Up & Atom

The NRC’s Acting Executive Director for Operations recently issued the results from the NRC staff’s annual Reactor Oversight Process (ROP) self-assessment for calendar year 2023. Out of the 17 metrics it evaluated, the NRC staff found that two did not meet or exceed expected performance, resulting in “yellow” findings. This is an overall improvement from the 2022 self-assessment, which had two “yellow” and two “red” findings due, in part, to continuing challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic. Overall, the staff concluded that the “ROP remained effective in achieving its goals of being objective, risk-informed, understandable, and predictable, as well as in supporting the agency’s strategic goals.”
Leaders from 34 countries met in Brussels, Belgium on March 21 for the first Nuclear Energy Summit. The purpose of the summit was to provide participating governments the opportunity to share their vision and plans for using nuclear power to achieve net-zero emissions and promote sustainable development.
The US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) program published for public comment a draft protocol for reassessing the noncancer health effects of natural and depleted uranium via oral ingestion on February 14, 2024. The reassessment will examine whether newly available literature review or scientific analysis data could be considered for updating current hazards or whether there are additional health hazards related to uranium exposure.
The Commissioners of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) conducted a biennial joint meeting on January 25, 2024. The biennial meetings allow the Commissioners to hear presentations from industry experts, learn about the challenges facing the energy industry, and determine how the commissions can assist each other based on their respective regulatory authorities.
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.
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).
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 US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) published an order in the Federal Register on August 14, 2023 suspending the general license to export special nuclear material, source material, and deuterium for nuclear end use to China. Under the NRC’s order, which is effective immediately, any person wishing to export special nuclear material, source material, or deuterium to China must apply for, and receive, a specific license before they can make the export.