The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will defer collecting fees and charges from its licensees due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a letter from NRC Chairman Kristine Svinicki to a bipartisan group of lawmakers. The letter states, “The commission has approved a 90-day deferral of all annual fee (10 CFR Part 171) invoices that would have been issued in the third quarter of fiscal year 2020. The NRC is taking this action to temporarily mitigate the financial impacts and economic disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The new billing date for annual fees that were scheduled to be billed in the third quarter (April, May, and June) will be July 22, 2020.”
Background: Svinicki was responding in her April 10 letter to a March 30 letter from Sens. John Barrasso (R., Wyo.) and Tom Carper (D., Del.) and Rep. Greg Walden (R., Ore.). Barrasso and Carper serve as chairman and ranking member, respectively, of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, while Walden serves as the ranking member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.
“We believe the NRC should consider deferring the fee collection for at least 90 days,” the legislators had written. “During the ongoing national emergency to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, critical industries, including electric power, are experiencing economic challenges. Many power companies have suspended electricity disconnects for nonpayment as hard-working Americans face unprecedented employment hardships. Additionally, medical facilities and industrial companies that are facing extreme financial pressure may owe fees associated with holding an NRC materials license.”
The letter also noted that the NRC’s funding is “ultimately paid by American ratepayers, who are struggling to make ends meet during the current crisis. Deferring the collection of NRC’s fees will provide critical temporary relief and improve the ability of the NRC’s licensees to manage their finances in response to this crisis.”