United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

NRC Program Office Responsibilities for Decommissioning Activities and Planning for Dry Cask Storage of Spent Fuel

                                 UNITED STATES
                         NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION
                         WASHINGTON, D.C.  20555-0001

                               November 1, 1995

                                  DRY CASK STORAGE OF SPENT FUEL


All holders of operating licenses or construction permits for nuclear power
reactors and test and research reactors.

Independent spent fuel storage installation designers and fabricators.


The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is issuing this administrative
letter to inform addressees about (1) lessons learned on the desirability of
early notification to NRC of plans to install dry storage facilities for spent
nuclear reactor fuel and (2) a memorandum of understanding that outlines the
respective responsibilities of the Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation (NRR)
and the Office of Nuclear Materials Safety and Safeguards (NMSS) for
decommissioning activities.  This administrative letter does not transmit or
imply any new or changed requirements or staff positions.  No specific action
or written response is required.


1.  Planning for Dry Cask Storage

In the last several years, an increasing number of utilities have begun to
consider the use of onsite dry cask storage facilities to supplement space
available in their spent fuel pools for storing spent fuel.  Several utilities
have installed, or are installing, such facilities.  

Utility and NRC experience suggests that early and thorough planning is
important to minimize delays and additional effort that may result from the
need to resolve outstanding technical, procedural, or other issues identified
late in the installation process.  Licensees who have anticipated the need for
dry cask facilities and have begun their planning for such facilities several
years before the expected initial loading have been the most successful.  The
Nuclear Energy Institute has promulgated guidance concerning early planning to
its members.  As part of this early planning process, successful licensees
have informed NRC about their plans and maintained communication with NRC as
they developed detailed plans and schedules and made commitments for
particular cask designs.  Such communication has aided NRC in planning the use
of its resources to ensure timely response to licensees on regulatory matters.

                                                      AL 95-04
                                                      November 1, 1995
                                                      Page 2 of 2

2.  Memorandum of Understanding on Decommissioning

On March 15, 1995, NRC issued a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between NRR
and NMSS that defines the program responsibilities of these offices for
managing power reactor decommissioning and spent fuel programs and non-power
reactor decommissioning.  This MOU, which is available in NRC public document
rooms under Accession Number 9508250180, may assist licensees and others in
determining appropriate NRC contacts for various issues.  Key provisions of
the MOU are the following:

.     NRR has cognizance, including project management, oversight, and
      inspection responsibility, over spent fuel pool operations, spent fuel
      cask loading, and transfer and unloading activities until fuel is safely
      placed in an independent spent fuel storage installation (ISFSI) or
      shipped off site.  NRR also has responsibility for the spent fuel
      physical protection program until the fuel is removed from the site.    

.     Except for the physical protection program at operating reactors, NMSS
      has cognizance over facilities related to fuel storage in an ISFSI, for
      shipment of spent fuel from the ISFSI to an offsite storage facility,
      and for dry fuel handling facilities at the ISFSI.

.     NMSS has cognizance over the review of ISFSI casks, facilities and their
      construction, vendors, and respective inspections.  NMSS also has
      cognizance over topical reports and generic design approvals related to
      dry fuel handling facilities.  Onsite visits to reactor facilities are
      coordinated through the NRR project manager in accordance with NRC Field
      Policy Manual (NUREG/BR-0075) No. 12, "Coordination of NRC Activities at
      Power Reactors."

The MOU also designates lead and support responsibilities for activities
associated with decommissioning of power reactors and for reviews in selected
technical areas, and indicates that NRR has responsibility for the 
decommissioning of non-power reactors.

This administrative letter requires no specific action or written response. 
If you have any questions about this letter, please contact the contacts
listed below or the appropriate NRR project manager.

                              /s/'d by BKGrimes/for

                              Dennis M. Crutchfield, Director
                              Division of Reactor Program Management
                              Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation

Contacts:  Andrew J. Kugler, NRR          Patricia L. Eng, NMSS
           (301) 415-2828                 (301) 415-8577

Attachment:  List of Recently Issued NRC Administrative Letters

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