Up & Atom

The NRC commissioners unanimously approved on January 23, 2023 the publication of a proposed rule to update the NRC’s environmental regulations in Part 51 and issue a draft update to the NRC’s Generic Environmental Impact Statement for License Renewal of Nuclear Plants (the GEIS) to encompass both initial and subsequent license renewal (SLR). This rulemaking, when complete, will resolve the dispute about whether 10 CFR 51.53(c)(3) and the GEIS apply to SLR, and will allow the environmental review of pending SLR applications that rely on the GEIS to resume. The proposed rule will soon be published in the Federal Register to allow for public comments on the proposed rule and draft GEIS.
The Commission recently approved the NRC Staff’s recommendation to pursue a 24-month schedule for updating the agency’s Generic Environmental Impact Statement for License Renewal of Nuclear Plants (LR GEIS). The Commission’s decision signifies an ambitious push forward to make the LR GEIS applicable to subsequent license renewal (SLR) applications.

As we have previously discussed, in August 2020, the NRC issued a notice in the Federal Register (85 FR 47252) announcing its intent to review and potentially update the Generic Environmental Impact Statement for License Renewal of Nuclear Plants (LR GEIS) (NUREG-1437). (The most recent revision was in 2013.) The notice indicated the results of the NRC's preliminary review of the existing GEIS and identified several environmental issues for possible revision and update, and invited public comments and proposals for areas that should be updated. The scoping process consisted of a 90-day public comment period and four public webinar meetings held in August 2020. Approximately 60 members of the public, industry, and federal and state agencies participated in the four webinars. The government recently published a Scoping Summary Report that summarizes the comments received during the public scoping period and the NRC’s response.

The NRC recently published an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR) seeking public comments on possible amendments to its National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations on categorical exclusions. Comments are due by July 21, 2021.