RIS 01-021: Licensing Action Estimates for Operating Reactors

November 16, 2001


All power reactor licensees, including those that have elected to permanently cease operations and have submitted certifications pursuant to Title 10, Section 50.82(a)(1), of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR 50.82(a)(1)).


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 that they will submit for NRC review in fiscal years (FYs) 2002 and 2003. (The NRC's fiscal year begins on October 1 and ends on September 30.) Submittal of the requested estimates is strictly voluntary. No specific action or written response is required.


To meet the requirements of the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993, the NRC has begun a series of initiatives to improve the agency's planning process. Among those initiatives, the NRC has implemented an integrated planning, budgeting, and performance measurement process. This process applies the business principles of goal setting, strategy development, resource allocation, and performance measurement to NRC activities. Among other benefits, 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. In addition, to ensure that performance measures and corresponding resource allocations are as accurate as possible, NRC periodically assesses the appropriateness of the information and assumptions used in the budget development process.

To top of page

Issue Summary

A significant element in the NRC's budget process is the number of licensing actions that the Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation (NRR) is expected to review during a budget cycle. Specifically, licensing actions include requests for license amendments, renewals, transfers or conversions; exemptions; relief from inspection and surveillance requirements; review of topical reports submitted on a plant-specific basis; power uprate requests; dry cask storage applications; Owners Group initiatives (topical reports); Technical Specification Task Force initiatives; and other licensee requests requiring the expenditure of NRC resources.

To more accurately forecast the resources needed to complete requested licensing actions, the NRC is asking that all power reactor licensees, including those that have determined to permanently cease operations and have submitted certifications pursuant to 10 CFR 50.82(a)(1), to voluntarily provide estimates of the number of licensing action requests that they plan to submit for NRR review in FYs 2002 and 2003. This information will enable the agency to better meet its performance and timeliness goals under the agency's strategic plan.

Further, to adequately capture the resource impact of certain licensing action reviews, the NRC is asking licensees to identify (by brief title) those licensing actions that they anticipate will entail complex reviews. The NRC will use this information as the basis for allocating resources in FYs 2002 and 2003.

Licensees would also assist the NRC by estimating the potential safety and operational benefits, costs/person-rem averted, or any other economic savings that would be realized as a result of their anticipated licensing action requests. The agency will use these estimates to assist the NRR staff in planning workload, allocating its resources, and measuring its success in reducing unnecessary regulatory burden.

The NRC calculates and budgets its resources on the basis of projected estimates of incoming licensing actions with an eye toward completing those licensing actions in a timely manner. For example, the NRC's current budget allows for the resources needed to process 1,500 licensing actions during a fiscal year, and the completion of those 1,500 actions during a fiscal year constitutes an agency performance measure. Specifically, the NRC's established timeliness performance measure is to complete 95 percent of all incoming licensing actions within 1 year and 100 percent within 2 years.

In FY 2000, the NRC's budget allocated the resources needed to process 1,500 licensing actions, but the agency actually received approximately 1,700 requests. Without reasonably accurate estimates of the expected number of licensing actions that the NRC will receive, our agency's budget estimates can be significantly incorrect, ultimately impeding our ability to process licensing actions on a timely basis. Licensing action requests for which NRR has not received advanced 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. However, the lack of prior notice could significantly delay such requests if sufficient resources are not available at the time of submittal. In the future, the NRC plans to ask for licensing action estimates on a fiscal year basis.

Attachment 1 to this RIS provides a table that licensees can use to document their estimates of licensing actions for the next 2 fiscal years. If a licensee determines that a licensing action estimate is proprietary in nature, the licensee may submit the information along with an affidavit, in accordance with the provisions of 10 CFR 2.790(b), to have the NRC withhold the information from public disclosure. Licensees can also submit a redacted version of their licensing action estimates. 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."

Licensees are asked to voluntarily provide their estimates of licensing action requests to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, ATTN: Document Control Desk, Washington, DC 20555-0001, with a copy to Donna Skay, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Mail Stop O-8C2, Washington, D.C. 20555-0001, within 45 days of receipt of this RIS.

To top of page

Backfit Discussion

This RIS does not require any 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 RIS does not constitute a backfit under 10 CFR 50.109, and the staff did not perform a backfit analysis.

To top of page

Federal Register Notification

This RIS pertains to an administrative aspect of the regulatory process that involves the voluntary submission of information by addressees. Consequently, the staff did not publish a notice of opportunity for public comment on this RIS in the Federal Register.

Paperwork Reduction Act Statement

The voluntary collection of information requested in this RIS is covered by 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 to review instructions, search existing data sources, gather and maintain the requested data, and complete and review the collection of information. Comments regarding this burden, including suggestions for reducing this burden, may be sent 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.

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 RIS does not require any 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.

To top of page

  /RA Christopher I. Grimes Acting for/
David B. Matthews, Director
Division of Regulatory Improvement Programs
Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation
Technical contact: Donna Skay, NRR
(301) 415-1322
  1. Table of Estimated Licensing Actions
  2. List of Recently Issued NRC Information Notices



To top of page

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Wednesday, March 24, 2021