Security-Related Rulemaking to Update 10 CFR Part 73
Among its regulatory initiatives related to Domestic Safeguards, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is pursuing a rulemaking to update portions of Title 10, Part 73, of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR Part 73), “Physical Protection of Plants and Materials,” in response to a Staff Requirements Memorandum (SRM), dated July 8, 2010. Specifically, the portions affected by this rulemaking include security-related regulations for special nuclear material (SNM) and fuel cycle facilities (FCFs). For more information, please see the following topics on this page:
In the current regulatory framework, the required level of physical protection depends on the facility type, as well as the type and quantity of SNM at the facility. This framework is based on a material categorization scheme, which places uranium and plutonium into one of three risk categories (Category I, II, or III), depending on the quantity and specific composition of isotopes.
Under this rulemaking, the NRC will ensure that the security measures put in place by NRC Security Orders for FCFs are incorporated directly into the CFR, and that the Security Orders are rescinded (where appropriate). The NRC is also considering revising the current SNM categorization scheme (i.e., a categorization table that stratifies material by threshold quantities and types of SNM). The revised table would employ an approach that will consider the “attractiveness” of the material in addition to its type and quantity. This approach would, in turn, link material with physical protection objectives and lead to the development of more appropriate physical protection requirements for SNM, based on how attractive the material might be for malevolent uses. In addition, consideration of material attractiveness will enable the “right-sizing” of security regulations that are specific to quantities of various forms of SNM, and would ensure greater regulatory predictability and clarity. For this effort, the staff has contracted with Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) to assist in researching the attractiveness of SNM at FCFs.
Additionally, in this rulemaking the staff is examining whether fitness-for-duty (FFD) requirements within 10 CFR Part 26 need to be applied to security officers at FCFs based upon the direction provided in SRM-COMSECY-04-0037 (fatigue requirements). In addition, the staff is considering expanding the scope of the requirements to include drug/alcohol testing and the Behavior Observation Program. To support this determination, the NRC asked seven FCFs to provide documentation of actual hours worked for the most recent two complete shift cycles or nominal 2-month period for individuals who fill a non-administrative security position. The staff is analyzing the documentation provided to assess how licensees are managing the working hours of their security forces. The staff’s review may generate further requests for information from the seven FCFs.
Finally, during development of the regulatory basis document and the proposed and final rules, the staff will take into account the guidance in Revision 5 of the “Nuclear Security Recommendations on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and Nuclear Facilities” (INFCIRC/225/Rev5), published by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). This document, most recently revised in February 2011, contains the internationally accepted best practices regarding physical protection of nuclear material and nuclear facilities.
Currently, the staff is developing the regulatory basis for this effort. This regulatory basis will provide the scope and technical justification for changes to existing regulations, with a primary focus on 10 CFR Part 73. In addition, the regulatory basis may call for FFD requirements for security officers at FCFs, in accordance with 10 CFR Part 26, and will ensure that the recommended security requirements meet the intent of INFCIRC/225/Rev5. The NRC plans to hold a public meeting to discuss aspects of the regulatory basis and to accept comments in the future.
The NRC has a long-standing practice of conducting its regulatory responsibilities in an open manner. For that reason, the NRC is committed to informing the public about its regulatory, licensing, and oversight activities, and providing opportunities for the public to participate in the agency’s decisionmaking process.
For general information about the available opportunities for public involvement in NRC activities, see Public Meetings and Involvement, Hearing Opportunities and License Applications, and NUREG/BR-0215, "Public Involvement in the Regulatory Process." For more specific information about public meetings that the NRC staff has conducted in connection with the update of 10 CFR Part 73, please see Public Meetings and Materials, below. For other security-related meetings, please see Public Meetings on Nuclear Security and Safeguards.
Also, since the issuance of SRM-SECY-09-0123, the NRC staff has been involved in extensive domestic/international outreach efforts to build a consensus that the approach it is taking to categorize material based on attractiveness meets the intent of international commitments and INFCIRC/225/Rev5.
In addition, we invite you to Contact Us if you have comments or questions regarding this regulatory initiative.
Meetings and Materials
The NRC holds public meetings to discuss agency activities related to the security rulemaking to update 10 CFR Part 73. Materials associated with these meetings are available below. If you have any questions about our public meetings and materials, please Contact Us.
June 12–13, 2012
7th Annual Fuel Cycle Information Exchange (FCIX) Public Meeting (Rockville, MD)
June 7–8, 2011
6th Annual Fuel Cycle Information Exchange (FCIX) Public Meeting (Rockville, MD)