NRC Finalizes Guidance for Subsequent License Renewals

On July 11, 2017, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) published guidance documents for both submitting and reviewing applications to renew operating licenses of plants that have already renewed their licenses, a process referred to as subsequent license renewal.

Overview  The newly released guidance documents include the Generic Aging Lessons Learned for Subsequent License Renewal Report and the Standard Review Plan for Review of Subsequent License Renewal Applications for Nuclear Power Plants.  The aging lessons learned report outlines an acceptable approach for applicants to demonstrate adequate management of plant aging effects.  The standard review plan guides the NRC staff on performing safety reviews of these applications.

Next Steps  The NRC staff plans to publish two more documents before the end of 2017.  These additional documents lay out the technical bases for changes to the guidance documents and the staff’s response to public comments received during the public comment period.

Background  The NRC developed these guidance documents over several years in preparation for reviewing subsequent license renewal applications.  NRC staff held more than 25 public meetings to gather stakeholders’ perspectives.  The guidance documents also include significant input from the License Renewal Subcommittee of the Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards (ACRS), as well as from the full committee.

Guidance documents are available at the Guidance for License Renewal and Subsequent License Renewal page on the NRC website.

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

New Reactor Licenses to be Issued for South Texas Project

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has cleared the way for the agency’s Office of New Reactors to issue two Combined Licenses (COL) for Nuclear Innovation North America’s (NINA) South Texas Project site in Texas. Based on the mandatory hearing on NINA’s application, the Commission found the staff’s review adequate to make the necessary regulatory safety and environmental findings.

Following the Commissioners’ direction, the NRC staff will work to issue the COLs promptly. The licenses will authorize NINA to build and operate two Advanced Boiling Water Reactors (ABWR) at the site near Bay City, Texas. The South Texas Project Nuclear Operating Company already operates two reactors at the site.

The staff will impose several conditions on the license, including:

  •  specific actions associated with the agency’s post-Fukushima requirements for Mitigation Strategies and Spent Fuel Pool Instrumentation;
  • requiring monitoring and analysis of the reactors’ steam dryers during initial plant startup, in line with current procedures for existing boiling-water reactors approved to operate at increased power levels; and,
  • setting a pre-startup schedule for post-Fukushima aspects of the new reactor’s emergency preparedness plans and procedures. 

NINA submitted its application for the licenses on September 20, 2007. 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 (FSER). 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.

  • The ACRS provided the results of its review to the Commission on February 19, 2015. The NRC completed its environmental review and issued the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the proposed South Texas Project reactors in February 2011. The NRC completed and issued the FSER on September 29, 2015. The NRC certified the 1,300-megawatt ABWR design in 1997.

Additional information on the certification process is available on the NRC web site at For additional information, please contact Scott Burnell of the NRC at (301) 415-8200.