Nuclear Energy Institute
NEI Urges NRC to Make Decommissioning Process More Efficient

June 16, 2017

NEI has urged the NRC to continue its work on making the process for decommissioning a nuclear power plant more efficient and transparent.

"NEI strongly urges the agency to continue on a path of completing a rulemaking to improve the efficiency of the transition from operations to decommissioning as expeditiously as possible," NEI said in a letter sent to the NRC in response to a notice in the Federal Register asking for comment.

While the process for decontaminating and dismantling a reactor is proven, the transition from operating status to decommissioning is not as efficient as it should be. When a nuclear reactor is shut down it does not automatically transition to a new regulatory status as a decommissioned reactor. Instead, it continues to be regulated according to its operating license until license exemptions and amendments can be approved which adds to the administrative burden on industry and the regulator.

The situation has resulted in an unpredictable, time-sensitive workload for the NRC and industry. Currently, nuclear plant owners must submit eight to 12 requests for license exemptions, and amendments take 12 to 18 months to complete, resulting in millions of dollars in unnecessary expenditures. A decommissioning rulemaking, if done correctly, would reduce or eliminate the need for license exemptions and amendments and make the decommissioning process more timely and efficient without compromising safety.

"We continue to encourage the NRC to utilize the proposal we submitted in response to the Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in developing the final [decommissioning] rule language," NEI said. "In the meantime, it continues to be important that NRC staff remain committed to the timely review of exemptions and license amendments that are necessary until this rulemaking can be completed."  

For more information:

Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI)

1776 I St NW
Washington, District of Columbia
United States, 20006-3708
Tel: 202-739-8000

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