Share This

NRC Cost Estimates for Regulations Off the Mark, NEI Says

Jan. 30, 2014—The cost of implementing some NRC regulations has exceeded the agency’s estimates by as much as 19 times, NEI told the NRC.

In a Jan. 28 meeting with NRC staff, NEI said it had collected data in three areas of regulation:

  • NRC estimates for complying with fire protection regulations were six times lower than actual costs.
  • In fatigue management rules, actual costs exceeded the agency’s estimate between two and five times.
  • In regulations on reactor security, the NRC’s estimate was 19 times lower than the cost of implementation.

The three specific regulatory requirements covered in the data were:

  • Fire protection requirements in 10 CFR 50.48(c) to comply with the National Fire Protection Association standard NFPA 805.
  • Fatigue management requirements in 10 CFR 26, Subpart I.
  • Reactor security requirements in 10 CFR 73.55 for the physical protection of licensed activities in nuclear power reactors against radiological sabotage.

David Bradish, NEI’s manager for energy and economic analysis, said the industry cost data for fire protection came from five reactors; for fatigue management from three companies covering more than 20 sites; and from 12 sites for reactor security. 

NEI’s Jan. 28 case study report said the NRC could provide better cost estimates in its regulatory analyses by more clearly defining the scope of new regulatory requirements, allowing for early public input on regulatory basis assumptions, and providing a range of estimates based on multiple factors.

Adrian Heymer, NEI’s executive director of strategic programs, said that both the NRC and the industry could improve their practices on sharing cost estimates.

“If we can provide more detail up front it will help cost estimates on both sides,” Heymer said. He added that it was also important to perform periodic reviews as the project evolves and, where necessary, adjust cost-benefit determinations.