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Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards

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Director: Catherine Haney
Deputy Director: Scott Moore

The Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards (NMSS) is responsible for regulating activities which provide for the safe and secure production of nuclear fuel used in commercial nuclear reactors; the safe storage, transportation and disposal of high-level radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel; and the transportation of radioactive materials regulated under the Atomic Energy Act. Ensures safety and security by implementing a regulatory program involving activities including licensing, inspection, assessment of licensee performance, events analysis, enforcement, and identification and resolution of generic issues. Develops and implements NRC policy for the regulation of these activities involving uranium recovery, conversion, and enrichment activities; fuel fabrication and development; transportation of nuclear materials, including certification of transport containers, and reactor spent fuel storage; and safe management and disposal of and spent fuel and high-level radioactive waste. Has lead responsibility within NRC for domestic and international safeguards policy and regulation for fuel cycle facilities, including material control and accountability. Conducts activities to ensure appropriate standards and regulatory guidance are in place such that licensing review activities for a potential Yucca Mountain high-level waste repository are completed in a timely, thorough and fiscally responsible manner. The Office also is responsible for regulation and licensing of recycling technologies intended to reduce the amount of waste to be disposed through geologic disposal and to reduce proliferation concerns since the technologies do not produce separated plutonium. In order to develop an appropriate regulatory framework, NMSS interacts with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and international experts in recycling during development, demonstration and deployment of new advanced recycling technologies that recycle nuclear fuel in a manner which does not produce separated plutonium. Creates and maintains the regulatory infrastructure to support the agency's role in licensing a reprocessing facility and a related fuel fabrication facility and vitrification and/or waste storage facility. Lays the groundwork for and prepares NRC to perform its regulatory role for new, expanded, and modified commercial fuel cycle facilities which may include recycling, transmutation and actinide burning. This framework including regulatory processes such as licensing, inspection, assessment of licensee performance, events analysis, and enforcement will ensure that this technology can be safely and securely implemented commercially in the United States. 

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Program Planning, Budgeting and Program Analysis Staff

Director: (Vacant)

Provides leadership and coordinates strategic and programmatic planning, resource forecasting and allocation, budgeting through the PBPM process and analysis of office performance through coordination of the operating plan. Manages and coordinates the execution of the office's budget, financial plan and associated contracting activities. Provides administrative and management support, including human resource management, training, information technology, systems analysis, and correspondence/action item control. Ensures compliance with office and agency standards and requirements. Maintains office procedures and letters. Ensures that appropriate quality standards are maintained for work initiated at the office level. PBPA staff will also be responsible for supporting and coordinating office human resource activities, knowledge management, FOIA, internal and external training, office space, office travel planning and utilization of travel resources, correspondence control, and internal controls. Represents the office in intragency and interagency special projects in areas of responsibility and completes special projects assigned by office level management.

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Waste Confidence Directorate

Director: Keith McConnell
Deputy Director: Carrie Safford

The Director, Waste Confidence Directorate (WCD), reports to the Director, Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards and is responsible for developing a Waste Confidence Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) tosupport revised Waste Confidence Decision and Temporary Spent Fuel Storage Rule within the two year time frame as mandated by the Commission.

Communications, Planning and Rulemaking Branch

Chief: Andy Imboden

The Communications, Planning and Rulemaking Branch is responsible for managing public meetings associated with WCD products, for other external stakeholder interactions (e.g., correspondence, websites, phone calls); managing the interface with other Federal and State Agencies, proactive interface with industry and other interested parties; and other related tasks as prescribed by the Director, WCD. As part of the development of the waste confidence (WC) EIS, the Communications Team will obtain information and comments from a wide range of external stakeholders, including representatives from industry, States, Native American Tribes, and public interest groups.

Environmental Impact Statement Branch

Chief: Paul Michalak

The EIS Branch has overall responsibility for the timely development of the WC EIS and associated WC Decision. The EIS branch will interface with liaison staff from Office of the General Counsel and other Offices to resolve issues presented in the Court remand. Staff will work closely with the Communications, Planning and Rulemaking Branch to support public meetings, schedule planning and to facilitate the completion of the draft and final WC rule.

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Division of Fuel Cycle Safety and Safeguards

Director: Marissa Bailey
Deputy Director: (Vacant)

Develops, implements, and evaluates overall agency safety policy for fuel cycle and special nuclear material (SNM) facilities licensed under the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended, or certified in accordance with the Energy Policy Act of 1992. Directs the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) principal licensing, certification, inspection, environmental reviews, and other regulatory activities associated with these facilities to assure adequate safety and safeguards. Identifies and takes action to resolve safety and safeguards issues, and directs NRC's contingency planning and emergency response operations dealing with accidents, events, incidents, threats, thefts, and radiological sabotage relating to licensed activities under its responsibility. Provides technical support for training and guidance to NRC headquarters and regional office licensing and inspection staff.

