Extending the Deadline on Decommissioning Comments

Dave McIntyre
Public Affairs Officer

The NRC is extending the public comment period on our decommissioning rulemaking from the original date of January 4 to March 18 to allow more time for members of the public to develop and submit their comments on this important issue. The extension more than doubles the comment period from 45 to 120 days.

We published an “advance notice of proposed rulemaking,” or ANPR in regulatory lingo, in the Federal Register on November 19. This was the first step toward developing a regulatory basis for a new rule on decommissioning commercial nuclear power plants.

The new rule would establish clear requirements for decommissioning reactors in emergency preparedness, physical security and fitness-for-duty, among other areas, thereby reducing the need for exemptions from current requirements designed for operating reactors. It would also address the timeliness of decommissioning and the role of state and local governments and other organizations. The result would be a more efficient, open and reliable decommissioning process.

Five reactors have permanently shut down since the beginning of 2013, and three more are expected to cease operations by 2019.

Comments may be submitted over the federal government’s rulemaking website, www.regulations.gov, using Docket ID NRC-2015-0070.

It’s Mole Day for the Whole Day at the NRC

6946377219_6486264c6f_zChemistry fans often refer to Oct. 23 as “Mole Day,” since the numbers 10 and 23 are part of a basic constant in chemistry, the mole. This unit describes how many atoms exist in a given sample of any substance, so scientists use moles to simplify lots of calculations. For example, when an average nuclear reactor first starts up its core has about 120,000 kilograms of uranium in its fuel. A mole of uranium weighs about 238 grams, so a brand-new core has about 504,000 moles of uranium. A plant scientist or NRC specialist would base some core calculations on a more exact definition of moles in the core.