NRC proposes GEIS revision for renewing reactor licenses

January 24, 2023, 12:01PMNuclear News

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced on January 24 that it has directed staff to publish a proposed rule that includes an update to the license renewal generic environmental impact statement (GEIS), which is used by the agency when considering applications to renew operating reactor licenses.

The proposed rule, to appear in the Federal Register in the near future, is a response to an NRC order that concluded the license renewal GEIS did not analyze the environmental impacts of a subsequent license renewal term (from 60 to 80 years of operation).

What it amends: The proposed rule amends the relevant rule language to account for initial license renewal and one term of subsequent license renewal, redefines the number and scope of the environmental issues that must be addressed during the review of each application for license renewal, and updates related guidance to fully address subsequent renewal.

What it covers: The license renewal GEIS covers environmental topics relevant to all nuclear power plant licensees seeking renewed licenses. The revised document accounts for new or revised environmental impacts and applies what the NRC has learned during previous license renewals. The revised document also clarifies which specific environmental issues are resolved generically by the license renewal GEIS and which require site-specific review.

Public meetings: Following publication of the proposed rule, the NRC will hold public meetings to gather comments before finalizing the rule and license renewal GEIS for NRC consideration.

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