Regulatory Improvements for Production and Utilization Facilities Transitioning to Decommissioning

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On March 3, 2022, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) published a proposed rule to amend its regulations that relate to the decommissioning of production and utilization facilities, primarily nuclear power reactors.

Decommissioning nuclear power reactors are currently subject to many of the same requirements as operating nuclear power reactors even though decommissioning power reactors have a significantly lower risk of, and potential consequences from, radiological accidents than operating power reactors.

The proposed rule would implement specific regulatory requirements for different phases of the decommissioning process, consistent with the reduced radiological risk.

Topics addressed in the proposed rule include:

  • Emergency preparedness
  • Physical security
  • Cyber security
  • Drug and alcohol testing
  • Certified fuel hander definition and elimination of the shift technical advisor
  • Decommissioning funding assurance
  • Offsite and onsite financial protection requirements and indemnity agreements
  • Environmental considerations
  • Record retention requirements
  • Low-level waste transportation
  • Spent fuel management planning
  • Backfit rule
  • Foreign ownership, control, or domination
  • Clarification of scope of license termination plan requirement
  • Removal of license conditions and withdrawal of orders
  • Changes for consistent treatment of holders of combined licenses and operating licenses

The proposed regulations would incorporate best practices and lessons learned from plants that have recently transitioned to decommissioning and would improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the regulatory framework.

This would allow both licensees and the NRC to focus efforts on safe and timely decommissioning of the facilities and the return of the land for future unrestricted use while protecting people and the environment.

The staff previously sought public feedback on this activity through an advance notice of proposed rulemaking and draft regulatory basis in 2015 and 2017, respectively.

The public comment period for the proposed rule ended on August 30, 2022.

Proposed Rule with Request for Public Comment

Read it in the Federal Register

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Submit a Formal Comment

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Documents Related to the Proposed Rule

Date Description
02/28/2022 DG-1346 Revision 1 (Proposed New Regulatory Guide RG 1.235) Emergency Planning for Decommissioning Nuclear Power Reactors
02/28/2022 DG-1347 Revision 1 (Proposed Regulatory Guide RG 1.184 Rev 2) Decommissioning of Nuclear Power Reactors
02/28/2022 DG-1348 Revision 1 (Proposed Regulatory Guide RG 1.159 Rev 3) Assuring the Availability of Funds for Decommissioning Production or Utilization Facilities
02/28/2022 DG-1349 Revision 1 (Proposed Regulatory Guide RG 1.185 Rev 2) Standard Format and Content for Post-Shutdown Decommissioning Activities Report
02/28/2022 Draft Regulatory Analysis
02/28/2022 Draft Environmental Assessment
03/02/2022 Draft Supporting Statements for Information Collections
03/02/2022 Unofficial Redline Rule Text

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Public Meetings

Date Description
05/09/2022 Public Meeting on the "Regulatory Improvements for Production and Utilization Facilities Transitioning to Decommissioning" Rulemaking – Proposed Rule (Plymouth, MA)
05/04/2022 Public Meeting on the "Regulatory Improvements for Production and Utilization Facilities Transitioning to Decommissioning" Rulemaking – Proposed Rule (San Luis Obispo, CA)
04/19/2022 Public Meeting on the "Regulatory Improvements for Production and Utilization Facilities Transitioning to Decommissioning" Rulemaking – Proposed Rule (Atlanta, GA)
04/12/2022 Public Meeting on the "Regulatory Improvements for Production and Utilization Facilities Transitioning to Decommissioning" Rulemaking – Proposed Rule (Chicago, IL)
03/31/2022 Public Meeting on the "Regulatory Improvements for Production and Utilization Facilities Transitioning to Decommissioning" Rulemaking – Proposed Rule (Rockville, MD)
03/21/2022 Public Meeting on the "Regulatory Improvements for Production and Utilization Facilities Transitioning to Decommissioning" Rulemaking – Proposed Rule (Rockville, MD)
05/08/2017 – 05/10/2017

Public Meeting on the "Regulatory Improvements for Power Reactors Transitioning to Decommissioning" Rulemaking – Draft Regulatory Basis

12/09/2015

Public Meeting to Discuss Regulatory Improvements for Decommissioning Power Reactors: Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

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Additional Background Documents

Date Description
05/17/2022 Federal Register Notice [NRC-2015-0070]: Regulatory Improvements for Production and Utilization Facilities Transitioning to Decommissioning – Proposed Rule; extension of comment period
05/06/2022 Federal Register Notice [NRC-2015-0070]: Regulatory Improvements for Production and Utilization Facilities Transitioning to Decommissioning – Correction
04/19/2022 NRC Press Release (22-016): NRC to Hold Public Meetings on Proposed Regulations for Nuclear Power Plants Transitioning to Decommissioning
03/03/2022 NRC Press Release (22-010): NRC Seeks Public Comment on Proposed Rule for Decommissioning Nuclear Power Plants
11/03/2021 NRC Press Release (21-043): NRC Approves Proposed Rule on Regulatory Improvements for Nuclear Power Plants Transitioning to Decommissioning
11/03/2021 Staff Requirements (SECY-18-0055): Proposed Rule: Regulatory Improvements for Production and Utilization Facilities Transitioning to Decommissioning (RIN 3150-AJ59)
11/03/2021 Commission Voting Record (SECY-18-0055): Proposed Rule: Regulatory Improvements for Production and Utilization Facilities Transitioning to Decommissioning (RIN 3150-AJ59)
05/07/2018 For Commission Review (SECY-18-0055): Proposed Rule: Regulatory Improvements for Production and Utilization Facilities Transitioning to Decommissioning (RIN 3150-AJ59)
02/07/2018 Federal Register Notice [NRC-2015-0070]: Regulatory Improvements for Power Reactors Transitioning to Decommissioning – Regulatory Analysis; Availability
11/27/2017 NRC Press Release (17-047): NRC Issues Regulatory Basis for New Decommissioning Regulations
11/27/2017 Federal Register Notice [NRC-2015-0070]: Regulatory Improvements for Power Reactors Transitioning to Decommissioning – Regulatory Basis
11/20/2017 Regulatory Improvements for Power Reactors Transitioning to Decommissioning – Regulatory Basis Document
05/09/2017 Federal Register Notice [NRC-2015-0070]: Regulatory Improvements for Power Reactors Transitioning to Decommissioning – Preliminary Draft Regulatory Analysis; Request for Comment
03/15/2017 Federal Register Notice [NRC-2015-0070]: Regulatory Improvements for Power Reactors Transitioning to Decommissioning – Draft Regulatory Basis; Request for Comment
12/28/2015 Federal Register Notice [NRC-2015-0070]: Regulatory Improvements for Power Reactors Transitioning to Decommissioning – Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking; Extension of Comment Period
11/19/2015 Federal Register Notice [NRC-2015-0070]: Regulatory Improvements for Power Reactors Transitioning to Decommissioning – Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking; Request for Comment

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Page Last Reviewed/Updated Thursday, October 06, 2022