How the NRC is Funded: Following the Money
July 3, 2012
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The NRC recently amended its regulations to reflect the fees we will charge for FY 2012. This may seem like an odd thing – a federal agency collecting fees for its services. But the NRC is required, by law, to recover about 90 percent of our budget authority directly from the industry that we regulate. This means the American taxpayer only foots the bill for 10 percent of the agency’s budget.
The NRC received a bit more than $1 billion for FY 2012, so the amount we will recover in fees by Sept. 30 is approximately $909.5 million. We collect those fees and send the money back to the U.S. Treasury.
We have two types of fees. One is for specific NRC services, such as licensing and inspection, which apply to a specific license; these make up about 40 percent of the total fees we recover. The other 60 percent comes from an annual fee for generic regulatory expenses and other costs not recovered through fees for specific services.
The recently published final fee rule has a few changes over the FY2011 fee rule. We increased our hourly rate very slightly from $273 to $274, and revised the flat license application fees to reflect the new hourly rate. Also, the FY 2012 annual fees increased for some licenses due to the increased direct budgeted resources for operating reactors, most material users, fuel facilities and transportation. However, the annual fees decreased for research and test reactors, spent fuel storage facilities and most uranium recovery licenses.
The NRC works hard to be efficient and effective and to keep the fees to the industry as low as possible so that we are only requesting from Congress the funding necessary to perform our vital mission.
Fee Policy Analyst