The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has published in the Federal Register a final rule amending the licensing, inspection, special projects, and annual fees it will charge applicants and licensees for fiscal year 2022. A proposed rule on the matter was published for public comment February 23.
The fee revisions, which go into effect August 22, are required by the Nuclear Energy Innovation and Modernization Act (NEIMA), the nuclear industry–backed legislation signed into law by President Trump in January 2019 (Nuclear News, Feb. 2019, p. 17). NEIMA requires the NRC to recover approximately 100 percent of its annual budget, less the budget authority for excluded activities. (Previously, the requirement was approximately 90 percent.) In addition, NEIMA established a new cap for annual fees for operating reactors and included requirements to improve the accuracy of invoice for service fees.
The revised numbers: The FY 2022 final fee rule reflects a total budget authority of $887.7 million, an increase of $43.3 million from FY 2021. After accounting for exclusions from the fee-recovery requirement and net billing adjustments, the NRC must recover approximately $752.7 million in fees in FY 2022. Of this amount, an estimated $198.8 million is to be recovered through 10 CFR Part 170 fees for services and about $553.9 million through Part 171 annual fees.
Compared with FY 2021, annual fees are decreasing for fuel facilities, spent fuel storage/reactor decommissioning activities, and for a uranium recovery facility licensee. Fees are increasing, however, for operating power reactors, non-power production or utilization facilities, the U.S. Department of Energy Uranium Mill Tailings Radiation Control Act Program, DOE transportation activities, and for 47 materials-users fee categories. The power reactor fee, for instance, moves up from $4,749,000 to $5,165,000.
Also increasing is the agency’s hourly rate for services. The FY 2022 rate is $290, a slight uptick (0.7 percent) from last year’s $288.