Tuesday, November 7, 2023

OIG-24-A-01 Inspector General’s Assessment of NRC for FY 2024

Dear Decommissioning Trust Fund Trackers,

Nothing Burger from OIG - see chapter on Decommissioning pasted below.

OIG-24-A-01 Inspector General’s Assessment of the Most Serious Management and Performance Challenges Facing the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission in Fiscal Year 2024
Document Type:Report, Technical
Document Date:11/03/2023

Challenge 2: Overseeing the Decommissioning Process and
the Management of Decommissioning Trust Funds

The increased numbers of power reactor sites in
decommissioning, and of those opting for
accelerated decommissioning, add to demands on
decommissioning program resources for all
decommissioning licensing and oversight
activities, including the NRC’s independent
analyses of licensees’ decommissioning funding
status reports.

There are 25 power reactors currently undergoing decommissioning. The
licensees for these reactors and other nuclear reactors must provide reasonable
assurance that funds will be available for the entire decommissioning process.
To oversee licensees’ decommissioning funding, the NRC requires licensees to
provide a decommissioning financial status report biennially, and annually for
five years prior to permanent cessation of operations. Prior to or within 2
years after permanent cessation of operations, licensees are required to submit
a Post Shut-Down Decommissioning Activities Report that includes a
description and schedule for the planned decommissioning activities and a
site-specific cost estimate. Licensees in decommissioning must then annually
submit decommissioning funding status reports.
The NRC has identified technical resource needs for the program in inspection,
risk analysis, licensing review, and project management. Local communities
may have additional concerns about the accelerated decommissioning model,
entailing augmented opportunities for public interactions.
Key decommissioning challenges include:
• Ensuring that agency processes adequately address current reactor
decommissioning business models, including those that provide for
accelerated decommissioning activities;
• Managing oversight of the adequacy and use of decommissioning trust
funds maintained by both operating and decommissioning reactors;
• Maintaining reasonable assurance that operating reactors will have
sufficient funds to decommission safely;
• Overseeing accelerated schedules for decommissioning; and,
• Improving decommissioning guidance.

The NRC is performing licensing
reviews and oversight for 25 power
reactors currently in various stages of
decommissioning. This includes the
review of two license termination
plans. The agency anticipates
submission of four additional license
termination plans in the next year.
As of July 2023, the NRC is reviewing
the Decommissioning Funding Status
(DFS) reports that were due from
decommissioning licensees on March
31, 2023. Following the previous
biennial review, NRC staff reported to
the Commission in December 2021,
that all licensees were in compliance
with funding requirements.
The NRC is going through rulemaking
to clarify when an exemption is
necessary for using the
decommissioning trust funds. The
rulemaking’s estimated completion
date is in the first quarter of FY 2025.
A Regulatory Guide, RG 1.184, is
planned to follow the rulemaking to
provide further guidance for NRC
staff and licensees.
The NRC supported licensing and
oversight for decommissioning
programs with guidance updates and
public outreach activities, including
the issuance of NUREG-1757,
“Consolidated Decommissioning
Guidance,” Vol. 2.
The NRC participated in a
Congressional field hearing near the
Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station site,
and conducted two Post-Shutdown
Decommissioning Activities Report
public meetings.
The NRC improved its tracking of
Decommissioning Funding Status
reports and updated LIC-205,
“Procedures for NRC’s Independent
Analysis of Decommissioning
Funding Assurance for Operating
Nuclear Power Reactors and Power
Reactors in Decommissioning,” to
clarify the roles and responsibilities
and procedures related to DFS
report review.

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