United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Fuel Cycle Facilities Licensing

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) licenses five types of fuel cycle facilities for uranium recovery through its conversion, enrichment, and fabrication into fuel used for nuclear power plants and other types of reactors.

Process for New Licenses

A company that wishes to operate a fuel cycle material facility must submit an application to the NRC. This application must demonstrate how the facility will be operated to ensure adequate safety and safeguards in accordance with NRC licensing regulations found in 10 CFR Parts 30, 40, 70, 73, 74, and 76.

The NRC prepared a generic environmental impact statement in anticipation of a number of requests for in situ leach (ISL) uranium recovery facilities. For additional information, see Generic Environmental Impact Statement for Uranium Milling Facilities.

The NRC reviews each application according to procedures and criteria documented in a Standard Review Plan. If the application is approved, a license is issued. The license contains the amount and type of material that the facility is allowed to possess and any special conditions imposed by the NRC. Fuel cycle material facilities licenses are typically issued for 10 years.

License Modification Process

To make changes to a license, the licensee prepares an application for an amendment. This application must contain the basis for the changes and a detailed description of how the change would affect safety of the workers, the public, and the environment. The NRC technical staff reviews the application, and if it is approved, the license is amended to include the change.

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License Renewal Process

Fuel cycle material facility licenses can be renewed for a 10-year period if certain conditions are met. The review of the renewal applications includes evaluation of safety and environmental impact.

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License Fees

The fees charged by the NRC to applicants for an NRC license and to holders of NRC licenses and the associated requirements are found in 10 CFR Part 170 and 10 CFR Part 171. See in particular 10 CFR 170.20 and 170.31 and 10 CFR 171.16 and 171.17(b) for sections directly applicable to fees for fuel cycle facility licenses. Also see 10 CFR 170.11 and 10 CFR 171.11 for exemptions from the fee requirements. For more information about fees, see our License Fees page, 10 CFR Part 170, and 10 CFR Part 171.

Public Involvement

To learn how stakeholders can participate in our licensing process, see Public Involvement in Licensing.

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Page Last Reviewed/Updated Friday, June 10, 2016