NRC Issues New Reactor License for North Anna Site

On May 31, 2017, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) announced that the agency had authorized the issuance of a Combined License for Dominion Virginia Power’s North Anna site in Virginia.  The license grants Dominion permission to build and operate an Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor (ESBW) design at the site, which is located near Mineral, Virginia.

Overview  The Commission authorized the agency’s Office of New Reactors to issue the license following a hearing on March 23, 2017.  In so doing, the Commission found the staff’s review of Dominion’s application to be adequate to make the necessary regulatory safety and environmental findings.  NRC issued the license in early June 2017.

The license contains certain specified conditions including:

  • specific actions associated with the agency’s post-Fukushima requirements for Mitigation Strategies and Spent Fuel Pool Instrumentation; and,
  • a pre-startup schedule for post-Fukushima aspects of the new reactor’s emergency 
preparedness plans and procedures.

Background  On November 26, 2007, Dominion submitted the North Anna application to NRC for an ESBWR adjacent to the company’s two existing reactors.  The NRC certified the 1,600-megawatt ESBWR design following a Commission vote in September 2014.

The NRC’s Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards (ACRS) independently reviewed aspects of the application that concern safety, as well as the staff’s final safety evaluation report.  On November 15, 2016, the committee provided the results of its review to the Commission.  In February 2010, the NRC completed its environmental review and published the final impact statement for the proposed reactor.

For additional information, please contact of the NRC at (301) 415-8200.  Additional information on the ESBWR certification process is available on the NRC website at www.nrc.gov

NRC Seeks to Fill Open Reactor Safeguards Advisory Committee Position

On November 28, 2016, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) announced that the agency is seeking a qualified candidate for appointment to its Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards (ACRS).

The ACRS is an advisory group that provides independent technical review of, and advice on, matters related to the safety of existing and proposed nuclear facilities, as well as on the adequacy of proposed reactor safety standards.  It also advises the Commission on issues in health physics and radiation protection.

Overview

The ACRS’s primary focus is on safety issues associated with the operation of 99 U.S. commercial nuclear power plants and regulatory initiatives including risk-informed and performance-based regulations, license renewal, power uprates, new reactor applications and the use of mixed oxide and high burn up fuels.  In addition, the ACRS may be asked to provide advice on radiation protection, radioactive waste management and earth sciences in the agency’s licensing reviews for fuel fabrication, enrichment and waste disposal facilities.

Qualifications

The Commission is seeking an individual with extensive experience in nuclear power plant probabilistic risk assessment and risk management.  The best-qualified candidates will have at least 20 years of specific experience in those areas, as well as considerable broad experience and a distinguished record of achievement in one or more areas of nuclear science and technology or a related engineering discipline.

Applications

Interested individuals should find candidate criteria and details in the corresponding Federal Register notice published on November 28, 2016.  The notice is available on the NRC website.  Resumes will be accepted until December 30, 2016.  Resumes may be submitted via

  •   mail to Jamila Perry and Alesha Ballinger, ACRS, Mail Stop T2E-26, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001; or,
  •   e-mail to Jamila.Perry@nrc.gov and Alesha.Bellinger@nrc.gov.

For additional information on the ACRS go the NRC website at www.nrc.gov or contact Maureen Conley of the NRC at (301) 415-8200.

Four New Members Named to Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards

In late June 2016, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) announced that the agency has appointed four new members to the Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards (ACRS) for four-year terms effective June 12, 2016.

  • The ACRS—which is comprised of a group of experienced technical experts—advises the Commission, independently from the NRC staff, on safety issues related to the licensing and operation of nuclear power plants, as well as issues of health physics and radiation protection.

The new ACRS members include:

  •   Margaret Sze-Tai Chu: 
 Chu is a consultant to international and domestic clients on nuclear waste management, nuclear fuel cycle analysis, nonproliferation technologies and nuclear materials management.  She has more than 30 years of experience working on issues related to the nuclear fuel cycle, with an emphasis on risk assessment and performance assessment as applied to nuclear waste management.  Chu was Director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management from 2002 to 2005.  Before that, she had a long career with Sandia National Laboratory that included directing the lab’s Nuclear Waste Management Center and acting as Senior Manager of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) program at Sandia. 
Chu holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from Purdue University and a Doctorate in Physical Chemistry from the University of Minnesota.  She serves on the DOE Nuclear Energy Advisory Committee and the National Academies’ Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board.  Chu is the second woman to serve on the ACRS, and this marks the first time two women have served on the committee simultaneously.

