United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

FCIX Unanswered Questions

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Addressed to NRC staff

Presentations at the 2014 Fuel Cycle Information Exchange (FCIX) have described Operating Experience (OpE) products developed and used within the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) (e.g., Executive Director for Operations (EDO) briefing packages or weekly summaries). Can this material be shared with licensee and other stakeholders? If not, why?

NRC shares periodic OpE insights internally at various levels and develops supporting summaries or briefing materials. These can be shared with the licensees and stakeholders by profiling them as public in Agencywide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS) except where it is necessary to be withheld (e.g., sensitive proprietary information).

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Will the Regulatory Issue Summary (RIS) on Counterfeit, Fraudulent and Suspect Items (CFSI) be issued in draft for comment? If not, why not? - given the absence of direct outreach from the Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards (NMSS) to the Division of Fuel Cycle Safety and Safeguards (FCSS) to date.

Yes, the RIS on CFSI is expected to be issued in draft for public comment. This RIS is an agency-wide effort to address the generic issue of CFSI as it applies to all NRC programs including the fuel cycle facilities. The purpose of the RIS is to share OpE insights, and heighten stakeholder awareness of the issue. As appropriate, NRC will outreach directly to the fuel cycle facility stakeholders to address this issue or any related concerns.

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Is there one single Federal agency that has the coordinating role for all radiological/nuclear incidents?

As described in the Nuclear/Radiological Incident Annex (NRIA), NRC is the coordinating agency for radiological events occurring at NRC-licensed facilities and for radioactive materials either licensed by NRC or under NRC's Agreement States Program.  As coordinating agency, NRC has technical leadership for the Federal government's response to the event.  If the severity of an event rises to the level of General Emergency, or is terrorist-related, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will take on the role of coordinating the overall Federal response to the event, while NRC would retain a technical leadership role.  Also, for an incident involving a nuclear or radiological facility or material not licensed by the NRC or an Agreement State, the appropriate Federal department/agency is the designated coordinating agency under the Nuclear/Radiological Incident Annex and the NRC serves as a cooperating agency.  In this capacity, the NRC provides technical assistance and support to DHS, other Federal entities, and State/local/tribal authorities commensurate with the NRC's capabilities and consistent with its statutory authority.

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Does NRC serve as the coordinating agency only in cases where an NRC licensee is involved?

No.  For incidents involving NRC or Agreement State licensees, the NRC is designated as the coordinating agency under the Nuclear/Radiological Incident Annex.

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Isn't it redundant for NRC to serve as the coordinating agency only in cases involving NRC licensees if the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) already has the Coordinator role for all other radiological/nuclear Incidents?

No.  The coordinating agency leads the nuclear/radiological aspects of the response in support of DHS for Incidents of National Significance. For incidents below the threshold of an Incident of National Significance, the coordinating agency leads the overall Federal response.  The cooperating agencies provide technical and resource support to DHS and to the coordinating agency.  The NRC is a cooperating agency for all nuclear/radiological incidents other than those for which it is the coordinating agency (i.e., nuclear/radiological incidents involving NRC or Agreement State licensees).  For example, for incidents involving Department of Energy (DOE)-owned/operated facilities, and for terrorism incidents involving material not licensed by NRC or an Agreement State, NRC would provide technical assistance to other Federal, State, local, and tribal authorities as a cooperating agency.

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Addressed to Industry/Stakeholders

Gavin Smith, Office of Nuclear Regulation (ONR), United Kingdom:

Have the costs for decommissioning THORP been assessed? If so, can you say roughly how much it is?

This would not be considered by the ONR. The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) will assess and consider costs.

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Brian Littleton, Environmental protection Agency (EPA):

New facilities are being proposed for medical isotope production which involves processes similar to reprocessing. Does 40 CFR 190 apply to those facilities?

40 CFR 190 applies only to uranium fuel cycle facilities which produce commercial electricity.  As such, these requirements would not apply to medical isotope production, unless that facility also contributed to the nation's grid by producing electricity.

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Roberta Runge, EPA:

At a fuel cycle facility, how is lead responsibility divided when an incident involves chemical issues and not radioactive material directly since the Emergency Plan has the site contact the Headquarters Operations Officer?

Note: This question was answered by NRC.

The NRC would have regulatory oversight of a chemical release at a fuel cycle facility if the material has the potential to impact the safety of licensed material.  If the release does not have the potential to impact the safety of licensed material, NRC's interest would be secondary.  In both cases, the licensee would be expected to notify the HOO per the facility emergency plan to keep the NRC informed.

What is the timeframe for facilities to have the new format/content MSDS's available for site use/reference?

Please refer to the following website for the completion dates. See section on "what you need to do and when".

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Mark Wolf, Honeywell Metropolis Works:

The work done at your facility following the NRC inspection was impressive.  Can you provide an estimate of the cost involved in the upgrades and subsequent NRC follow-up inspections activities?

Cost greater than $40 Million.  The total NRC bill for the seismic work, included NMSS and inspector time approximately $2 Million.

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Page Last Reviewed/Updated Thursday, July 17, 2014