S512, the Nuclear Energy Innovation and Modernization Act (42 U.S.C. 2215; Public Law 115-439) reforming NRC processes to better adapt to Advanced Nuclear, was signed into law on January 14, 2019 with bi-partisan co-sponsors and overwhelming support (voice votes only) in both the House and Senate.
Summary: The Nuclear Energy Innovation and Modernization Act directs the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to modify the licensing process for commercial advanced nuclear reactor facilities. In addition, the bill amends the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990 to revise how the NRC preserves budgeted funds for conducting and accelerating license reviews of commercial advanced nuclear reactor facilities.
The NRC must implement a licensing process that is designed to be predictable and efficient while conforming to existing NRC regulatory guidelines. The Department of Energy (DOE) must provide cost sharing grants to license applicants for the purpose of funding a portion of the NRC review fees. The NRC must also develop a new technology-inclusive, regulatory framework by the end of 2024 that encourages greater technological innovation for the advanced nuclear reactor program.
The NRC must publish necessary revisions to the guidance on the baseline examination schedule and any subsequent examinations for baffle-former bolts in pressurized water reactors with down-flow configurations.
The NRC may issue licenses for utilization facilities that are used in conducting research and development activities related to nuclear energy. The NRC must report to Congress on the status of the licensing process for accident tolerant fuel.
The NRC must: (1) report to Congress on the safety and feasibility of extending the duration of uranium recovery licenses from 10 to 20 years, and (2) complete a voluntary pilot program to determine the feasibility of establishing a flat fee structure for routine licensing matters relating to uranium recovery.
DOE must issue a long-term federal excess uranium inventory management plan at least every 10 years that details the management of DOE excess uranium inventories.
Read more about S. 512, Nuclear Energy Innovation Modernization Act.