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Reprocessing

Reprocessing refers generally to the processes necessary to separate spent nuclear reactor fuel into material that may be recycled for use in new fuel and material that would be discarded as waste. There are no reprocessing facilities currently operating in the United States, but there are facilities operating in foreign countries.

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Upcoming Public Meetings

For upcoming meetings, see our Public Meeting Schedule. Information for the meetings on this page is available at this Web site or in the ADAMS if an accession number is given.

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Recent Public Meetings

The following table lists, in chronological order, the public meetings that the NRC staff has conducted to discuss the regulatory efforts regarding reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel.

Public Meetings and Other Interactions
Meeting Date Subject

06/21/2011
and
06/22/2011

Public meeting to discuss potential rulemaking for spent nuclear fuel reprocessing facilities.

Presentations

Handout

Public comments

10/19/2010
and
10/20/2010

Public workshop to discuss major issues associated with the development of a regulatory framework for a potential rulemaking for spent nuclear fuel reprocessing facilities (Albuquerque, NM).

Transcripts

Presentations

Meeting Summary
08/07/2010
and
08/08/2010

Public workshop to discuss major issues associated with the development of a regulatory framework for a potential rulemaking for spent nuclear fuel reprocessing facilities (Rockville, MD).

Transcripts

Presentations

Handouts

Meeting Summary

05/13/2010 Public meeting with NRC staff and NEI representatives to discuss NRC's ongoing activities related to revising the regulatory framework for spent nuclear fuel reprocessing. The meeting included the following presentations from NRC staff and NEI representatives:
10/28/2009 Public meeting to address:
  • Waste Discussions related to regulatory gaps – including definitions of High Level Waste and Waste Incidental to Recycling; waste classification: waste confidence, independent storage of UNF and HLW, and definitions of additional terms
  • Safeguards Issues – including reprocessing facility exemption from Cat. 1 requirements, material accounting management, advanced fuel cycles and SNM, and risk-informing parts 73 and 74
09/18/2009 Public meeting to discuss the current work being done to develop a regulatory framework for reprocessing. The meeting included the following presentations from NRC management and staff:
02/26/2009

Meeting with Nuclear Energy Institute on its White Paper regarding a proposed regulatory framework for licensing spent fuel reprocessing facilities.

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Related Technical Presentations

Seminar Date Subject
12/08/2010

DOE Seminar on Reprocessing – Transmutation

07/28/2010

DOE Seminar on Reprocessing - 40 CFR Part 190

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Related Commission Papers (SECY)

Document number Description Date
SECY-13-0093

Reprocessing Regulatory Framework – Status and Next Steps

08/30/2013
SECY-11-0163 Reprocessing Rulemaking: Draft Regulatory Basis and Path Forward 11/18/2011
SECY-09-0082 Update on Reprocessing Regulatory Framework – Summary of Gap Analysis 05/28/2009
SECY-08-0134 Regulatory Structure for Spent Fuel Reprocessing 09/12/2008
SECY-07-0198 Performance and Coordination of the Regulatory Framework for the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership 11/07/2007
SECY-07-0081 Regulatory Options for Licensing Facilities Associated with the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership 05/15/2007
SECY-06-0066 Regulatory and Resource Implications of a Department of Energy Spent Nuclear Fuel Recycling Program 05/16/2006

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Related Staff Requirement Memoranda (SRM's)

Document  number Description Date
SRM-SECY-13-0093

Staff Requirements – SECY-13-0093 – Reprocessing Regulatory Framework – Status and Next Steps

11/04/2013
SRM-SECY-07-0081 Staff Requirements – Regulatory Options for Licensing Facilities Associated with the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) 06/28/2007
SRM-SECY-06-0066 Staff Requirements – Regulatory and Resource Implications of a Department of Energy Spent Nuclear Fuel Recycling Program 05/16/2006

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Background

In 2007, the Commission directed the staff to complete an analysis of Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR) to identify regulatory gaps for licensing an advanced reprocessing facility and recycling reactor.

In mid-2008, two nuclear industry companies informed the agency of their intent to seek a license for a reprocessing facility in the U.S. An additional company expressed its support for updating the regulatory framework for reprocessing, but stopped short of stating its intent to seek a license for such a facility. At the time, the staff also noted that progress on some Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) initiatives had waned and it appeared appropriate to shift the focus of the staff's efforts from specific GNEP-facility regulations to a more broadly applicable framework for commercial reprocessing facilities.

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Reprocessing Framework Schedules

Staff's Preliminary Plan for Gap Resolution

Gap Description Fiscal Year ***
2
0
1
3
2
0
1
4
2
0
1
5
2
0
1
6
2
0
1
7
2
0
1
8
2
0
1
9
2
0
2
0
2
0
2
1
2
0
2
2
2
0
2
3
2
0
2
4
2
0
2
5
2
0
2
6
2
0
2
7
2
0
2
8
2
0
2
9
2
0
3
0
2
0
3
1
2
0
3
2
1 Regulatory Framework (Complete)                                        
2 Independent Storage of High Level Waste                                        
3 Waste Incidental to Reprocessing                                        
4 Exclusion of Irradiated Fuel Processing Facilities in 10 CFR 74.51 (*)                                        
5 Risk Considerations for production facility                                        
6 Definitions                                        
7 Licensed Operators and Testing                                        
8 Risk-Informed 10 CFR Parts 73 and 74 (**)                                        
9 General Design Criteria                                        
10 One-Step Licensing and ITAACs                                        
11 Technical Specifications                                        
12 Financial Protection Requirements                                        
13 Schedule of Fees                                        
14 Annual Fees                                        
15 Waste Confidence                                        
16 Waste Classification                                        
17 Diversion Path Analysis                                        
18 Material Accounting                                        
19 Effluent Control and Monitoring                                        

(*) Addressed through ongoing 10 CFR Part 74.51 rulemaking approved by Commission

(**) In this context, risk informing means staff will evaluate 10 CFR Part 73 and 10 CFR Part 74 for any changes needed to support reprocessing licensing

(***) Assuing current level of budgeted resources of 2 FTE per year

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Page Last Reviewed/Updated Thursday, July 17, 2014