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Programmatic Oversight and Regional Support Branch

Chief: Michael Franovich

Plans, coordinates, and manages the development and implementation of policies and programs for activities covering fuel cycle facilities. Manages the ISA program to complete needed reviews, and leads divisional efforts to identify and implement risk-informed ISA program activities. Performs other special activities to support agency initiatives as needed, including coordinating activities to support fuel cycle infrastructure considerations necessary for future reactor designs and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) external regulation. Reviews programmatic activities and identifies technical and policy options for regulations, regulatory guides, and policy statements. Conducts criticality licensing reviews for uranium fuel enrichment and fabrication facilities, source material processing, and SNM, and associated waste processing facilities. Maintain a center of excellence for the division for quality assurance activities related to fuel cycle facilities. Develops, coordinates, and oversees the fuel cycle inspection and oversight programs to evaluate the implementation of NRC-required activities. Oversight of licensees' activities include efforts to train, inspect, and assess effectiveness of licensees' implementation of regulatory requirements. Performs criticality inspections at various facilities. Maintains a center of excellence within the Division for criticality safety issues.

Material Control and Accounting Branch

Chief: Peter Habighorst

Plans, coordinates, and manages the development and implementation of policies and programs for material control and accounting (MC&A) at specifically licensed spent fuel storage installations, uranium fuel enrichment and special nuclear fuel fabrication facilities, mixed-oxide fabrication and processing facilities, other radioactive material facilities and associated waste processing facilities and transportation activities. Conducts safeguards technical and regulatory reviews of the MC&A programs. Conducts inspections to ensure that the licensee's MC&A system detects and protects against the loss, theft, or diversion of special nuclear material (SNM). Plans, coordinates, and manages contingency planning and emergency response activities for safeguards events at fuel cycle facilities and assesses event reports. Facilitates application of International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards and evaluates the adequacy of physical protection for export licensing reviews and retransfer requests. Conducts activities to enhance safeguards programs in other countries and promote nuclear non-proliferation. Provides oversight and management of the U.S. National Accounting System for tracking transfers and possession of SNM. Maintains a center of excellence within the Division for material control and accountability issues.

Uranium Enrichment Branch

Chief: Brian Smith

Plans, coordinates, and manages the overall development and implementation of policies and programs for activities covering the regulatory policy and licensing actions for NRC programs for uranium enrichment plants. Oversees the development and promulgation of regulatory requirements, development of policy, and the conduct of licensing reviews related to such facilities. Issues new, amended, and renewed licenses and certifications upon completion of staff review and findings of regulatory compliance. Provides technical support and guidance to the Regions on licensing and inspection activities. Reviews programmatic activities and identifies technical and policy options for regulations, regulatory guides, and policy statements. Participates in Licensee Performance Reviews and the screening process for the Agency Action Review Meetings (AARM). Manages policy and implementation issues associated with the handling of sensitive information. Maintains a center of excellence within the Division for fire protection and health physics issues.

Fuel Manufacturing Branch

Chief: Robert Johnson

Plans, coordinates, and manages the development and implementation of policies and programs for NRC regulation of activities involving fuel fabrication and Part 70 facilities. Oversees the development and promulgation of regulatory requirements, development of policy, and the conduct of licensing reviews related to such facilities. Issues new, amended, and renewed licenses upon completion of staff review and finding of regulatory compliance. Provides technical support and guidance to the regions on licensing and inspection activities. Leads divisional knowledge management efforts. Plans and coordinates Licensee Performance Reviews and the screening process for the AARM. Maintains a center of excellence within the Division for licensing and chemical technical reviewers.

Conversion, Deconversion and Mixed Oxide Branch

Chief: (Vacant)

Plans, coordinates, and manages the development and implementation of policies and programs for activities covering the regulatory policy and licensing actions for NRC programs related to uranium conversion/deconversion and MOX fuel fabrication plant activities. Oversees the development and promulgation of regulatory requirements, development of policy, and licensing reviews related to such facilities. Provides technical support and guidance to the Regions on licensing and inspection activities. Reviews programmatic activities and identifies technical and policy options for regulations, regulatory guides, and policy statements. Participates in Licensee Performance Reviews and the screening process for the Agency Action Review Meetings (AARM).

