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E-M:/ NRC alters security procedures at Palisades Nuclear Plant

[Federal Register: April 28, 1997 (Volume 62, Number 81)]
[Page 22975-22977]
>From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



[Docket No. 50-255]

Consumers Power Company; Palisades Plant; Environmental 
Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact

    The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (the Commission) is 
considering issuance of an exemption from certain requirements of 10 
CFR 73.55 for Facility Operating License No. DPR-20, issued to 
Consumers Power Company, (the licensee), for operation of the Palisades 
Plant located in Van Buren County, Michigan.

Environmental Assessment

Identification of the Proposed Action

    The proposed action would exempt the licensee from certain 
requirements of 10 CFR 73.55, ``Requirements for physical protection of 
licensed activities in nuclear power reactors against radiological 
sabotage.'' The proposed action would allow implementation of a hand 
geometry biometric system of site access control such that photograph 
identification badges can be taken off site.
    This environmental assessment has been prepared to address 
potential environmental issues related to the licensee's application of 
April 4, 1996.

The Need for the Proposed Action

    Pursuant to 10 CFR 73.55, paragraph (a), The licensee shall 
establish and maintain an onsite physical protection system and 
security organization.
    Paragraph (1) of 10 CFR 73.55(d), ``Access Requirements,'' 
specifies that ``licensee shall control all points of personnel and 
vehicle access into a protected area.'' It is specified in 10 CFR 
73.55(d)(5) that ``A numbered picture badge identification system shall 
be used for all individuals who are authorized access to protected 

[[Page 22976]]

without escort.'' It also states that an individual not employed by the 
licensee (i.e., contractors) may be authorized access to protected 
areas without escort provided the individual ``receives a picture badge 
upon entrance into the protected area which must be returned upon exit 
from the protected area. * * *''
    Currently, unescorted access into the protected areas of the 
Palisades Nuclear Plant is controlled through the use of a photograph 
on a combination badge and keycard (hereafter, referred to as badges). 
The security officers at the entrance station use the photograph on the 
badge to visually identify the individual requesting access. The badges 
for both licensee employees and contractor personnel who have been 
granted unescorted access are issued upon entrance at the entrance/exit 
location and are returned upon exit. The badges are stored and 
retrievable at the entrance/exit location. In accordance with 10 CFR 
73.55(d)(5), contractor individuals are not allowed to take badges off 
site. In accordance with the plant's physical security plans, neither 
licensee employees nor contractors are allowed to take badges off site.
    The licensee proposes to implement an alternative unescorted access 
control system that would eliminate the need to issue and retrieve 
badges at the entrance/exit location and would allow all individuals 
with unescorted access to keep their badges with them when departing 
the site.
    An exemption from certain requirements of 10 CFR 73.55(d)(5) is 
required to permit contractors to take their badges off site instead of 
returning them when exiting the site.

Environmental Impacts of the Proposed Action

    The Commission has completed its evaluation of the proposed action 
and concludes that the proposed exemption would not increase the 
probability or consequences of accidents previously analyzed and the 
proposed exemption would not affect facility radiation levels or 
facility radiological effluents. Under the proposed system, each 
individual who is authorized for unescorted entry into protected areas 
would have the physical characteristics of his/her hand (hand geometry) 
registered with his/her badge number in the access control system. When 
an individual enters the badge into the card reader and places the hand 
on the measuring surface, the system would record the individual's hand 
image. The unique characteristics of the extracted hand image would be 
compared with the previously stored template to verify authorization 
for entry. Individuals, including licensee employees and contractors, 
would be allowed to keep their badges with them when they depart the 
    The licensee stated that the hand geometry equipment selected for 
use will meet the detection probability of 90 percent with a 95-percent 
confidence level in accordance with Regulatory Guide 5.44, ``Perimeter 
Intrusion Alarm Systems.'' This detection probability indicates that 
the false acceptance rate of the proposed hand geometry system will be 
comparable to that of the current system. Based on a Sandia report 
entitled ``A Performance Evaluation of Biometric Identification 
Devices'' (SAND91--0276 UC--906 Unlimited Release, printed June 1991), 
and on its experience with the current photo-identification system, the 
licensee stated that the use of the badges with the hand geometry 
system would enhance the overall effectiveness of the security program. 
Since both the badge and hand geometry would be necessary for access 
into the protected area, the proposed system would provide for a 
positive verification process. Potential loss of a badge by an 
individual, as a result of taking the badge off site, would not enable 
an unauthorized entry into protected areas. The licensee will implement 
a process for testing the proposed system to ensure continued overall 
level of performance equivalent to that specified in the regulation. 
The Physical Security Plan for Palisades will be revised to include 
implementation and testing of the hand geometry access control system 
and to allow licensee employees and contractors to take their badges 
off site.
    All other access processes, including search function capability 
and access revocation, will remain the same. A security officer 
responsible for access control will continue to be positioned within a 
bullet-resistant structure. A numbered picture badge identification 
system will continue to be used for all individuals who are authorized 
access to protected areas without escorts. Badges will continue to be 
displayed by all individuals while inside the protected area. The 
proposed system is only for individuals with authorized unescorted 
access and will not be used for individuals requiring escorts.
    The change will not increase the probability or consequences of 
accidents, no changes are being made in the types or amounts of any 
effluents that may be released off site, and there is no significant 
increase in the allowable individual or cumulative occupational 
radiation exposure. Accordingly, the Commission concludes that there 
are no significant radiological environmental impacts associated with 
the proposed action.
    With regard to potential nonradiological impacts, the proposed 
action involves features located entirely within the restricted area as 
defined in 10 CFR Part 20. It does not affect nonradiological plant 
effluents and has no other environmental impact. Accordingly, the 
Commission concludes that there are no significant nonradiological 
environmental impacts associated with the proposed action.

Alternatives to the Proposed Action

    Since the Commission has concluded there is no measurable 
environmental impact associated with the proposed action, any 
alternatives with equal or greater environmental impact need not be 
evaluated. As an alternative to the proposed action, the NRC staff 
considered denial of the proposed action. Denial of the application 
would result in no change in current environmental impacts. The 
environmental impacts of the proposed action and the alternative action 
are similar.

Alternative Use of Resources

    This action does not involve the use of any resources not 
previously considered in the Final Environmental Statement for 
Palisades dated June 1972.

Agencies and Persons Consulted

    In accordance with its stated policy, on March 28, 1997, the NRC 
staff consulted with the Michigan State official, Dennis Hahn, of the 
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Drinking Water and 
Radiological Protection Division, regarding the environmental impact of 
the proposed action. The State official had no comments.

Finding of No Significant Impact

    Based upon the environmental assessment, the Commission concludes 
that the proposed action will not have a significant effect on the 
quality of the human environment. Accordingly, the Commission has 
determined not to prepare an environmental impact statement for the 
proposed action.
    For further details with respect to the proposed action, see the 
licensee's letter dated April 4, 1996, which is available for public 
inspection at the Commission's Public Document Room, The Gelman 
Building, 2120 L Street, NW., Washington, DC, and at the local public 
document room located at the Van Wylen Library, Hope College, Holland, 
Michigan 49423.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 9th day of April 1997.

[[Page 22977]]

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission .
Robert G. Schaaf,
Project Manager, Project Directorate III-1, Division of Reactor 
Projects--III/IV, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation.
[FR Doc. 97-10864 Filed 4-25-97; 8:45 am]

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