The suspense is over. The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced yesterday that it had awarded $80 million each to TerraPower and X-energy under the Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program (ARDP) for them to build two advanced nuclear reactors that can be operational within seven years.
The commissioners of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) approved almost all of the staff’s proposed approach for adding a new part to its regulations, 10 CFR Part 53, to govern licensing of advanced nuclear reactors.
Vermont Senators Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders along with Representative Peter Welch recently introduced the Nuclear Plant Decommissioning Act of 2020.
The NRC staff published Regulatory Issue Summary (RIS) 2020-02 on August 31 requesting potential advanced reactor applicants to provide information on their plans for engaging with the agency during fiscal years (FYs) 2023 through 2025. The NRC’s stated goal in the RIS is to “promote early communication between the NRC and potential applicants” that will assist the NRC in planning for “focus area reviews, acceptance reviews, licensing reviews, and inspection support” for new advanced reactors.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the US Department of the Treasury (Treasury) published a final rule in the September 4 Federal Register updating IRS regulations under Internal Revenue Code (Code) Section 468A. The final rule adopts most of the changes from the notice of proposed rulemaking (NOPR), which was released for comment in December 2016. That said, the IRS and Treasury made a few important changes to the final rule, as discussed below.
In a recent lawflash, our colleagues in the litigation and environmental practice analyze the implications of the recent DC Circuit ruling in favor of the EPA’s national priorities listing (NPL) decisions.
A federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Kentucky issued an indictment against an individual for transportation of radioactive material generated from fracking activities without compliance with US Department of Transportation hazardous materials regulations.
The White House’s Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) recently published in the Federal Register a final rule, Update to the Regulations Implementing the Procedural Provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act. The final rule is the latest in a series of actions taken by the Trump administration and the CEQ to “modernize and clarify” the CEQ’s National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) implementing regulations to “facilitate more efficient, effective, and timely NEPA reviews by Federal agencies in connection with proposals for agency action.”
To comply with the provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act, the NRC must amend its decommissioning financial assurance mechanisms in 10 CFR Part 30. The NRC promulgated these regulations in the 1980s and 1990s to allow licensees to use parent company and self-guarantee decommissioning financial assurance mechanisms. Owners and/or operators and parent company guarantors could qualify to use these guarantee mechanisms by either meeting financial test metrics or minimum guarantor bond credit rating criteria.
The NRC Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation (NRR) recently issued Revision 4 to Office Instruction LIC-203, “Procedural Guidance for Categorical Exclusions, Environmental Assessments, and Considering Environmental Issues.” The update reflects recent NRC organizational changes and internal procedures related to the agency’s environmental review activities. These changes do not impose any new obligations on NRC applicants. However, a proper understanding of the agency’s internal processes can be helpful in developing successful licensing strategies. The key changes are summarized below.