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Division of Spent Fuel Alternative Strategies

Director: Josephine Piccone
Deputy Director: James Rubenstone

The Division of Spent Fuel Alternative Strategies (SFAS) serves as the focal point for project management, technical evaluation, licensing, and supporting safety programs for fuel disposition and high-level waste within NMSS, consistent with the NRC's Strategic Plan. The Division's primary responsibility is to complete and issue the safety evaluation report (SER) associated with the Yucca Mountain construction authorization application and related activities which may include developing an environmental impact statement (EIS) supplement to the Yucca Mountain EIS. Other responsibilities include programs supporting the Nation's policies and laws related to extended fuel storage & transportation, ultimate disposal, and advanced reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel and high-level waste. Some examples follow:

  • Develops proposed regulations and regulatory guidance in support of spent fuel and high-level waste dispositions (i.e., ultimate disposal, reprocessing, extended fuel storage, etc.)
  • Interfaces with the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Energy (DOE), and other agencies in the development of environmental radiation protection standards for radioactive waste management, disposal, and regulatory programs of mutual interests to enhance regulatory efficiency, effectiveness and stability in protecting public health and safety, and the environment.
  • Coordinates with international communities on engineering and geo-science activities that support NMSS's safety/regulatory mission.

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Extended Storage and Transportation/Science Technology/Backend Fuel Cycle Branch

Chief: Paul Kallan

The branch provides project management and technical evaluation to support safety programs for disposition of spent reactor fuel and high-level waste.  Activities include safety assessment aspects of the geosciences as well as associated environmental assessments (National Environmental Policy Act requirements) and other technical areas, as appropriate. The Branch serves as the center for technical expertise for spent fuel disposition, including systems analysis and risk assessment.  Develops methods and guidance required for performing technical and regulatory evaluations in areas of extended fuel storage and transportation, ultimate disposal of radioactive waste, and supports back end of the fuel cycle licensing, inspections and integration programs.  Ensures technical completeness, accuracy, and consistency within assigned technical responsibilities.  Interfaces extensively with the Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards, international programs related to the branch's responsibilities, and other U.S. Government Agencies, such as EPA and DOE.  Coordinates and integrates technical studies with other NMSS divisions and other NRC offices, as appropriate.

Yucca Mountain Volume 2 Branch

Chief: Jack Guttmann

The branch has primary responsibility for completing and issuing Volume 2, "Repository Safety Before Permanent Closure," of the SER for the Yucca Mountain license application.  Technical support is provided to other branches within the division, as needed.  Ensures technical completeness, accuracy, and consistency within assigned technical responsibilities to render a safety finding pursuant to applicable NRC regulations and policies.  Interfaces with Office of the General Counsel (OGC) and divisions within NMSS, and other offices (e.g., Office of Nuclear Security and Incident Response (NSIR), Office of Information Services (OIS), and the Office of the Secretary (SECY)) on programs related to the branch's responsibilities.

Yucca Mountain Volume 3 Branch

Chief: Hipolito Gonzalez

The branch has primary responsibility for completing and issuing Volume 3, "Repository Safety After Permanent Closure," of the SER for the Yucca Mountain license application.  Technical support is provided to other branches within the division, as needed.  Ensures technical completeness, accuracy, and consistency within assigned technical responsibilities to render a safety finding pursuant to applicable NRC regulations and policies.  Interfaces with OGC and divisions within NMSS, and other offices (e.g., NSIR, OIS, and SECY) on programs related to the branch's responsibilities.

Yucca Mountain Volumes 4, 5 and Environmental Impact Statement Branch

Chief: King Stablein

The branch has primary responsibility for completing and issuing Volume 4, "Administrative and Programmatic," and Volume 5, "License Specifications & Conditions" of the SER, and the environmental impact statement for the Yucca Mountain license application.  Technical support is provided to other branches within the division, as needed.  Ensures technical completeness, accuracy, and consistency within assigned technical responsibilities to render a safety finding pursuant to applicable NRC regulations and policies.  Interfaces with OGC and divisions within NMSS, and other offices (e.g., NSIR, OIS, and SECY) on programs related to the branch's responsibilities.

