North American Member News April 2023


30 April 2023


Eileen Supko

NRC Strategic Programmatic Overview of the Fuel Facilities and the Spent Fuel Storage and Transportation Business Lines

On April 20, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) staff presented a programmatic overview to NRC Commissioners regarding U.S. fuel facilities and the spent fuel storage and transportation business lines at NRC.

NRC noted that the Fuel Facilities business line continues to see growth related to new fuel fabrication facilities, enrichment for advanced reactors, and accident-tolerant fuels of higher enrichment for existing reactors. Significant ongoing fuel cycle facility related activities include:

  • TRISO-X HALEU fuel fabrication facility
  • American Centrifuge – HALEU production
  • NUREG-2212, Standard Review Plan for licensees with Greater-than a Critical Mass of uranium (GTCM)
  • GNF-A – amendment for use of enriched uranium up to 8% U-235
  • GNF-Natrium fuel fabrication facility for HALEU fuel
  • Framatome amendment to use enriched uranium above 5% U-235
  • Sensor Concepts – license renewal of a special nuclear material license for GTCM for research and development of radiation detection instrumentation.
  • Westinghouse – transfer of ownership
  • LES – facility expansion including centrifuge assembly

In the Spent fuel storage and transportation area, NRC completed 63 licensing actions in 2022. A total of 64 licensing actions are expected in the first have of 2023. NRC staff noted that it projects an increase in U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) review requests of foreign approved package designs or re-validations, packaging applications to support advanced fuels, or ATF, and dry cask storage amendments to support decommissioning facilities.

There were also questions from the NRC Commissioners regarding Project Pele, a U.S. Department of Defense project to demonstrate a micro reactor. The project would involve transport of the fueled reactor which would be a first-of-a-kind application to the NRC.  NRC’s initial focus will be on risk-informing then licensing process. The application for the reactor is not expected until 2024, but NRC is having pre-application meetings with DOD and BWXT the reactor vendor. Links are provided

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