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America’s NRC changing nuclear fee structure to help Small Nuclear reactors: Shillenberger delighted

 NRC Sets Variable Fees for Small, Modular Nuclear Reactors    , Bloomberg,   By Rebecca Kern May 23 — The annual fee structure for small, modular nuclear reactors will vary depending on how much heat a reactor generates, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said in a final rule…….

text shillNuScale Power LLC is expected to be the first company in the U.S. to submit a small modular reactor design application to the NRC by the end of the year, with project commercialization by 2024. NuScale’s reactor modules would each generate 50 megawatts (95 ECR, 5/17/16).

The NRC is implementing a variable annual fee schedule for these reactors including a minimum fee, a variable fee and a maximum fee based on the reactor’s cumulative licensed thermal power rating, which is the total heat output for all modules at a nuclear power plant. …..

Safety Concerns from Environmentalists

The Union of Concerned Scientists, a nonprofit organization focused on scientific research of environmental issues, opposes different fees for small modular reactors because the safety risk of these reactors is still unclear, it said.

“It’s not clear that the relative risk of SMRs and the effort needed to license and regulate them is proportional to the power rating,” Ed Lyman, a senior scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists, told Bloomberg BNA May 23. He said this is especially true “since SMR applicants are requesting exemptions that require significant technical analysis, such as reducing emergency planning zone size and weakening security requirements.”

Also, Lyman disagreed with the statement that the SMRs would require less regulatory oversight. “NRC inspections of a multi-module SMR bundled unit may be more complex and entail more labor than inspections of a single large reactor with the same power rating,” he said.

Similarly, Tim Judson, executive director of the Nuclear Information Resources Service, said he thinks that reduced fees for SMRs would ultimately impact NRC safety inspections.

“Smaller reactors means there would be several times more reactors requiring inspections and oversight for the same amount of power. Basing the fees on the generation capacity seems like it’s likely to starve the agency of resources to do its job,” he told Bloomberg BNA May 23.

TVA Submits Early Site Permit for SMR

The Tennessee Valley Authority submitted an early site permit application for the potential to construct and operate multiple small modular reactor units at its Clinch River site near Oak Ridge, Tenn. TVA is the first in the nuclear industry to submit any such application related to SMR technology to the NRC, TVA said in a May 13statement.

The utility, which currently operates three nuclear plants in the South, has not decided what company it would purchase the SMR technology from, a TVA spokeswman told Bloomberg BNA May 23.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rebecca Kern in Washington

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Pearl

May 25, 2016 - Posted by | politics, technology, USA

1 Comment »

  1. Great article. I’m going through many of these issues as well..

    Comment by Stefanie | May 28, 2016 | Reply

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