) of this chapter occurring after issuance of the early site permit.

(ii) If the early site permit approved an emergency plan (or major features thereof) that is not in use by a licensee of a nuclear power plant, the Commission shall treat as resolved changes that are equivalent to those that could be made under § 50.54(q) of this chapter without prior NRC approval had the emergency plan been in use by a licensee.

(b) Updating of early site permit-emergency preparedness. An applicant for a construction permit, operating license, or combined license who has filed an application referencing an early site permit issued under this subpart shall update the emergency preparedness information that was provided under § 52.17(b), and discuss whether the updated information materially changes the bases for compliance with applicable NRC requirements.

(c) Hearings and petitions.

(1) In any proceeding for the issuance of a construction permit, operating license, or combined license referencing an early site permit, contentions on the following matters may be litigated in the same manner as other issues material to the proceeding:

(i) The nuclear power reactor proposed to be built does not fit within one or more of the site characteristics or design parameters included in the early site permit;

(ii) One or more of the terms and conditions of the early site permit have not been met;

(iii) A variance requested under paragraph (d) of this section is unwarranted or should be modified;

(iv) New or additional information is provided in the application that substantially alters the bases for a previous NRC conclusion or constitutes a sufficient basis for the Commission to modify or impose new terms and conditions related to emergency preparedness; or

(v) Any significant environmental issue that was not resolved in the early site permit proceeding, or any issue involving the impacts of construction and operation of the facility that was resolved in the early site permit proceeding for which significant new information has been identified.

(2) Any person may file a petition requesting that the site characteristics, design parameters, or terms and conditions of the early site permit should be modified, or that the permit should be suspended or revoked. The petition will be considered in accordance with § 2.206 of this chapter. Before construction commences, the Commission shall consider the petition and determine whether any immediate action is required. If the petition is granted, an appropriate order will be issued. Construction under the construction permit or combined license will not be affected by the granting of the petition unless the order is made immediately effective. Any change required by the Commission in response to the petition must meet the requirements of paragraph (a)(1) of this section.

(d) Variances. An applicant for a construction permit, operating license, or combined license referencing an early site permit may include in its application a request for a variance from one or more site characteristics, design parameters, or terms and conditions of the early site permit, or from the site safety analysis report. In determining whether to grant the variance, the Commission shall apply the same technically relevant criteria applicable to the application for the original or renewed early site permit. Once a construction permit or combined license referencing an early site permit is issued, variances from the early site permit will not be granted for that construction permit or combined license.

(e) Early site permit amendment. The holder of an early site permit may not make changes to the early site permit, including the site safety analysis report, without prior Commission approval. The request for a change to the early site permit must be in the form of an application for a license amendment, and must meet the requirements of 10 CFR 50.90 and 50.92.

(f) Information requests. Except for information requests seeking to verify compliance with the current licensing basis of the early site permit, information requests to the holder of an early site permit must be evaluated before issuance to ensure that the burden to be imposed on respondents is justified in view of the potential safety significance of the issue to be addressed in the requested information. Each evaluation performed by the NRC staff must be in accordance with 10 CFR 50.54(f), and must be approved by the Executive Director for Operations or his or her designee before issuance of the request.

[72 FR 49517, Aug. 28, 2007, as amended at 85 FR 65663, Oct. 16, 2020]