It’s that time of the year, when we ask the public for their comments about proposed changes to our fees.
The NRC is required by law to recover approximately 90 percent of our budget through fees. Each year, the NRC publishes a proposed regulation establishing fees for the upcoming year to recoup the costs of regulatory services performed by the NRC.
There are two types of fees the NRC charges. One is an hourly rate and flat application fees, and the other is an annual fee. Both types of fees recover the costs of regulating the commercial use of radioactive materials. Hourly fees recover the costs of providing specific services to individual licensees (or potential licensees) such as reviewing applications and performing inspections. Annual fees recover all costs associated with regulatory activities that benefit all licensees.
For fiscal year 2013, the NRC’s estimated budget is about $1 billion. Based on this amount, the NRC must recover about $925 million through fees by Sept. 30. In our regulations, approximately 40 percent of the fees will be billed for licensee-specific services and the remaining 60 percent will be billed as annual fees.
The proposed fee rule includes several changes. First, we are proposing to change the current hourly rate from $274 to $277. Secondly, we would revise the flat license application fees (found in our federal guidelines 10 CFR Parts 170.21 and 170.31) to reflect the new hourly rate.
And, finally, we propose to revise the annual fees to recover the costs of providing regulatory services that benefit all classes of licensees. The annual fees would increase for spent fuel storage facilities, research and test reactors, fuel facilities, most material users and uranium recovery facilities licenses and would decrease for operating reactors and U.S. Department of Energy transportation licenses.
We will continue to keep our fees as low as possible by ensuring our programs are conducted efficiently and effectively, and requesting from Congress only resources necessary to perform our mission.