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The NRC Staff held a public meeting on December 12 at its headquarters in Rockville, Maryland, to discuss subsequent license renewal (SLR) lessons learned. This was the second such meeting this year, with a third planned for early 2020.

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss comprehensive lessons learned regarding key technical issues common to the first three SLR applications submitted to the agency for review and approval. Ultimately, the objective is to update and clarify NRC’s SLR regulatory guidance documents, capturing key lessons learned and further ensuring a review process that is both effective and efficient for future applicants. At the outset of the meeting, the NRC Staff made clear that the next planned meeting will focus on process-related improvements and lessons learned.

NRC Staff has made publicly available copies of Draft Regulatory Guide 1341, Standard Format and Content for Applications to Renew Nuclear Power Plant Operating Licenses, and a supporting Regulatory Analysis. Draft Regulatory Guide 1341 is intended to revise Regulatory Guide 1.188 (as Revision 2 thereto) to update references to other NRC license renewal guidance documents, and to expressly extend the guidance to applications for subsequent license renewal (SLR), i.e., the renewal of a reactor operating license for a second 20-year period, from 60 years to 80 years. The revised guidance document would provide applicants with a method to demonstrate compliance with the 10 CFR Part 54 requirements for both initial license renewal and SLR applications. Three SLR applications currently are under review by the NRC Staff, and others are expected to be submitted in the future.

On February 23, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) held a joint meeting to discuss “Grid Reliability, Protection of Critical Infrastructure Information, and Nuclear Power Plants.”

During the meeting, Bill Dean, Director of NRC’s Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation, gave a presentation titled “Nuclear Power Plants Operations: Outlook and Outputs.” Mr. Dean noted that the 99 commercial power reactors currently in operation in the United States produce approximately 100,000 MWe, and of those 99 reactors, 87 have been issued renewed operating licenses for an additional 20 years of operation (i.e., up to 60 years). But even with renewed licenses, currently operating plants will reach 60 years of operation as early as 2029, and without subsequent license renewal (SLR) (allowing plant operation up to 80 years), electric generation from nuclear plants will drop to nearly zero by approximately 2050.