NRC Proposes Changes to Annual Nuclear Fees Regulations

NRC proposes changes to annual nuclear fees regulations

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is asking the public to weigh in on proposed changes to its regulations for licensing, inspection, special project and annual fees it would charge for fiscal year 2016.

Changes include the NRC slightly lowering the current hourly rate of staff review time from $268 to $266. As a result of this change, NRC would revise application and registration fees. The second major proposed change is that the NRC would establish a fee structure to recover the agency’s costs in responding to significant requests for information, records, or NRC employee testimony related to lawsuits where the NRC is not a named party, known as “Touhy requests.” The proposed rule would assess fees on requests that require over 50 NRC staff hours.

The proposed rule, which includes fees required by law to recover approximately 90 percent of the agency’s budget, was published in the Federal Register. The NRC’s estimated required fee recovery amount, after billing and collection adjustments, is $883.9 million. Approximately 37 percent of the fees, or $325.8 million, would recover the cost of specific services to identifiable applicants and licensees under 10 CFR Part 170. The remaining 63 percent, or $558.1 million, would be billed as annual fees under 10 CFR Part 171. Fees proposed for FY 2016 would decrease for operating reactors, fuel facilities, research and test reactors, spent fuel storage/reactor decommissioning licensees, some materials users, and DOE transportation activities. Fees would increase for most uranium recovery licensees.

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