The Nuclear Regulatory Commission recently revised its regulations for the licensing, inspection, special projects, and annual fees it will charge its applicants and licensees for fiscal year 2023.
The FY 2023 final fee rule was published June 15 in the Federal Register. (A proposed rule had been published for public comment on March 3.)
Fee revisions, which go into effect August 14, 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.
New numbers: The FY 2023 final fee rule reflects a total budget authority of $927.2 million, a $39.5 million increase from FY 2022. After accounting for fee-recovery exclusions and billing adjustments, the NRC must recover approximately $790.6 million in fees in FY 2023. Out of that amount, approximately $195 million will be recovered through 10 CFR Part 170 fees for services, and approximately $595.6 million through 10 CFR Part 171 annual fees.
Compared with FY 2022, annual fees are dropping for regulatory activities associated with the Department of Energy’s Uranium Mill Tailings Radiation Control Act Program, but are rising for operating power reactors, most fuel facilities, spent fuel storage/reactor decommissioning licensees, nonpower production or utilization facilities, non-DOE uranium recovery licensees, and most materials users fee categories. The FY 2023 power reactor fee, for instance, moves up from $5,165,000 to 5,492,000.
Also increasing is the agency’s hourly rate for services. The 2023 rate is $300, a 3.45 percent jump from 2022’s $290. (Last year’s increase was 0.7 percent.)