NRC to consider eliminating nonemergency notification requirements

August 19, 2021, 7:01AMNuclear News

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will consider in its rulemaking process issues raised in an August 2018 petition from the Nuclear Energy Institute regarding notification requirements for nonemergency events, according to a notice published in the August 12 Federal Register. The NRC docketed the petition in November 2018 and received public input on it through February 4, 2019.

The petition requested that the NRC amend 10 CFR 50.72, “Immediate Notification for Operating Nuclear Power Reactors,” by removing its nonemergency notification requirements. Currently, 50.72 requires licensees to notify the NRC one, four, or eight hours after the occurrence of a nonemergency event, depending on its nature.

In its FR notice, the NRC said that it will evaluate those requirements, assess whether they present an unnecessary reporting burden, and if they do, determine whether reporting can be reduced or eliminated if it does not have a commensurate safety benefit.

NEI’s contention: “The stated purpose of 10 CFR 50.72 is to ensure that the NRC is immediately notified and can take prompt action,” the NEI petition stated. “Almost 40 years of fleet operating experience demonstrates that the purpose of this regulation can be fully achieved without all of the current licensee reporting obligations relating to nonemergency events.”

The petition continued, “Licensees’ notifications to the NRC relating to nonemergency events are duplicated by NRC on-site resident inspectors’ communications to the NRC of such events. NRC resident inspectors are well-positioned to understand, evaluate, and take necessary actions in response to nonemergency events. Accordingly, this licensee reporting requirement has become redundant. The 10 CFR 50.72 nonemergency notifications likewise sometimes present an unnecessary distraction for the licensee and the NRC from responding to the event. Finally, elimination of these redundant notifications would reduce workload, while having no adverse impact on safety.”

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