The US Department of Energy (DOE) recently published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NOPR) and request for comments in the Federal Register proposing a comprehensive revision of the Department of Energy Acquisition Regulation (DEAR). DOE’s proposal strives to update and streamline the DEAR’s policies, procedures, provisions, and clauses. DOE invites the public to submit written comments regarding this NOPR through the Federal eRulemaking Portal by no later than December 26, 2023.
KEY TRENDS IN LAW AND POLICY REGARDING
NUCLEAR ENERGY AND MATERIALS
NUCLEAR ENERGY AND MATERIALS
The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has issued a final rule and associated regulatory guide providing an alternative avenue for small modular reactors (SMRs) and advanced reactors to satisfy emergency preparedness requirements. The long-anticipated rulemaking allows SMRs and advanced reactor license applicants to develop performance-based emergency preparedness programs instead of using the current prescriptive offsite radiological emergency planning requirements originally designed for large light-water reactors (LWRs).
Over the course of 2023, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has started to develop a regulatory framework for fusion energy systems. Significantly, and as we previously reported, NRC decided to modify the existing process for licensing the use of byproduct materials contained in 10 CFR Part 30 to regulate nuclear fusion. NRC has now issued preliminary proposed rule language for the licensing and oversight of a broad array of fusion systems currently under development.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has announced that it intends to issue, by the end of 2023, the final rule and associated regulatory guide that sets emergency preparedness requirements for new reactors. The rulemaking will allow small modular reactor (SMR) and advanced reactor license applicants to develop performance-based emergency preparedness programs as an alternative to the current offsite radiological emergency planning requirements. This rulemaking is a significant development toward providing flexibility in meeting the NRC’s emergency preparedness requirements.
The NRC has now followed up on that guidance with revisions to RG 5.83, “Cybersecurity Event Notifications (Revision 1),” to address new cybersecurity concerns, provide clarification, and align with new guidance in RG 5.71. This guidance is critical for the nuclear industry given the rapid pace at which cybersecurity threats and deterrent strategies evolve. All nuclear power reactor owners must review NRC’s latest guidance and confirm that their cybersecurity programs are in compliance.
The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has set a course to create a regulatory framework for fusion energy systems that builds on NRC’s existing nuclear materials licensing process. As we have previously reported, NRC had considered three options for regulating nuclear fusion. NRC chose to work from the existing process for licensing the use of byproduct materials contained in 10 CFR Part 30, which requires only a limited-scope rulemaking.
After 13 years, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued revised guidance for cybersecurity programs for nuclear power reactors. All nuclear power reactor owners must review the NRC’s latest guidance and confirm their cybersecurity programs are in compliance.
In a recent LawFlash, lawyers Alex Polonsky and Grant Eskelsen discuss the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) final rule imposing financial penalties for unintentional violations of 10 CFR Part 810. The rule represents a major change in how the DOE encourages and enforces compliance with Part 810.