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NRC Partially Accepts Petition for Rulemaking Related to Annual Fee Requirements

The NRC has partially accepted a petition for rulemaking requesting that the NRC amend its annual fee regulations. The petition was submitted on February 28, 2019. Specifically, the petition requests that 10 C.F.R. Part 171 be revised to align the start of the assessment of annual fees for combined license (COL) holders with “commercial operation” of the nuclear plant. The petitioner notes that issuance of the 52.103(g) finding will occur several months prior to actual commercial operation of the plant. Thus, fees will be assessed prior to the licensee actually deriving significant revenue from the production of energy. The petitioner proposed that annual fees for COL holders be imposed at the time when the power reactor is deemed available for commercial operation under the licensee’s and/or State regulatory agency’s accounting rules. The NRC has denied the petitioner’s proposal to start the assessment of fees at the proposed time for three reasons: (1) there is no requirement for licensee’s to notify the NRC when the licensee begins commercial operation, (2) “commercial operation” is undefined in NRC regulations and (3) the Commission’s “longstanding and fundamental policy” of not aligning the start of annual fees with commercial operation or a licensee’s ability to generate revenue. Although the NRC has denied this proposal, it will still consider whether Part 171 should be amended to commence the assessment of annual fees at a time after the 52.103(g) finding is made. The NRC will consider this issue in the FY 2020 proposed fee rule.

To view the Federal Register notice, click here.