The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is amending its regulations for the licensing, inspection, special projects, and annual fees that it will charge applicants and licensees for fiscal year 2020. The FY 2020 final fee rule, published in the June 19 Federal Register, includes fees required by law to recover approximately 90 percent of the NRC’s annual budget authority. A proposed rule was published for public comment on February 18 of this year, with a March 19 due date. The final rule goes into effect on August 18.
The numbers: For FY 2020, the required fee recovery amount, after accounting for fee-recovery exclusions, fee-relief activities, and net billing adjustments, is $728.1 million, according to an agency press release. Of that total, approximately $220.2 million will be recovered through fees for services, and about $507.9 million recovered through annual fees.
Compared to FY 2019, the FY 2020 annual fees are dropping for fuel facilities, research and test reactors, operating power reactors, the Department of Energy Uranium Mill Tailings Radiation Control Act Program, DOE transportation activities, and materials licensees. Those fees are increasing, however, for spent fuel storage/reactor decommissioning. Annual fees remain unchanged for the non-DOE uranium recovery licensee.
The FY 2020 final rule includes other changes affecting licensees and applicants as well. First, the agency has increased its hourly rate from $278 in FY 2019 to $279 for FY 2020. Second, its flat rate license application fees have been revised to reflect the new hourly rate.
Nota bene: Earlier this year, to help mitigate the financial impacts and economic disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the commission decided to defer the billing of annual fees and fees for services for 90 days—from April through June 2020. This includes all annual fees that would have come due during the 90-day period and fees for services that would have been billed in April for services rendered from January through March 2020. These deferred fees will be billed in July 2020.