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Division of Spent Fuel Storage and Transportation

Director: Mark Lombard
Deputy Director: Anthony Hsia

Develops and implements the agency's regulatory, licensing, and inspection program for the storage of nuclear reactor spent fuel and the domestic and international transportation of radioactive materials. Serves as the agency lead in spent fuel storage and transportation activities. Develops licensing, certification, and quality assurance review criteria and policies. Manages and conducts the safety and environmental reviews of: (1) commercial transportation cask designs under 10 CFR Part 71 and spent fuel storage cask designs under 10 CFR Part 72, including the certification of storage systems under the general license provisions of 10 CFR Part 72; and (2) interim spent fuel and high-level waste storage facilities, including the licensing of nuclear utility specific facilities and private facilities. Manages and conducts the review of DOE applications for storage and transport systems for the civilian high-level radioactive waste program. Conducts safety inspections of transport packages and spent fuel storage system vendors. Conducts safety inspections at independent spent fuel storage installations. Conducts inspections of the implementation of quality assurance programs by users, suppliers, and fabricators of NRC-certified transport packages and dry storage systems. Approves quality assurance programs for transportation activities and for fabrication of transportation packagings. Develops policy, regulations, and guidance for designers, users, and fabricators of NRC-certified transportation packages and dry spent fuel storage casks. Provides technical and policy guidance to the NRC Regions and licensees on transportation and spent fuel storage. Coordinates and develops guidance with other U.S. Government and International Agencies on transportation policy and safety issues, and provides guidance to industry and the public. Participates in the development of international transportation and spent fuel storage safety standards. Reviews and provides guidance on transportation physical protection issues. Provides technical support for incident and emergency response.

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Licensing Branch

Chief: Michele Sampson

Manages and coordinates the safety and environmental reviews and issues certificates of compliance for commercial transportation cask designs under 10 CFR Part 71. This includes transportation containers for spent fuel, UF6, fresh fuel, oxides, contaminated waste, sealed sources, and Naval Reactor shipments. Manages and coordinates the safety and environmental reviews and issues licenses for spent fuel storage cask designs under 10 CFR Part 72, including the certification of storage systems under the general license provisions of 10 CFR Part 72. Manages and coordinates the safety and environmental reviews and issues licenses for the interim spent fuel and high-level waste storage facilities under 10 CFR Part 72, including the licensing of nuclear utility specific facilities and private facilities. Manages and coordinates the safety and environmental reviews and issues licenses for DOE applications for storage and transport systems for the civilian high-level radioactive waste program. Provides technical support for development of guidance for the design, analysis, fabrication, and operation of spent fuel and non-spent fuel shipping containers under 10 CFR Part 71, and spent fuel storage cask designs, and interim spent fuel and high-level waste storage facilities under 10 CFR Part 72.

Rules, Inspections, and Operations Branch

Chief: (Vacant)

Provides overall management for the transportation and spent fuel storage inspection program. Develops inspection policy, procedures, and guidance to the NRC Regions on transportation and spent fuel storage. Provides the necessary infrastructure to support continuous improvement of the inspection program and the division’s operations. Coordinates division efforts related to policy, regulations, and guidance for designers, users, and fabricators of NRC certified transportation packages and dry spent fuel storage casks. Conducts inspections of transport package and spent fuel storage system vendors to assess compliance with regulations and the license or certificate. Provides technical and programmatic assistance to the NRC Regions in conducting safety inspections of independent spent fuel storage installations (ISFSIs). Reviews and approves quality assurance program descriptions for 10 CFR Part 71 activities. Serves as the NRC point-of-contact with the U.S. Department of Transportation for transportation safety matters, and as a center of expertise for transportation safety. Participates with the U.S. Department of Transportation, the International Atomic Energy Agency, and other U.S. Government and International Agencies, in the development of international transportation and spent fuel storage safety standards and guidance on transportation policy and safety issues.

Technical Review Branches:

Structural Mechanics and Materials Branch; Chief: Aladar Csontos
Criticality, Shielding and Dose Assessment Branch; Chief: Meraj Rahimi
Thermal and Containment Branch; Chief: Christian Araguas

Conducts the technical safety review of commercial transportation cask designs under 10 CFR Part 71. This includes transportation containers for spent fuel, UF6, fresh fuel, oxides, contaminated waste, sealed sources, and Naval Reactor shipments. Conducts the technical safety review of spent fuel storage cask designs under 10 CFR Part 72, including the certification of storage systems under the general license provisions of 10 CFR Part 72. Conducts the technical safety review of interim spent fuel and high-level waste storage facilities under 10 CFR Part 72, including the licensing of nuclear utility specific facilities and private facilities. Conducts the technical safety review of DOE applications for storage and transport systems for the civilian high-level radioactive waste program. Develops technical guidance for the design, analysis, fabrication, and operation of spent fuel and non-spent fuel shipping containers under 10 CFR Part 71, and spent fuel storage cask designs, and interim spent fuel and high-level waste storage facilities under 10 CFR Part 72. Provides technical support for issuance of technical and policy guidance to the NRC Regions and licensees on transportation and spent fuel storage. Provides technical support for incident and emergency response. Develops the technical bases for risk-informing regulatory programs for spent fuel transportation and storage.

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Page Last Reviewed/Updated Wednesday, July 02, 2014