NRC extends public comment period on decommissioning rule

May 19, 2022, 7:01AMRadwaste Solutions

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has extended the deadline for comments on its new decommissioning rulemaking until August 30. The proposed rule, which would amend NRC regulations pertaining to nuclear facilities transitioning to decommissioning, was first published in the Federal Register on March 3 with deadline for comments of May 17.

The NRC said it issued the extension to allow more time for members of the public to submit their comments. As of the original deadline date, 227 comments from the public (including duplicates) had been submitted to the federal government’s rulemaking website. Thanks to the extension, interested parties have more than three additional months to submit comments—done by visiting and searching for Docket ID NRC-2015-0070.

Notice of the 105-day extension was published in the May 17 Federal Register.

The rule: Approved by the NRC in November 2021, the proposed rule would incorporate lessons learned from plants that have recently transitioned to decontamination and decommissioning and would improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the regulatory framework.

The rulemaking is intended to take into account the reduced radiological risks associated with power reactors that have been permanently shut down and defueled. Current regulations make little distinction between an operating reactor and one that has been shut down and defueled, requiring licensees to seek exemptions and license amendments on a case-by-case basis as they transition to decommissioning. According to the NRC, the proposed rule would implement specific regulatory requirements for different phases of the decommissioning process, consistent with the reduced risk.

The proposed rule and related documents are available on the NRC website.

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