RIS 00-020: Importance of Industry Providing NRC Advance Notice of Intent to Pursue License Renewal

November 14, 2000


All holders of operating licenses for nuclear power reactors, except those who have permanently ceased operations and have certified that fuel has been permanently removed from the reactor vessel.

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The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is issuing this regulatory issue summary (RIS) to inform addressees about the importance of providing the NRC with advance notice of their plans for license renewal so that the NRC staff can better plan and budget for the processing of renewal applications. This RIS does not transmit or imply any new or changed requirements or staff positions. The submission of advance notice of addressee plans in this area is strictly voluntary; therefore, no specific action or written response is required.

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In recent years, the NRC has undertaken a series of initiatives to improve the Commission's planning process. Beginning with the NRC Strategic Assessment and Rebaselining initiative in 1995, the NRC has implemented an integrated planning, budgeting, and performance management process to ensure that the business principles of goal setting, strategy development, resource assessment, and performance measurement support NRC activities. These initiatives meet the requirements of the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993. Among other things, the integrated process results in an agency budget and resource allocation process that is strongly tied to selected performance goals. To ensure that certain performance goals and resulting resource allocations are as accurate as possible, the NRC periodically assesses whether the information and assumptions used in the budget development process are up-to-date.

In the NRC's yearly preparation of its budget plans, one element in the budgeting process with significant resource implications is the number of license renewal applications expected to be received. As set forth below, voluntary submission of licensee plans regarding license renewal would assist the NRC in its budgeting and planning processes.

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To improve the accuracy of the resource forecasts, the NRC is asking that all power reactor licensees provide advance notice if they intend to pursue license renewal, including the anticipated schedule for filing renewal applications. In addition, licensees are encouraged to notify the NRC of changes in previously announced schedules for filing such applications. The NRC will use the renewal application filing schedule information in the planning and budgeting of agency resources. Because of the resource implications associated with each application, the NRC will budget its resources on the basis of known applications. Applications received for which the NRC has not received advance notice will be assessed using the integrated planning, budgeting, and performance management process and scheduled to the extent practical on a case-by-case basis.

If a licensee determines that license renewal application schedule information is proprietary in nature because it represents confidential financial or commercial information, the licensee may submit the information along with an affidavit pursuant to 10 CFR 2.790(b) to have the information withheld from public disclosure. The affidavit should contain the basis for withholding the information from public disclosure.

Guidance on this subject is provided in Management Directive (MD) 3.1, "Freedom of Information Act"; MD 3.4, "Release of Information to the Public"; and MD 12.6, "NRC Sensitive Unclassified Information Security Program." The most applicable provision relating to information withheld from public disclosure is contained in the Handbook attached to MD 3.4, specifically, Section (A)(4) of Part IV, "Information Not Routinely Released to the Public," which refers to "other confidential financial or commercial information (i.e., proprietary information) (10CFR 2.790(a)(4))."

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Addressees that choose to provide advance notice of intent to pursue license renewal or to notify the NRC of changes in previously announced schedules for filing license renewal applications in accordance with the guidance contained in this RIS should direct their responses to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, ATTN: Document Control Desk, Washington, D.C. 20555-0001.

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This RIS requires no action or written response. Any action on the part of addressees to provide advance notice of intent to pursue license renewal or to notify the NRC of changes in previously announced schedules for filing applications in accordance with the guidance contained in this RIS, for the purpose of aiding the NRC in planning the use of its resources, is strictly voluntary. Therefore, this is not a backfit under 10 CFR 50.109, and the staff did not perform a backfit analysis.

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A notice of opportunity for public comment on this RIS was not published in the Federal Register because it pertains to an administrative aspect of the regulatory process that involves the voluntary submission of information on the part of addressees.

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This RIS contains a voluntary information collection that is subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.). This voluntary information collection is covered by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) clearance number 3150-0011. The public reporting burden for this voluntary information collection is estimated to average 8 hours per response, including the time for reviewing instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering and maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing the information collection. Send comments regarding this burden estimate to the Records Management Branch (T-6 E6), U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, D.C. 20555-0001, or by Internet electronic mail to <bjs1@nrc.gov> and to the Desk Officer, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, NEOB-10202 (3150-0011), Office of Management and Budget, Washington, D.C. 20503.

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If a means used to impose an information collection does not display a currently valid OMB clearance number, the NRC may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, the information collection.

If there are any questions about this matter, please contact the person listed below or the appropriate Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation project manager for a specific nuclear reactor.

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David B. Matthews, Director
Division of Regulatory Improvement Programs
Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation

Technical Contact: Stephen S. Koenick
E-mail: Stephen.Koenick@nrc.gov
Attachment: List of Recently Issued NRC Regulatory Issue Summaries

(ADAMS Accession Number ML003752145)

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