NRC Must Speed Up and Get Fees Down

PRESIDENT'S CORNER

By Norris McDonald

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is aiming to accelerate the licensing of non-Light Water Reactors by prioritizing wider technology expertise and issuing new design.  NRC aims to be able to review and regulate non-LWR reactors by 2025 and later this spring it will publish its final Implementation Action plans (IAPs), setting out priority measures to expedite the review of non-LWR reactors.

2025 is too long.  Why can't the NRC get this done by 2018 or 2019?  This sort of slow pace represents a culture at NRC that is not appropriately motivated to get new nuclear plant technologies into the marketplace.

A number of SMR and advanced reactor developers are expected to enter the design licence process in the coming years. The NRC is already capable of reviewing LWR designs and the regulator is now implementing a range of initiatives to expedite the review of ‘advanced’ or ‘non-LWR’ designs.

  Timeline for Advanced Reactor Deployment.   Source: US Department of Energy's 'Vision and Strategy for the Development and Deployment of Advanced Reactors' (2017)

Timeline for Advanced Reactor Deployment. Source: US Department of Energy's 'Vision and Strategy for the Development and Deployment of Advanced Reactors' (2017)