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Up & Atom

The US Department of Energy (DOE) and US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) recently published a joint addendum to their memorandum of understanding (MOU) on the shared roles and responsibilities of each agency to develop the DOE Advanced Reactor Demonstration (ARD) program. The goal of the ARD program is to “focus DOE and non-federal resources on actual construction of real demonstration reactors.” Morgan Lewis previously reported on the ARD program in February.

The MOU states that the DOE “seeks to engage the NRC on the development of the front-end solicitation aspects of the project.” This will involve technical and regulatory consultation with the NRC to ensure the program is compliant with NRC requirements, and that projects will be prepared for the licensing process.

The MOU also delineates specific areas for collaboration between the DOE and the NRC. For the DOE, these include, among others:

  • NRC review of specific sections of the DOE’s funding opportunity announcement (FOA)
  • Coordinating with the NRC for scheduling procurement activities
  • Coordinating specific portions of applications with the NRC for technical input
  • Notifying NRC of awards and awardees

For the NRC, these include primarily providing technical input into the following areas before the DOE releases the FOA:

  • Potential advanced reactor licensing pathways
  • Expectations for applicant pre-application activities
  • Feasibility of advanced reactor licensing timing and schedules
  • Providing agency-specific perspectives on export control of technologies
  • Providing input on FOA-requested information, where appropriate

After the DOE issues the FOA and selects recipients, the NRC will provide licensing and other technical input to the DOE. It will also keep the DOE updated on pre-application interactions with vendors and the licensing process.

The MOU states that both agencies will “participate in regular interagency status review meetings,” and will establish “an appropriate Interagency Agreement” if resources exceed the NRC’s existing authority.

Morgan Lewis will continue to report on any updates to the ARD program.