NRC report updates decommissioning cost guidance

February 8, 2021, 9:12AMRadwaste Solutions

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has updated its guidance for nuclear power plant owners and operators in estimating the cost of decommissioning their reactors. Licensed power reactor operators are required under NRC regulations to annually adjust the estimated costs (in current year dollars) of decommissioning their plants to ensure that adequate funds are available when needed.

NUREG-1307, Revision 18, Report on Waste Burial Charges: Changes in Decommissioning Waste Disposal Costs at Low-Level Waste Burial Facilities, issued on February 3, explains the formula acceptable to the NRC for determining the minimum decommissioning fund requirements for nuclear power reactor licensees. Specifically, NUREG-1307 provides the adjustment factor and updates the values for the labor, energy, and waste burial escalation factors of the minimum formula.

The updates: NUREG-1307 is revised periodically, with the most recent previous revision being issued in February 2019. According to the NRC, due to modest changes in low-level waste burial charges at the nation’s four low-level waste disposal facilities, licensees using this latest revision are likely to calculate, on average, minimum decommissioning costs that are similar to or slightly lower than those reported by licensees in 2019.

NUREG-1307 provides current, as of July 2020, waste burial/disposition costs at the compact-affiliated disposal facilities located in Andrews County, Texas, Barnwell, S.C., and Richland, Wash., along with the non-compact disposal facility in Clive, Utah.

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