NRC proposes technology-neutral approach for new reactor licensing

24 April 2024

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is seeking public comment on a proposed rulemaking that would streamline the environmental reviews for future new nuclear reactors by presenting generic environmental impacts for those designs that fit within certain site and plant parameters.

NRC's Maryland headquarters (Image: Michael Grizer/NRC)

The proposed Advanced Nuclear Reactor Generic Environmental Impact Statement (ANR GEIS) rulemaking, if finalised, would see new reactor licence applications supplement applicable generic environmental findings with evaluation of project-specific issues, the NRC said.

In the memorandum instructing NRC staff to issue the GEIS for public comment, dated 17 April, Secretary of the Commission Carrie Safford said the ANR GEIS must be reviewed every ten years. She also directed NRC staff, amongst other things, to remove the definition of 'advanced nuclear reactor' from the rulemaking package and related guidance documents and to revise them "to change the limited applicability of this GEIS from solely 'advanced nuclear reactors' to any new nuclear reactor application, provided the application meets the values and the assumptions of the plant parameter envelopes and the site parameter envelopes used to develop the GEIS".

Safford directed NRC staff to remove references to fusion reactors in the proposed rule, as near-term fusion systems are to be regulated under the 10 CFR Part 30 byproduct material framework.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News