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Environment

NRC Floats New Nuke Retirement Rules

by Jessica Morrison
November 30, 2015 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 93, ISSUE 47

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is working on new rules that aim to speed up the decommissioning of nuclear power reactors and reduce costs. In an upcoming proposal, NRC hopes to reduce the need for exemptions and amendments often sought by licensees during decommissioning. No nuclear power plants permanently shut down between 1998 and 2013, but since then, five plants have shut down and are transitioning to decommissioning. Currently nuclear power plant operators may file for exemptions from certain emergency planning or security requirements during decommissioning. “NRC’s goals in amending these regulations would be to provide an efficient decommissioning process, reduce the need for exemptions from existing regulations, and support the principles of good regulation, including openness, clarity, and reliability,” the agency says. NRC is seeking public comment on its plan through Jan. 4, 2016, and it has scheduled a public meeting to discuss the rule-making process on Dec. 9 at its Rockville, Md., headquarters.

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