Under the substantial weight of industry, state, and public pressure, the NRC today published a notice in the Federal Register (85 FR 81960) announcing its withdrawal of its proposed highly controversial reinterpretation of its low-level radioactive waste disposal regulations. The NRC concluded, after consideration of comments, that the proposed changes would not benefit the overall LLW regulatory framework.
Is it science fiction to consider living on the moon or traveling to Mars in only a few months? Maybe not. The US government is promoting technologies to place nuclear reactors in space to power human existence on the moon and to propel spacecraft to Mars.
Congratulations to our colleagues in the project finance, infrastructure, and natural resources practice for being named a Law360 Project Finance Group of the Year. The Law360 article profiling the team’s accomplishments highlights the diversity and depth of the practice, as well as the fact that Morgan Lewis lawyers tend to “stickwith a project for its entire lifespan.” The article also notes that successful deals often rely on the strength of other Morgan Lewis practices such as regulatory, environmental, real estate, tax, and antitrust.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) recently issued a change notice to summarize revisions to its Enforcement Manual, which was finalized on December 1, 2020. The Enforcement Manual provides the guidelines for how NRC Staff should implement the NRC’s Enforcement Policy.
The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee voted to send S. 4897, the American Nuclear Infrastructure Act of 2020, to the Senate floor on December 2. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) sponsored the bill, with Senators Mike Crapo (R-ID), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) as bipartisan cosponsors.
The NRC Staff recently issued SECY-20-0098, which provides the Staff’s recommendation to consolidate two low-level radioactive waste (LLRW) disposal rulemakings. Specifically, the Staff supports combining the draft final rule revising 10 CFR Part 61, “Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal” (Part 61 Rule), with a proposed rulemaking to promulgate requirements for near-surface disposal of greater-than-Class C waste (GTCC Rule). The combined rule would be “based on expected cost savings, consideration of stakeholder input, and efficiencies.”
The NRC held a public meeting with industry on November 2 to discuss approaches for performing supplier oversight during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The NRC held a public meeting on November 17 to review regulatory relief currently available to medical and other materials licensees, and to identify potential additional relief that the Staff is currently considering.
In a recently issued NRC adjudicatory decision, the Commission reaffirmed its regulatory interpretation allowing power reactor licensees applying for subsequent license renewal (SLR), and the NRC Staff reviewing these applications, to rely on the NRC’s Generic Environmental Impact Statement (GEIS) for License Renewal of Nuclear Plants (GEIS). Two of the five Commissioners dissented, however, arguing this interpretation violates the NRC’s obligations under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) wants your input on its advanced reactor rulemaking activities on a rolling basis, so it announced that it will periodically place “preliminary proposed rule language” on the federal rulemaking website under Docket ID NRC-2019-0062.