New Reactors: NRC Plans, Process, and Progress David B. Matthews Director Division of New Reactor Licensing February 28, 2008
2 Overview of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
3 NRC Mission NRCs primary mission is to protect the public health and safety, and the environment from the effects of radiation from nuclear reactors, materials, and waste facilities. We also regulate these nuclear materials and facilities to promote the common defense and security.
4 NRC Organization Five member Commission led by the Chairman Commissioners serve 5-year terms Approximately 4000 employees and an annual budget approaching $1billion (FY08)90% paid by user fees Headquarters in Rockville, Maryland Four regional offices: –Philadelphia, Pennsylvania –Atlanta, Georgia –Chicago, Illinois –Arlington, Texas
5 NRC Regulates: Over 100 commercial nuclear power plants that provide about 20 percent of the nations electricity Over 45 fuel facilities involved in the extraction, processing, and fabrication of uranium into reactor fuel Approximately 5,000 large and small users of nuclear material for industrial, medical, or academic purposes Low-level and high-level waste facilities, interim storage of spent nuclear fuel, containers used in the transportation of radioactive fuel, and decommissioning of nuclear facilities
6 Completion Times for the Current Fleet Avg = 5.6 yrsAvg = 11.1 yrs
7 Part 50 Licensing Process Design effort proceeded throughout process No backfit protection with a CP Regulatory standards evolved as construction proceeded Construction Permit Application Construction Permit Operating License Application Operating License Construction Begins Operation Begins
8 New Construction Nuclear plants will be built more rapidly than their predecessors Detailed engineering essentially complete by start of construction Modular construction techniques will be used Fabrication of components may begin before COL issuance Components and modules will be fabricated in other countries Site preparation work will likely be performed
9 New Reactor Licensing – The Regulators Perspective Maintain safety of licensed plants Predictable licensing process Meaningful public participation Enhanced safety for future plants Independent and credible regulator
10 NRO Mission The Office of New Reactors serves the public interest by enabling the safe, secure, and environmentally responsible use of nuclear power in meeting the nation's future energy needs.
11 Outline of Presentation Energy Policy Act of 2005 Brief tutorial on Part 52 Early Site Permits Design Certifications Combined License Applications Design Centered Review Approach Regulatory Infrastructure Conclusions
12 Energy Policy Act of 2005 Authorizes federal risk insurance for the next 6 nuclear plants for delays associated with NRC reviews ($500 M for first 2 plants, $250 M for next 4 plants) Nuclear energy production tax credits for the first 6,000 megawatts of electricity from new reactors Authorizes $3 billion in nuclear research and development to support NGNP and NP2010 EPAct, Section 1703, Loan Guarantees –Assists in reducing loan interest rates and allows greater debt-to-equity ratios –Provides guarantees for up to 80 percent of project cost with term not to exceed 30 years
13 Part 52 Licensing Processes Licensing Processes: –Early Site Permit (ESP) –Design Certification (DC) –Combined License (COL) Provide a predictable licensing process Resolve safety and environmental issues before authorizing construction Provide for timely & meaningful public participation Encourage standardization of nuclear plant designs Reduce financial risk to nuclear plant licensees
14 Part 52 - Fitting the Pieces Together Licensing decisions finalized before major construction begins Inspections w/ITAAC to verify construction Limited work may be authorized before COL issuance Pre-Construction Construction Verification Early Site Permit Standard Design Certification Combined License Review, Hearing, and Decision Verification of Regulations with ITAAC Reactor Operation Decision Optional Pre-Application Review
15 Early Site Permits Allows Early Resolution of Siting Issues and Banking of a Site for 10 – 20 Years Review Areas Include: –Site safety –Environmental impact –Emergency preparedness
16 Design Certifications Allows an applicant to obtain preapproval of a standard nuclear plant design Reduces licensing uncertainty by resolving design issues Facilitates standardization Higher degree of regulatory finality with design certification
17 Design Certifications, Cont. Essentially complete design Final design information Site design parameters Interface requirements Inspections, Tests, Analyses, and Acceptance Criteria (ITAAC)
18 Combined License Applications Combined construction permit and operating license for a nuclear power plant May reference an early site permit, a standard design certification, both, or neither Objective is to resolve all safety & environmental issues before authorizing construction Prior to fuel load, must verify the facility has been constructed in accordance with the license The combined license process in Part 52 is fundamental for reducing regulatory risk for companies building nuclear power plants
19 Rulemaking DC Review COL -3 COL -4 One Decision – Multiple Applications COL -2 Mandatory Hearing COL -1 Reference Mandatory Hearing Mandatory Hearing Mandatory Hearing
20 Infrastructure – Changes to NRC Regulations 10 CFR Part 52 Rulemaking –Published as final rule in the Federal Register (72 FR 49351) on August 28, 2007. Rule became effective September 27, 2007. Limited Work Authorizations for Nuclear Power Plants –Published as final rule in Federal Register (72 FR 57415) on October 9, 2007. Rule became effective on November 8, 2007. Aircraft Impact Assessment –Commission directed staff to prepare (April 2007) –The proposed rule was published in the Federal Register for a 75-day comment period on October 3, 2007. Staff is evaluating comments.
21 Conclusions NRC is preparing for an exceptionally high level of new reactor licensing activity NRC will accomplish its mission to ensure adequate protection of public health and safety and the environment for new reactors licensed under 10 CFR Part 52 NRC will review applications in a timely manner Applicants applications standardized around the design-centered approach are essential