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Federal nuclear watchdog says licensing advanced power plants will get ‘expensive’ via Washington Examiner


The new designs the agency is working on certifying, and ultimately licensing, represent the future of the industry amid growing concerns about the premature retirement of the existing nuclear fleet’s reactors and the need for smaller, lower cost nuclear energy designs to replace them.

The commission’s work on the new nuclear power plant designs is facing a limited budget. It is not clear if Congress has a plan to assist that process as the NRC has seen its budget shrink in recent years to bring it in line with its oversight of a smaller nuclear power fleet and a limited number of new plants being built. Most of the NRC’s budget comes from fees being collected from the licensees, with a smaller amount coming from congressional appropriations.

Congress has given the agency $5 million for it to coordinate with the Energy Department, private companies, and federal laboratories on the development of the new reactor designs.

“If this ‘off the fee base’ funding is spent and no additional ‘off fee base’ funds are appropriated, the NRC would have to recover advanced reactor activity costs through fees, which would result in additional bills to licensees and applicants,” a NRC spokesman said.



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