NRC seeks comments on language for proposed advanced reactor rulemaking

November 10, 2020, 6:58AMNuclear News

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is requesting public input on preliminary language for a proposed rule that would set out a risk-informed, technology-inclusive framework for the licensing and regulation of advanced nuclear reactors, according to a notice published in the November 6 Federal Register.

The Nuclear Energy Innovation and Modernization Act, or NEIMA, signed into law in January 2019, tasked the agency with developing a regulatory infrastructure for the development and commercialization of advanced reactors.

The proposed rule: This new approach, the NRC said, would do the following:

■ Continue to provide reasonable assurance of adequate protection of public health and safety and the common defense and security.

■ Promote regulatory stability, predictability, and clarity.

■ Reduce requests for exemptions from the current requirements in 10 CFR Parts 50 and 52. (The new rule would become 10 CFR Part 53.)

■ Establish new requirements to address non-light-water reactor technologies.

■ Recognize technological advancements in reactor design.

■ Credit the response of advanced nuclear reactors to postulated accidents, including slower transient response times and relatively small and slow release of fission products.

Comments: The NRC will periodically make portions of preliminary proposed language available on the federal rulemaking website, under Docket ID NRC-2019-0062. Comments, which are due by November 5, 2021, should include a reference to the docket number.

“The public will be provided with opportunities to comment on the preliminary proposed rule language before or during public meetings and on a rolling basis throughout the 12-month public comment period,” the notice states. “The NRC plans to hold public meetings every four to six weeks over the next 12 months. The meetings will be noticed in the NRC’s public meeting notice system at least 10 days in advance of the scheduled meeting. The NRC will post new and revised updates to the preliminary proposed rule language periodically on the federal rulemaking website at that may be of interest to stakeholders.”

The agency added, however, that it will not issue a Federal Register notice each time preliminary proposed rule language is added to the docket. Instead, stakeholders can monitor the docket on To receive alerts when changes or additions are made, stakeholders should (1) navigate to the docket folder, (2) click on the “sign up for email alerts” link, and (3) enter their email address and select how often they would like to receive alerts—daily, weekly, or monthly.

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