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The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) wants your input on its advanced reactor rulemaking activities on a rolling basis, so it announced that it will periodically place “preliminary proposed rule language” on the federal rulemaking website under Docket ID NRC-2019-0062.

The Department of Labor’s (DOL’s) Administrative Review Board (ARB) recently announced it is updating its electronic filing system (EFS) at 8:30 am EST on December 7, 2020. Beginning December 7, all parties who wish to file electronically must use EFS to file documents electronically with the ARB. The current electronic filing system (EFSR) will shut down permanently at 5:00 PM EST on December 3, 2020. This means that parties will not be able to file documents electronically with the ARB after 5:00 pm EST on December 3 until 8:30 am EST on December 7.

It is important to note that EFS is strictly a “filing” system. Thus, parties using EFS will remain responsible for serving notices of appeal and all other filings on other parties to the case. Additionally, parties will still have the option of filing documents with the ARB in paper form by regular mail. Use of EFS is not mandatory at this time.

Under the assumption that the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency (PHE) will continue into 2021, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Staff hosted a public meeting via teleconference on October 15 to discuss future requests for relief from regulatory requirements. The meeting focused generally on exemption requests the NRC received in 2020 and, more specifically, the information licensees should provide when submitting future requests for relief.

The NRC Staff released specific guidance to operating and decommissioning reactor licensees on requesting exemptions from fire protection requirements during the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency (PHE) on May 14. The guidance supplements the NRC’s April 29 teleconference, during which it contemplated such regulatory relief pathways. Morgan Lewis reported on the teleconference earlier this month.

The NRC Staff released specific guidance to all licensees on how to request exemptions from emergency preparedness (EP) biennial exercise requirements on May 14. The guidance supplements the NRC’s April 30 teleconference, during which it acknowledged that there may be instances in which licensees are unable to comply with certain EP requirements, including required training and drills, during the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency (PHE). As a result, the Staff 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 NRC on April 30 published a notice of its intent to conduct scoping and gather information necessary to develop a Generic Environmental Impact Statement (GEIS) for small-scale advanced nuclear reactors (ANRs). The proposed GEIS will “streamline the environmental review process for future small-scale advanced nuclear reactor environmental reviews.” The NRC foresees small-scale ANR applicants incorporating the GEIS by reference and including additional site-specific information in a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) to streamline the NRC review process required under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

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 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 Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Executive Director for Operations recently issued SECY-20-0032, requesting the Commission’s approval of a seven-year rulemaking plan for a “Risk-Informed, Technology-Inclusive Regulatory Framework for Advanced Reactors.” Congress required the rulemaking as part of the Nuclear Energy Innovation and Modernization Act (NEIMA), which became law earlier this year.

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).