Comment period extended for advanced reactor rulemaking language

December 15, 2021, 9:30AMNuclear News

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has extended, for the second time, the public comment period regarding preliminary language for a proposed rule setting out a risk-informed, technology-inclusive framework for the licensing and regulation of advanced reactors, according to a notice in the December 10 Federal Register.

The NRC announced its request for comments on November 6, 2020, giving a deadline of November 5, 2021. On November 8, however, the NRC reopened the comment period, providing a revised deadline of January 31, 2022. With this latest extension, public input is now due by August 31, 2022.

Comments can be submitted through the federal rulemaking website, at www.regulations.gov, with a search for Docket ID NRC-2019-0062, or via email to Rulemaking.Comments@nrc.gov.

Context: The Nuclear Energy Innovation and Modernization Act, or NEIMA, signed into law by President Trump in January 2019, tasked the NRC with establishing a regulatory infrastructure for the development and commercialization of advanced reactors by 2027.

In its initial request for comments, the NRC said that the proposed rule will aim to do the following:

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

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