NRC report updates decommissioning cost guidance

February 14, 2023, 9:58AMRadwaste Solutions

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has updated its guidance for nuclear power plant owners and operators in estimating the cost of decommissioning their reactors. Licensed power reactor operators are required under NRC regulations to annually adjust the estimated costs (in current-year dollars) of decommissioning their plants to ensure that adequate funds are available when needed.

NUREG-1307, Revision 19, Report on Waste Burial Charges: Changes in Decommissioning Waste Disposal Costs at Low-Level Waste Burial Facilities, issued on February 13, explains the formula acceptable to the NRC for determining the minimum decommissioning fund requirements for nuclear power reactor licensees. The formula is based on the estimated cost of decommissioning a reference pressurized water reactor and a reference boiling water reactor in 1986 and is escalated to current-year dollars using an adjustment factor.

The most current revision of NUREG-1307 contains burial cost escalation factors updated to the year 2022 for the reference PWR and BWR. The primary purpose of the report is to provide the technical basis, including references, for the estimated cost of reactor decommissioning and to develop the escalation factor for the LLW burial cost portion of the adjustment factor. Escalation factors for such things as labor and energy costs are also provided in the report.

The updates: NUREG-1307 is revised periodically to reflect changes in waste burial/disposition costs and to account for changes in labor and energy values. The most recent previous revision was issued in February 2021.

The report provides current (as of July 2022) waste burial/disposition costs at the compact-affiliated disposal facilities located in Andrews County, Texas; Barnwell, S.C.; and Richland, Wash., along with the noncompact disposal facility in Clive, Utah.

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