§ 52.63 Finality of standard design certifications.
(a)(1) Notwithstanding any provision in 10 CFR 50.109, while a standard design certification rule is in effect under
§§ 52.55 or 52.61, the Commission may not modify, rescind, or impose new requirements on the certification information, whether on its own motion, or in response to a petition from any person, unless the Commission determines in a rulemaking that the change:
(i) Is necessary either to bring the certification information or the referencing plants into compliance with the Commission's regulations applicable and in effect at the time the certification was issued;
(ii) Is necessary to provide adequate protection of the public health and safety or the common defense and security;
(iii) Reduces unnecessary regulatory burden and maintains protection to public health and safety and the common defense and security;
(iv) Provides the detailed design information to be verified under those inspections, tests, analyses, and acceptance criteria (ITAAC) which are directed at certification information (i.e., design acceptance criteria);
(v) Is necessary to correct material errors in the certification information;
(vi) Substantially increases overall safety, reliability, or security of facility design, construction, or operation, and the direct and indirect costs of implementation of the rule change are justified in view of this increased safety, reliability, or security; or
(vii) Contributes to increased standardization of the certification information.
(2)(i) In a rulemaking under § 52.63(a)(1), except for § 52.63(a)(1)(ii), the Commission will give consideration to whether the benefits justify the costs for plants that are already licensed or for which an application for a permit or license is under consideration.
(ii) The rulemaking procedures for changes under § 52.63(a)(1) must provide for notice and opportunity for public comment.
(3) Any modification the NRC imposes on a design certification rule under paragraph (a)(1) of this section will be applied to all plants referencing the certified design, except those to which the modification has been rendered technically irrelevant by action taken under paragraphs (a)(4) or (b)(1) of this section.
(4) The Commission may not impose new requirements by plant-specific order on any part of the design of a specific plant referencing the design certification rule if that part was approved in the design certification while a design certification rule is in effect under § 52.55 or § 52.61, unless:
(i) A modification is necessary to secure compliance with the Commission's regulations applicable and in effect at the time the certification was issued, or to assure adequate protection of the public health and safety or the common defense and security; and
(ii) Special circumstances as defined in 10 CFR 52.7 are present. In addition to the factors listed in § 52.7, the Commission shall consider whether the special circumstances which § 52.7 requires to be present outweigh any decrease in safety that may result from the reduction in standardization caused by the plant-specific order.
(5) Except as provided in 10 CFR 2.335, in making the findings required for issuance of a combined license, construction permit, operating license, or manufacturing license, or for any hearing under § 52.103, the Commission shall treat as resolved those matters resolved in connection with the issuance or renewal of a design certification rule.
(b)(1) An applicant or licensee who references a design certification rule may request an exemption from one or more elements of the certification information. The Commission may grant such a request only if it determines that the exemption will comply with the requirements of § 52.7. In addition to the factors listed in § 52.7, the Commission shall consider whether the special circumstances that § 52.7 requires to be present outweigh any decrease in safety that may result from the reduction in standardization caused by the exemption. The granting of an exemption on request of an applicant is subject to litigation in the same manner as other issues in the operating license or combined license hearing.
(2) Subject to § 50.59 of this chapter, a licensee who references a design certification rule may make departures from the design of the nuclear power facility, without prior Commission approval, unless the proposed departure involves a change to the design as described in the rule certifying the design. The licensee shall maintain records of all departures from the facility and these records must be maintained and available for audit until the date of termination of the license.
(c) The Commission will require, before granting a construction permit, combined license, operating license, or
manufacturing license which references a design certification rule, that information normally contained in certain procurement specifications and construction and installation specifications be completed and available for audit if the information is necessary for the Commission to make its safety determinations, including the determination that the application is consistent with the certification information. This information may be acquired by appropriate arrangements with the design certification applicant.
[69 FR 2277, Jan. 14, 2004; 72 FR 49529, Aug. 28, 2007]
Page Last Reviewed/Updated Wednesday, March 24, 2021