Up & Atom

The NRC published a draft interim staff guidance (ISG) on June 15, 2023, reemphasizing limitations on the use of funds previously reported to the NRC as providing radiological decommissioning funding assurance (DFA).
The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) requires nuclear power reactor licensees to maintain decommissioning cost estimates and to adjust those estimates periodically to account for inflation and other matters, pursuant to Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR) 50.75, “Reporting and Recordkeeping for Decommissioning Planning.” These periodic updates must consider various factors, including: (1) increased labor costs; (2) increased energy costs; and (3) increased waste burial costs.
The NRC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) proposing a rule, “Alternatives to the Use of Credit Ratings,” that would amend its decommissioning financial assurance mechanisms in 10 CFR Part 30.
The NRC staff recently issued findings from their review of the 2021 decommissioning funding status (DFS) reports submitted by power reactor licensees and licensees of power reactors in decommissioning. These reports are required by NRC regulations to ensure that adequate funds are available for the complete decommissioning of licensed facilities. The NRC staff’s review found that all currently operating power reactors and reactors in decommissioning demonstrated that they have adequate funds for decommissioning.
The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, signed into law on December 27, includes the Energy Act of 2020 (Energy Act) and the Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2020 (Taxpayer Act), which contains tax provisions important to the energy sector.
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.”
Vermont Senators Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders along with Representative Peter Welch recently introduced the Nuclear Plant Decommissioning Act of 2020.
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.
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.
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.