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NEI: Exempt Large Stored Reactor Components From Anti-Theft Provisions

Jan. 29, 2014—The Nuclear Energy Institute is asking the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to exempt reactor operators from new regulations requiring physical theft protection for retired large components stored at reactor sites.

As the NRC staff begins preparing guidance for the March 19 implementation of new provisions in 10 CFR Part 37, Douglas Walters, NEI’s vice president for regulatory affairs, asked the agency to consider exempting large components, given the implausibility of the threat of their being stolen.

Walters noted in a Jan. 24 letter that the theft of multi-ton pieces such as reactor vessel heads and steam generators could not be accomplished without special rigging, skilled workers, a large crane, special multi-wheeled transportation vehicles, and the ability to evade on-site security patrols. Therefore, he said, the anti-theft monitoring, detection and assessment capabilities required in the regulation are unnecessary.

“As a practical matter, these large components are self-protecting based upon their size, weight, and the highly visible measures required for their theft or diversion,” Walters wrote, adding that the expenditure of materials and manpower resources to comply with the regulation would not be in the public interest.

NEI’s letter recommends that for these large components the NRC should exercise the exemption authority provided for in the regulation once it determines that doing so “would not endanger life, property or the common defense and security.”

If the agency does not agree to the exemption, Walters asked the NRC staff to complete its implementation guidance to allow NRC-industry discussions on the topic to be concluded in a timely manner.