RIS 01-008: Operating Reactor Licensing Action Estimates

April 2, 2001


All power reactor licensees.

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The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is issuing this regulatory issue summary (RIS) to ask licensees to provide estimates of the number of licensing actions they will submit for NRC review in Fiscal Year (FY) 2001 and FY 2002. NRC's fiscal year begins October 1 and ends September 30. The submittal of this information is strictly voluntary. No specific action or written response is required.

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To meet the requirements of the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993, the NRC has undertaken a series of initiatives to improve the Commission's planning process and has implemented an integrated planning, budgeting, and performance measurement process applying the business principles of goal setting, strategy development, resource allocation, and performance measurement to NRC activities. Among other things, the integrated process strongly ties the agency's budget and resource allocation process to its strategic plan, its strategic arenas, and its performance goals and measures. To ensure that performance measures and corresponding resource allocations are as accurate as possible, the NRC periodically assesses the appropriateness of the information and assumptions used in the budget development process.

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Summary of Issue

A significant element in the budget process is the number of licensing actions the Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation (NRR) is expected to review in a budget cycle. For planning purposes, licensing actions are requests for license amendments, license renewals or transfers, exemptions, relief from inspection and surveillance requirements, review of topical reports submitted on a plant-specific basis, or other licensee requests requiring NRC review and approval before licensees can implement them. To more accurately forecast the resources necessary to complete requested licensing action applications in a manner that meets the NRC strategic plan performance and timeliness goals, the NRC is asking that all power reactor licensees, including those that have determined to permanently cease operations and have submitted certification pursuant to 10 CFR 50.82(a)(1), voluntarily provide estimates of the number of new licensing action requests they plan to submit in the remainder of FY 2001 and for all of FY 2002.

To adequately capture the resource impact of certain licensing action reviews, licensees are asked to identify by brief title those licensing actions that are expected to entail complex reviews, (e.g., power uprate requests, license renewal applications, license transfer applications, and dry cask storage applications). The NRC will use these estimates of new licensing action requests as the basis for allocating resources to process incoming licensing action requests in FY 2001 and FY 2002. In the current budget, NRC has allocated the resources needed to process 1500 licensing actions during a fiscal year. The completion of 1500 licensing actions during a fiscal year is an Agency performance measure. The NRC resources are calculated based on projected estimates of incoming licensing actions and on completing these licensing actions in a timely manner. The established NRC's timeliness performance measure is to complete 95 percent of all incoming licensing actions within 1 year and 100 percent within 2 years.

Licensees would also assist the NRC by estimating the potential safety and operational benefits, costs/man-rem averted, or any other economic savings that would be realized by their licensing action requests. This type of information will be used to assist the NRR staff in work-planning, allocating resources, and measuring NRC's success in reducing unnecessary regulatory burden.

In FY 2000, the NRC budgeted for 1500 licensing actions. The actual number received was approximately 1700. Without reasonably accurate estimates of the expected number of licensing actions NRC will receive, our budget estimates can be in significant error, ultimately resulting in our inability to process licensing actions on a timely and predictable basis.

RIS 2000-04, "Operating Reactor Licensing Action Estimates," which was issued on March 16, 2000, asked for similar licensing action estimates. In response to this RIS, the NRC received licensing action request estimates for 27 plants (43 units). The estimates for these plants indicated 355 licensing action requests would be submitted to the NRC during FY 2001. Using this data to project the number of licensing action requests would result in a significant under- estimation of the number of licensing action submittals expected in FY 2001. During FY 2002 and in the future, the number of incoming licensing action applications will influence the NRC strategic plan licensing action performance and timeliness measures and will determine the resources the agency allocates to processing these licensing action application requests. In the future, the NRC plans to ask for licensing action application estimates on a fiscal year basis. The next solicitation, in September 2001, will request voluntary submittal of estimates for FY 2002 and FY 2003.

Licensees are asked to voluntarily provide their estimates of licensing action submittals to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, ATTN: Document Control Desk, Washington, DC 20555-0001, with a copy to Patrick Madden, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Mail Stop O-8E1, Washington, D.C. 20555-0001, within 45 days of receipt of this RIS.

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Backfit Discussion

This RIS requires no action or written response. Any action on the part of addressees to collect and transmit information in accordance with the guidance 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. Consequently, the staff did not perform a backfit analysis.

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Federal Register Notification

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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Paperwork Reduction Act Statement

The voluntary information collections contained in this solicitation are covered by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) clearance number 3150-0131. The public reporting burden for this voluntary collection of information is estimated to average 10 hours per response, including the time for reviewing instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering and maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing the collection of information. Send comments regarding this burden, including suggestions for reducing this burden, to the Records Management Branch, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, D.C. 20555-0001, and to the Desk Officer, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, NEOB-10202 (3150-0131), Office of Management and Budget, Washington, D.C. 20503.

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Public Protection Notification

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.

This regulatory issue summary requires no specific action or written response. If you have any questions about this matter, please contact the technical contact listed below or the appropriate NRR project manager.

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

Technical Contact: Patrick Madden, NRR
Attachment: List of Recently Issued NRC Regulatory Issue Summaries

(ADAMS Accession Number ML010880474)

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Page Last Reviewed/Updated Wednesday, March 24, 2021