The NRC issued a draft letter to holders of licensees (other than operating power reactor licensees) to possess Category 1 or 2 quantities of radioactive material (RAM) as defined in Appendix A to 10 CFR Part 37. The letter contains guidance on the NRC’s expedited review process for requests for temporary exemptions from certain requirements contained in 10 CFR Part 37, Physical Protection of Category 1 and Category 2 Quantities of Radioactive Material, during the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency (PHE), and will be discussed at a public meeting on May 5.

The NRC issued a letter to the National Organization of Test, Research, and Training Reactors on April 30 regarding the NRC’s expedited review of requests for regulatory relief from certain material control and accounting (MC&A) requirements during the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency (PHE). Specifically, the letter covers (1) extensions of time to submit material status reports required by 10 CFR 74.13(a); and (2) exemptions from the recordkeeping requirements of 10 CFR 74.19(c).

The NRC Staff hosted a public meeting via teleconference on April 30 to discuss regulatory relief from emergency preparedness (EP) requirements during the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency (PHE). The Staff noted that because of the PHE, there may be instances in which licensees are unable to comply with certain EP requirements found in 10 CFR § 50.47 and Appendix E to 10 CFR 50, including required training and drills, as well as public information campaigns. As a result, the Staff has determined that regulatory relief might be appropriate to ensure health and safety among licensees’ employees, as well as public health and safety in the event of a radiological emergency.

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Staff hosted a public meeting via teleconference on April 29 to discuss available regulatory relief pathways from fire protection requirements during the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency (PHE). The meeting focused on relief from three specific requirements of concern to the commercial nuclear reactor industry: (1) annual physicals for fire brigade members, (2) quarterly fire brigade drills, and (3) annual live firefighting training.

The NRC issued temporary Staff guidance intended to help Staff review and process requests for regulatory relief from fuel facilities on April 21. Although intended for NRC Staff, the guidance provides insights into the process licensees should follow when submitting requests for relief and the information they should anticipate including.

Importantly, the guidance states that licensees should notify the NRC as soon as they “anticipate that they will be unable to comply with a regulatory requirement or license condition.” The Staff will consider requests for relief on a case-by-case basis, and if the licensee meets the requirements for an exemption, the Staff will issue a written determination for a specific period.

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) issued a letter on April 27 to the Nuclear Energy Institute and the National Organization of Test, Research, and Training Reactors, and others, clarifying and expanding the guidance on respiratory protection requirements that it previously provided to stakeholders during an April 15 teleconference (on which we reported). Specifically, the NRC discussed ways in which licensees can request regulatory relief from requirements associated with medical evaluations and “fit testing” during the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency (PHE).

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Staff hosted a public meeting via teleconference on April 23 to discuss available regulatory relief pathways for materials licensees subject to 10 CFR Parts 30 and 34 during the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency (PHE). The Staff’s presentation appears here. Much like they did during their April 22 meeting on regulatory relief for medical licensees, the Staff discussed their April 7 letter outlining the regulatory options for materials licensees to seek regulatory relief and their April 10 memorandum providing guidance to regional directors regarding the processing of exemption requests. In so doing, the Staff articulated the expected contents of an exemption request:

  • The license number and/or docket number associated with the request
  • The regulations, license conditions, and/or license commitments from which the licensee is requesting an exemption
  • A description of why relief is necessary as a result of the COVID-19 PHE
  • A description of which areas and activities are shut down or have limited access and which are fully operational
  • A description of compensatory measures to ensure that licensed material will be used and stored safely during the period of the requested relief
  • The number of days during which regulatory relief will be necessary

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Staff hosted a public meeting via teleconference on April 22 to discuss available regulatory relief pathways for medical licensees during the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency (PHE).

During its presentation, the Staff referenced an April 7 letter (on which we reported) outlining options for materials licensees to seek regulatory relief during the PHE. Among other things, the letter addressed exemptions to regulations and license conditions, as well as emergency regulatory relief.

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Staff issued SECY-20-0034 on April 22, informing the NRC Commissioners of the Staff’s plan to exercise enforcement discretion for licensee noncompliance with regulatory requirements resulting from illnesses or other factors caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency (PHE). The Staff’s approach applies to all classes of licensees and provides long-awaited guidance on the subject of enforcement discretion.

Read our Health Law Scan blog addressing a process identified by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Office of Nuclear Materials Safety and Safeguards (NMSS) to review medical licensees’ requests for temporary exemptions from certain NRC regulations, as well as guidance on regulations NMSS has evaluated and deemed appropriate for temporary exemptions, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.