NRC Proposes FY 2018 Budget to Congress

On May 23, 2017, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) released the agency’s proposed Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 as presented to Congress.  The agency is proposing an FY 2018 budget of $952 million, including the Office of the Inspector General—a request nearly $45 million lower than 2016’s spending levels.  Since the NRC recovers approximately 90 percent of its budget from licensee fees, which are sent directly to the U.S. Treasury, the resulting net appropriation request is $138 million.

Specific details of the budget include the following:

  • Requested funding for 3,284 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees, including the OIG—which represents a reduction of approximately 270 FTE from the FY 2016 level. Reductions in staffing were related to completion of work related to the Fukushima Near-Term Task Force and improved efficiency of agency operations, including reductions in procurement operations, physical and personnel security, and information technology.
  • Requested funding of $466.7 million for nuclear reactor safety, $171.1 million for nuclear materials and waste safety—which includes $30 million to support activities for the proposed Yucca Mountain deep geological repository for spent fuel and other high-level radioactive waste—and $301.4 million for corporate support.
  • Requested funding of $12.1 million for the OIG, an independent office that conducts audits and investigations to ensure the efficiency and integrity of NRC programs, and promote cost-effective management. The OIG’s budget also includes funding to provide auditing and investigation services for the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board.

The budget briefing slides and the Congressional Budget Justification are available on the NRC website.  A limited number of hard copies of the report will be available from opa.resource@nrc.gov.

For additional information, please contact Holly Harrington of the NRC at (301) 415-8200.

NRC Proposes to Amend Annual Fees Regulations

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is proposing to changes to its regulations for the licensing, inspection, special project, and annual fees it would charge applicants and licensees for fiscal year (FY) 2016.  The proposed regulations would reduce annual fees for most licensees due to a decrease in the NRC’s budget.

On March 23, 2016, NRC published the proposed rule in the Federal Register.  The proposed rule includes fees required by law to recover approximately 90 percent of the agency’s budget.

For the FY 2016 proposed fee rule, the NRC’s estimated required fee recovery amount (after billing and collection adjustments) is $883.9 million.  Approximately 37 percent of the fees, or $325.8 million, would recover the cost of specific services to identifiable applicants and licensees under 10 CFR Part 170.  The remaining 63 percent, or $558.1 million, would be billed as annual fees under 10 CFR Part 171.

Compared with the FY 2015 annual fees, the FY 2016 proposed fees would decline for operating reactors, fuel facilities, research and test reactors, spent fuel storage/reactor decommissioning licensees, some materials users, and DOE transportation activities.  Fees would increase for most uranium recovery licensees.

The proposed rule includes several possible changes from the current FY 2015 fee rule.  First, the NRC would slightly lower the current hourly rate of staff review time from $268 to $266.  As a result of this change, the NRC would revise application and registration fees.  Second, the NRC would establish a fee structure to recover the agency’s costs in responding to significant requests for information, records, or NRC employee testimony related to lawsuits where the NRC is not a named party, also known as “Touhy requests.”  The proposed rule would assess fees on requests that require over 50 NRC staff hours.

For additional information, please contact Eric Stahl of the NRC at (301) 415-8200.

NRC Proposes FY 2017 Budget to Congress

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has proposed a $970.2 million Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 budget to the U.S. Congress to regulate the nation’s nuclear power plants and radioactive materials users. The proposed budget for the Office of the Inspector General is an additional $12.1 million.

As proposed, the FY 2017 budget represents a decrease of nearly $20 million from FY 2016’s spending levels. The decreased budget proposal continues a steady decline in both spending and staffing. The agency’s budget is down eight percent since 2014.

The FY 2017 budget breakout includes $757.4 million for nuclear reactor safety and
$212.8 million for nuclear materials and waste safety and will allow the agency to continue to uphold its important safety and security mission. The budget also includes resources to continue implementation of lessons-learned from the Fukushima nuclear accident, the review of applications for medical isotope productions facilities, and the oversight of four new reactors that are under construction.

Project Aim, the NRC’s transformation effort, will ensure the agency has the right resource levels and workforce staffing to conduct its future work. The goal is to improve the NRC’s effectiveness, efficiency and agility. The FY 2017 budget incorporates some Project Aim recommendations and the Commission is considering a variety of other further potential efficiencies from the effort.

The amount requested for the Inspector General totals $12.1 million. That independent office conducts audits and investigations to ensure the efficiency and integrity of NRC programs, and promote cost-effective management. The OIG’s budget also includes funding to provide auditing and investigation services for the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board.

The budget briefing slides and the Congressional Budget Justification are available on the NRC web site at www.nrc.gov. A limited number of hard copies of the report will be available from opa.resource@nrc.gov.

For additional information, please contact Eric Stahl of the NRC at (301) 415-8200.