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Up & Atom

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) issued a final rule in the Federal Register on January 15 updating the maximum amounts of civil monetary penalties it can impose. The final rule revises 10 CFR 2.205(j) to increase the maximum penalty the NRC can issue from $298,211 to $303,471 per violation, per day, an increase of 1.764%. Similarly, the final rule revises 10 CFR 13.3 to increase the amount of a civil penalty under the Program Fraud Civil Remedies Act from $11,463 to $11,665. These monetary penalty amounts go into effect immediately and can be assessed regardless of whether the violation occurred before or after January 15.

As we previously reported regarding last year’s revisions to the civil monetary amounts, the NRC is required by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990, as amended by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015, to annually adjust the amounts of the civil monetary penalties for inflation in accordance with a statutory formula set forth in the legislation. The NRC last updated the maximum amount of civil penalties in February 2019.

The NRC also provided notice of an update to the NRC Enforcement Manual to reflect these changes. The full table of new base civil penalties set forth in the NRC Enforcement Policy is reproduced below. The NRC’s practice is to round the maximum civil monetary penalty amount codified in 10 CFR 2.205(j) down to the nearest multiple of $10,000, which is why the maximum amount in the Enforcement Policy is $300,000. Last year, because the 10 CFR 2.205(j) maximum penalty was $298,211, the NRC rounded down the maximum amount in the NRC Enforcement Manual to $290,000. Therefore, the actual net increase in the per day civil penalty maximum is $10,000. The NRC also adjusted the other penalty amounts in Table 8.0 to maintain the existing proportional relationships among the penalty amounts, except that the penalty for losing, abandoning, or improper disposal of certain nuclear material remains at the estimated or actual costs of authorized disposal, and is not calculated in proportion to 10 CFR 2.205(j).

 

8.0—Table of Base Civil Penalties

Table A

a. Power reactors, gaseous diffusion uranium enrichment plants, and high-level waste repository

$300,000

b. Fuel fabricators authorized to possess Category I or II quantities of SNM and uranium conversion facilities

$150,000

c. All other fuel fabricators, including facilities under construction, authorized to possess Category III quantities of SNM, industrial processors, independent spent fuel and monitored retrievable storage installations, mills, gas centrifuge and laser uranium enrichment facilities

$75,000

d. Test reactors, contractors, waste disposal licensees, industrial radiographers, and other large material users

$30,000

e. Research reactors, academic, medical, or other small material users

$15,000

f. Loss, abandonment, or improper transfer or disposal of regulated material, regardless of the use or type of licensee:

 

1. Sources or devices with a total activity greater than 3.7 × 104 MBq (1 Curie), excluding hydrogen-3 (tritium)

$54,000

2. Other sources or devices containing the materials and quantities listed in 10 CFR 31.5(c)(13)(i)

$17,000

3. Sources and devices not otherwise described above

$7,000

g. Individuals who release safeguards information

$7,500

 

Morgan Lewis will continue to track significant NRC enforcement developments.