Petition the NRC to Modify the Terms and Conditions of the Combined License Under 10 CFR 52.103(f)
In accordance with 10 CFR 52.103(f), members of the public may petition to modify the terms and conditions of combined licenses for 10 CFR Part 52 reactors. This petition opportunity is similar to, but separate from, the opportunity to submit petitions under 10 CFR 2.206. Based on the NRC review of the 52.103(f) petition, and if warranted, the NRC can take action to modify the terms and conditions of a combined license or take other appropriate action to resolve issues identified in a 52.103(f) petition.
In accordance with 10 CFR 52.103(f) and as discussed in SECY-17-0007 and the associated staff requirements memorandum (SRM), the 52.103(f) process has the following features:
- The 52.103(f) process focuses on operational safety matters and is part of the NRC decision on whether to allow operation to begin.
- The time period that 52.103(f) petitions may be filed begins at issuance of the combined license (COL) and ends with the Commission finding under 10 CFR 52.103(g) that the acceptance criteria in the inspections, tests, analyses, and acceptance criteria (ITAAC) are met. This 52.103(g) finding allows the licensee to begin operating the reactor.
- The 52.103(f) process addresses whether the terms and conditions of the license should be modified, not whether the acceptance criteria in the ITAAC are met. A separate ITAAC hearing process governs concerns about whether the acceptance criteria are met.
- In accordance with 10 CFR 52.103(f), petitions must be submitted to the Secretary of the Commission.
- The Commission will decide whether to grant or deny the petition upon consideration of a recommendation from the NRC staff.
- If the petition is granted, the Commission will issue an appropriate order, but fuel loading and operation will not be affected unless the order is made immediately effective.
- If the NRC's review of a petition is ongoing when the licensee is about to begin a licensed operational activity (e.g., fuel loading, low-power testing) that is allegedly affected by the petition, then 10 CFR 52.103(f) requires that the NRC determine whether any immediate action is necessary before that activity begins.
Section 52.103(f) specifies that a 52.103(f) petition will be processed as a request for action in accordance with 10 CFR 2.206.
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Before You Submit a 52.103(f) Petition
Before you submit a 52.103(f) petition, you may wish to contact the agency's 52.103(f) Coordinator, at 301-415-5848, to –
- obtain more information about the procedure and process for filing and responding to a 52.103(f) petition;
- clarify a potential petition so that the NRC is better able to understand the nature of the issues of concern to you.
Where To Submit a 52.103(f) Petition
52.103(f) petitions must be addressed to the Secretary of the Commission, and submitted by—
e-mail addressed to –
or by mail addressed to—
Secretary of the Commission
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington, DC 20555-0001
The NRC encourages email submission to promote prompt processing of the petition.
The petition must both specify the action the petitioner is requesting and provide the specific facts supporting the request. Unsupported assertions of safety problems or general opposition to nuclear power are not considered sufficient grounds for action.
How NRC Processes a 52.103(f) Petition
The Secretary of the Commission will refer the request to the Director of the NRC office with responsibility for the subject of the request for appropriate action. Additional detail on the NRC’s processing of 52.103(f) petitions is included in the "More Information" section, below.
Guidance on processing a 52.103(f) petition is generally based on the current staff guidance for 10 CFR 2.206 petitions as modified by 10 CFR 52.103(f). Please see a summary of the 52.103(f) petition guidance, below. The current staff guidance on 2.206 petitions may be found under the section, "More Information" at the NRC's website under Petition the NRC To Take an Enforcement Action.
Summary Guidance for 52.103(f) Petitions
The requirements of 10 CFR 52.103, "Operation under a combined license," pertain to plants licensed using the Part 52 licensing process. Paragraph 52.103(f) provides the opportunity for a petition to be submitted to the NRC to modify the terms and conditions of the combined license. The regulations specify that the 52.103(f) petition will be processed as a request for action in accordance with 10 CFR 2.206, "Request for action under this subpart." Although 52.103(f) petitions are processed in accordance with 10 CFR 2.206, there are several notable differences between 52.103(f) petitions and 2.206 petitions, as reflected in 10 CFR 52.103(f), SECY-17-0007, and the corresponding staff requirements memorandum (SRM). These differences include the following:
- 10 CFR 52.103(f) petitions are limited to a modification of the terms and conditions of the combined license. A petition to suspend or revoke the combined license will be considered under the 2.206 process.
- The period that a 10 CFR 52.103(f) petition may be filed is from the issuance of the combined license to the time when the Commission makes a finding under 10 CFR 52.103(g). A petition submitted after the 52.103(g) finding would be addressed under the 2.206 process and not under 10 CFR 52.103(f).
- Because the 52.103(f) process addresses the commencement of operation, a 52.103(f) petition is limited to operational safety matters. A petition focusing on non-operational issues (e.g., construction issues) would be considered a request for enforcement action under the 2.206 process.
- A 52.103(f) petition must be filed with the Secretary of the Commission.
- Before the licensed activity affected by the petition commences, the Commission is required by regulation to determine whether any immediate action is required. The 2.206 process also includes a process for immediate action determinations, but this immediate action process is by policy, not regulation.
- When the provision in 10 CFR 52.103(f) was promulgated, the Commission contemplated that it would decide whether to grant or deny a 52.103(f) petition and make any immediate action determination, based on recommendations from the staff. As reflected in SRM-SECY-17-0007, these decisions remain with the Commission.
- If the petition is granted, then the appropriate order will be issued.
- Fuel loading and operation under the combined license will not be affected by granting the petition unless the order is made immediately effective.
Any petition that is received by the NRC involving a plant with a combined license that is under construction will be promptly screened to determine the correct process for that petition.
In addition to the 52.103(f) and 2.206 processes, a petition may be received regarding certified design information that the licensee has incorporated by reference. If the petition challenges the design certification rule (or matters resolved by the rule), then the petition should be addressed through the process for petitions for rulemaking. The requirements for a petition for rulemaking are in 10 CFR 2.802, "Petition for rulemaking – requirements for filing." Finally, a submittal under any one of these processes may be more appropriate under another process, such as the allegations process.
Depending on how the petition is filed, different NRC organizations would receive or process the petition. The petition might also be filed late in the construction period when there is a greater need for expedited decision making.
The staff encourages the public to file any 52.103(f) petitions as early in the construction period as possible to give the NRC ample time to explore the petition's claims before operation. Early filing allows for better engagement with the petitioner and the licensee, thorough research into the regulatory history of the issue, and, if necessary, performance of analyses and/or inspections.
Page Last Reviewed/Updated Thursday, August 11, 2022