Objectives of the Proposed Security Rulemaking for Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installations

In pursuing the Proposed Security Rulemaking for Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installations (ISFSIs), the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) seeks to achieve the following objectives, as described on this page:

Improve Consistency

The proposed security rulemaking for ISFSIs will update the NRC's security requirements in Title 10, Part 72, of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR Part 72), "Licensing Requirements for the Independent Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel, High-Level Radioactive Waste, and Reactor-Related Greater than Class C Waste," and 10 CFR Part 73, "Physical Protection of Plants and Materials." One objective of this update is to improve the consistency and clarity of the security regulations for Site-Specific and General ISFSI Licenses to achieve consistent outcomes across the wide range of spent nuclear fuel (SNF) and high-level radioactive waste (HLW) storage facilities that exist today or that could be licensed under 10 CFR Part 72 in the future.

To achieve this objective, the rulemaking will do the following:

  • Create a more consistent and coherent regulatory structure for these types of waste storage facilities to improve agency transparency, regulatory clarity, and the ease-of-use of the regulations.
  • Propose security requirements that are consistent with the Commission's recent Final Rule on Power Reactor Security Requirements, as published in Volume 74, page 13925, of the Federal Register (74 FR 13925), dated March 29, 2009.
  • Propose security requirements that address the lessons learned from the following:
    • NRC ISFSI inspections and power reactor force-on-force exercises held since the last update of the ISFSI security regulations
    • licensing reviews of the power reactor security plans that were conducted in 2003 and 2004 following the issuance of security orders to power reactor licensees

Establish the Generic Applicability of Security Orders

As a result of the proposed security rulemaking for ISFSIs, the relevant provisions of the security orders issued by the NRC to ISFSI licensees in 2002 and 2007 will be generically applicable. This will increase agency transparency and regulatory clarity.

Create a Risk-Informed and Performance-Based Structure

The proposed security rulemaking for ISFSIs and monitored retrievable storage installations (MRSs) will establish a risk-informed and performance-based structure in updating the security regulations. Additionally, it will consider one of the issues raised in a petition for rulemaking submitted by the C-10 Research and Education Foundation, which may be relevant to this rulemaking.

The NRC is proposing to establish a security-based dose limit in 10 CFR Part 73 that has the same values as those found in 10 CFR Part 72 for safety-related accidents. The regulation in 10 CFR 72.106, "Controlled Area of an ISFSI or MRS," requires a dose limit of 0.05 Sievert (Sv) (5 rem) for design-basis accidents. Under the proposed 10 CFR Part 73 rule, licensees would use the information supplied by the NRC in combination with site-specific information (such as storage cask type, and distance to the controlled area or site boundary), to calculate a potential dose and verify that it does not exceed 0.05 Sv. This would be an iterative process that considers changes to parameters in order to ensure that licensees do not exceed the limit. Licensees who exceeded the limit would be required to consider other options, such as increasing the site footprint, using engineered security features, or adjusting their security strategy.

Licensees would also be required to evaluate the effects from detonation of both land-based and waterborne vehicle bomb attacks against the spent nuclear fuel or high-level radioactive waste storage casks, facility, pool, central or secondary alarm systems, and security personnel defensive positions, as well as a transfer container if the transfer pathway is not protected by a temporary or permanent vehicle barrier system.

Additionally, licensees would be required to design, install, and implement a vehicle barrier system to mitigate the effects of a land-based or waterborne vehicle bomb attack.

With the implementation of the dose-based approach, the NRC would discontinue the current application of the design basis threat (DBT) for radiological sabotage to general license ISFSIs.

In addition, in developing the risk-informed and performance-based approach for the proposed rulemaking, the NRC considered the findings and recommendations contained in the 2004 report prepared by the National Academy of Sciences' National Research Council, entitled "Safety and Security of Commercial Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage: Report to Congress." This report contains national security information and is not publicly available. However a redacted version of the study, entitled "Safety and Security of Commercial Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage: Public Report," was published in 2006 and is available from the National Academy of Sciences for a fee.