 

  •   Walter Kirchner:  Kirchner retired in June 2015 from the Argonne National Laboratory.  While at Argonne, he served as an Institutional Liaison Manager following, analyzing, and advising Argonne’s leaders on science and technology policy and programmatic developments in the DOE, other federal agencies and Congress.  He began his career as a Reactor Operator/Engineering Officer on the N.S. Savannah before joining the staff at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL).  During his 29 years at LANL, he held division and group leader line management positions in construction project management, defense programs, nuclear reactor design and safety projects, and applied energy research and development activities.  Kirchner’s technical expertise is in nuclear reactor design, thermal-hydraulics and nuclear reactor safety.  He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Marine Engineering from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

 

  •   Jose March-Leuba:  March-Leuba is the Principal of MRU, which specializes on measurements, regulatory and uncertainty analysis, and an Associate Professor in the Nuclear Engineering Department of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.  He began his career at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where he did research into noise analysis and dynamic modeling, as well as running tests to determine the stability of commercial boiling water reactors.  He also developed and installed instrumentation in Russian facilities to monitor the down-blending of highly enriched uranium.  During his 37-year career as a Nuclear Engineer, March-Leuba developed expertise in reactor thermal hydraulics and dynamics, reactor instrumentation and control and protection systems, software development and testing, and instrumentation development for international safeguards.  March-Leuba has a Master of Science in Industrial Engineering from the Universidad Politécnica de Valencia in Spain, as well as an M.S. and Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

 

  •   Matthew Sunseri:  Sunseri is an Independent Nuclear Industry Consultant with more than 35 years of experience in the safe operation of large commercial reactors.  Prior to starting his own executive consulting practice, he was President and Chief Executive Officer of Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Corporation.  Sunseri has a wide range of experience in the operation, maintenance, engineering, oversight and security of the nation’s commercial nuclear power fleet.  He started his career as a Nuclear Engineer assigned to the construction, licensing, startup and operation of the Comanche Peak nuclear power plant.  Sunseri earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Nuclear Engineering from Texas A&M University and is a graduate of the Advanced General Management Program at Northwestern University and the Directors Institute at Emory University.

All member biographies are available on the NRC web site at www.nrc.gov.

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

Construction Permit to be Issued for SHINE Medical Isotope Facility

On February 25, 2016, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced that the agency has authorized its staff to issue a construction permit for a first-of-a-kind facility dedicated to medical isotope production.

The Commission, having completed a mandatory hearing, found the staff’s review of the SHINE Medical Technologies, Inc. application sufficient to make the necessary safety and environmental findings.  This will be the first construction permit issued for either a non-power utilization or production facility by the NRC since 1985.

Overview

Once issued, the construction permit will allow SHINE to build a facility for the production of molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) and other radioisotopes.  Mo-99 is used in medicine to create technetium- 99m—an isotope used in millions of diagnostic procedures annually in the United States.

The facility will be located in Janesville, Wisconsin—approximately 40 miles southeast of Madison.  The United States has not commercially produced Mo-99 since 1989.  The facility will support U.S. Government efforts to establish a reliable domestic supply of this isotope.

Background

SHINE submitted its construction permit application in two parts on March 26, 2013 and May 31, 2013.  The NRC staff’s construction permit review process included the examination of the preliminary design and environmental impacts of the SHINE facility.

The Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards (ACRS) conducted an independent review of SHINE’s preliminary safety analysis report and the staff’s safety evaluation.  The ACRS, a group of experienced technical experts, advises the Commission—independently from the NRC staff—on safety issues related to the licensing and operation of nuclear power plants, as well as on issues of health physics and radiation protection.

On October 15, 2015, the ACRS recommended that the Commission issue the SHINE construction permit.

Next Steps

SHINE must submit a separate operating license application for NRC approval before it can operate the facility.

The operating license application will consist of a final safety analysis report including SHINE’s final facility design, plans for operation, emergency plan, physical security plan, and technical specifications.

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