United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Fire Protection Regulations and Guidance for Fuel Cycle Facilities

Through its fire protection regulations and guidance for fuel cycle facilities, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) achieves the following objectives:

  • Ensure that such facilities pose an acceptably low risk to both workers and the public.
  • Require the use of good engineering practice in the fire protection engineering design of new facilities and processes.
  • Promote defense-in-depth principles that incorporate independent layers of protection, diversity, and redundancy.

For detail, see the following topics on this page:

Regulations

Regulations issued by NRC are found in Chapter I of Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR), "Energy," which is divided into Parts 1 through 199. Of these, the following are most relevant to fire protection for fuel cycle facilities:

  • Subpart H of 10 CFR Part 70 establishes the NRC's regulatory requirements for fuel cycle facilities containing at least a critical mass of special nuclear material. In particular, Subpart H sets forth performance requirements that limit the risk from individual events, including those initiated by fire. In addition, 10 CFR Part 70 contains baseline design criteria that require protection from fire and explosions to be explicitly considered in designing new facilities or new processes that are added to existing facilities.

  • 10 CFR Part 76 establishes the provisions under which the NRC now certifies the gaseous diffusion (uranium enrichment) plants that were formerly controlled by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

  • 10 CFR Part 40 sets forth the the source material provisions under which the NRC licenses uranium conversion facilities, which convert yellowcake into uranium hexafluoride (UF6).

In addition, the following resources provide valuable related information:

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Guidance

Regulatory guides (RGs), which the NRC issues in 10 broad divisions, provide guidance to licensees and applicants on implementing specific parts of the NRC's regulations, techniques used by the NRC staff in evaluating specific problems or postulated accidents, and data needed by the staff in its review of applications for permits or licenses. Of these guides, the following are most relevant to fire protection for fuel cycle facilities:

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  • RG 3.16, "General Fire Protection Guide for Plutonium Processing and Fuel Fabrication Plants"

  • RG 3.38, "General Fire Protection Guide for Fuel Reprocessing Plants" (Draft for Comment)

  • RG 3.55, "Standard Format and Content for the Health and Safety Sections of License Renewal Applications for Uranium Hexafluoride Production" (for conversion facilities that produce UF6 from yellowcake)

Other guidance documents that may be useful to licensees and other stakeholders include the following publications:

  • NUREG-1718, "Standard Review Plan for the Review of an Application for a Mixed-Oxide (MOX) Fuel Fabrication Facility"

  • NUREG-1520, "Standard Review Plan for the Review of a License Application for a Fuel Cycle Facility (Final Report)"

  • National Fire Protection Association Standard 801 (NFPA 801), "Standards for Facilities Handling Radioactive Materials" (general guidance for fuel cycle and other nuclear materials facilities)

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Page Last Reviewed/Updated Tuesday, May 21, 2013