NRC Moves on NEI Proposal for Used Fuel Rulemaking
NEI hails step forward on risk-informing dry storage regs
June 25, 2014—In a development welcomed by the nuclear industry, NRC staff is recommending that the agency consider in rulemaking the Nuclear Energy Institute’s 2012 petition to risk-inform used fuel cask storage regulations.
A June 19 memorandum from the agency staff to NRC Executive Director for Operations Mark Satorius states, “The recommendation to consider this petition in the rulemaking process supports strategic goals proposed in NRC’s 2014-2018 Strategic Plan. The issues in the petition considered for rulemaking could make the regulations for spent fuel dry cask storage more efficient.”
NEI’s October 2012 petition (PRM-72-7) called for changes to 10 CFR Part 72 regulations. Industry proposed standardizing requirements for dry storage license information at a more appropriate level of detail, thereby giving licensees and certificate of compliance holders more control of information and eliminating unnecessary regulatory review of non-safety-related information.
NEI also asked the NRC to make regulatory requirements more consistent between general dry storage facility (Subpart K) license holders and holders of certificates of compliance for dry storage casks (Subpart L) by extending backfit protection to certificate holders.
Rodney McCullum, NEI’s director for used fuel programs, said NEI requested the changes to reconcile the regulation with lessons learned from more than 25 years of experience with dry storage technology.
The changes seek to apply risk management insights in line with agency initiatives, such as the task force report headed by Commissioner George Apostolakis, and with industry initiatives to lessen regulatory burden, as outlined in NEI’s April 2013 proposals to the NRC.
“The NRC staff’s recommendation to move forward with rulemaking based on our petition is very positive news for the industry,” McCullum said. “We urge the NRC to move forward expeditiously with ensuring the used fuel storage regulations are risk-informed, performance-based and cost-justified, and we look forward to working with the staff through the rulemaking process.”