NRC seeks comments on new fee schedule for FY 2024

February 22, 2024, 3:00PMNuclear News

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is asking for feedback on proposed changes to the annual, licensing, inspection, and special projects fees for fiscal year 2024.

The proposed fee rule, published February 20 in the Federal Register, is based on the FY 2024 Congressional Budget Justification as a full-year appropriation, but it has not yet been enacted. The final rule will be based on the NRC’s actual appropriation, and the agency will update the final fee schedule as appropriate.

Detailed instructions on how to submit written comments are found on the Federal Register website, and comments will be accepted through March 21.

Why the changes? Under the Nuclear Energy Innovation and Modernization Act (NEIMA), enacted in January 2019, the NRC is required to recover nearly its full budget beginning with FY 2024—which for the federal government runs from October 2023 through September 2024.

The bipartisan bill aims to make the NRC’s fee collection more transparent and predictable. It caps NRC fees (adjusted for inflation) for existing reactors and requires the NRC to improve the efficiency of uranium recovering licensing.

It also directs the NRC to establish advanced reactor licensing framework by 2027, a move lauded by many nuclear supporters who want to see more urgency in bringing next-generation nuclear plants on line. Under the bill, the NRC must establish performance metrics and report to Congress to improve transparency and streamline its decision-making process.

By the numbers: After accounting for the exclusions from the fee recovery requirement and net billing adjustments, the NRC must generate approximately $825.7 million in fees in FY 2024, according to an agency news release.

The NRC’s proposed FY 2024 budget is approximately $1.01 billion. The agency is looking to use $27.1 million in carryover funds, which leaves it responsible for recovering $979.2 million in fees. This amount is an increase of $52.1 million from FY 2023.

Of this amount, the NRC estimates that the following:

Other changes are listed below:

  • Compared with FY 2023, the proposed annual fees would decrease for the operating power reactors fee class. This fee does not exceed the cap established by NEIMA legislation.
  • Proposed annual fees would increase for fuel facilities, spent fuel storage/reactor decommissioning activities, nonpower production or utilization facilities, transportation activities for the U.S. Department of Energy, the non-DOE uranium recovery licensee, the Uranium Mill Tailings Radiation Control Act Program, and all materials users fee categories.
  • Licensees and applicants would face a higher hourly rate for services—increased from $300 to $321—and license application fees would be adjusted accordingly.
  • The NRC’s payment methods would be amended to align with the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s “no-cash no-check” policy to remove paper forms of payment and provide that payments be made electronically using the methods accepted at

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