NRC Issues Construction Permit to Northwest Medical Isotopes LLC

On May 9, 2017, NRC announced that agency staff has issued a construction permit to Northwest Medical Isotopes LLC (NWMI) for a molybdenum-99 production facility in Columbia, Missouri.  The permit is for a site at the Discovery Ridge Research Park.


The Commissioners authorized the Director of the NRC’s Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation to issue the permit following a hearing on the application on January 23, 2018.  The Commission found the staff’s review of the application sufficient to make the necessary regulatory safety and environmental findings.

NWMI submitted its application for permission to build the facility in two parts on February 5, 2015 and July 20, 2015.  It will produce molybdenum-99, which later generates the technicium-99m that is used in one of the most common nuclear medicine procedures in the United States.


The NRC’s Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards (ACRS) independently reviewed aspects of the application that concerned safety, as well as the staff’s safety evaluation report.  The committee provided the results of its review to the Commission in November 2017.

The staff completed its environmental review and issued the final environmental impact statement for the proposed facility in May 2017.

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

NRC Announces Senior Management Selections

On May 3, 2018, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) announced the following senior management selections in the Office of New Reactors (NRO), the Office Nuclear Regulatory Research (RES), the Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation (NRR) and the Office of Commission Appellate Adjudication (OCAA):

  •   Office of New Reactors:  Frederick Brown will become Director of NRO, effective immediately.  Brown, whose permanent position was Deputy Executive Director for Materials, Waste, Research, State, Tribal, Compliance, Administration, and Human Capital Programs, has been serving as the NRO Acting Director.  He joined the NRC in 1994, working in Region III, having served in both resident and senior resident inspector positions.  After joining the Senior Executive Service (SES), Brown held positions in NRO and NRR, including Director of the Division of Inspection and Regional Support. He worked in Region II as the Deputy Regional Administrator for Construction and has worked in various SES positions in the Office of the Executive Director for Operations and the Office of the Chief Information Officer.  Before joining the NRC, Brown worked as an engineer, supervisor, and manager at California’s Mare Island Naval Shipyard.  He holds a Bachelor of Science degree, with a double major from the United States Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, New York.
  •   Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research:  Effective July 3, 2018, Raymond Furstenau will become Director of RES, following the retirement of Mike Weber.  Furstenau will transition to the NRC later this month from his current SES position at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), where he serves as Associate Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary and Central Technical Authority of the Office of Nuclear Energy.  He has previously served as the Chief of Nuclear Safety for the Under Secretary of Energy.  Prior to his senior leadership positions at DOE, Furstenau worked in various roles at the DOE Idaho Operations Office for more than 25 years, providing federal oversight of nuclear energy and national security research programs and safety oversight of nuclear facility operations at the Idaho National Laboratory.  He also served in the military on active duty as an officer in the Army Finance Corps and in the Army Reserve.  Furstenau holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Science and Engineering from the U.S. Military Academy and a Master of Science degree in Nuclear Science and Engineering from Idaho State University.
  •   Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation:  Ho Nieh will become Director of NRR in August.  Nieh, a member of the SES, will return to the NRC this summer from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, where he serves as the Director of the Division of Nuclear Safety Technology and Regulation at the Nuclear Energy Agency.  He began his NRC career in 1997 as an engineer in Region I, joining the agency after serving in various engineering positions at the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory.  At the NRC, Nieh worked as a resident and senior resident inspector before joining the newly created Office of Nuclear Security and Incident Response in 2003.  He has also served in various management positions in NRR, including as Director of the Division of Inspection and Regional Support, as well as Director of the Division of Reactor Projects.  Additionally, Nieh was assigned to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Department of Nuclear Safety and Security.  He also served as Chief of Staff to NRC Commissioner Bill Ostendorff.  He graduated from the U.S. Naval Nuclear Power School and holds a Bachelor of Engineering in Marine Engineering from the State University of New York Maritime College and a Master of Business Administration from Johns Hopkins University.
  •   Office of Commission Appellate Adjudication:  Effective June 24, 2018, Catherine Scott will become Director of OCAA.  She most recently served in the Office of the General Counsel (OGC) in the position of Assistant General Counsel for Operating Reactors from 2016 to the present and for Materials Litigation and Enforcement from 2008 to 2016.  She was appointed to the Committee to Review Generic Requirements in 2017.  Scott also served as a legal assistant to NRC Commissioner Peter Lyons from 2005 to 2008.  In 2001, she was assigned a detail position to the Committee on Energy and Commerce in the U.S. House of Representatives.  Scott began her career as an attorney in the Reactor Programs division in OGC.  She is a graduate of Boston University and Suffolk University Law School.

For additional information, please contact the NRC Office of Public Affairs at (301) 415-8200.

NRC Requests Planned Licensing Action Submittals for All Power Reactor Licensees

In late calendar year 2015, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) issued Regulatory Issue Summary (RIS) 2015-16 to ask licensees to provide information regarding the licensing actions they plan to submit to the NRC for review over the next 3 calendar years, and power uprate applications they plan to submit to the NRC for review over the next 5 calendar years. The NRC plans to continue to request this information of licensees on an annual basis. Submittal of the requested information is strictly voluntary. No specific action or written response is required.

During the budget development process, the NRC allocates resources based on an assumed number of licensing actions of certain types (e.g., license amendments, exemptions, relief requests) that will be submitted for that particular fiscal year. To the degree that these assumptions do not correlate to incoming requests, the agency’s budget estimates can be significantly incorrect in total resources, specific skill sets, or both. This ultimately impedes the NRC’s ability to process licensing actions on a timely basis and can cause a significant delay in processing licensing actions when the required resources are not available. Specifically, licensing actions include requests for license amendments, renewals, and transfers; requests for exemptions; relief requests from in-service inspection and testing requirements; program reviews; review of topical reports submitted on a plant-specific basis; and, power uprate requests.

To more accurately forecast the resources needed to complete the requested licensing actions, the NRC is asking that all power reactor licensees voluntarily provide information regarding the number of licensing actions they plan to submit for NRC review for the next 3 calendar years, and any planned power uprates they plan to submit in the next 5 calendar years. The responses to NRC’s request are not binding and can be updated, as needed. The NRC plans to continue to request this information of licensees on an annual basis. This information will enable the agency to better meet its performance and timeliness goals under the agency’s strategic plan.

To adequately capture the resource impact of the various licensing action reviews, the NRC is requesting that licensees provide information such as a brief title and description of each of their planned licensing action submittals, an indication of whether the review would be first-of-a-kind or an update, an estimate of when the request would be submitted to the NRC, and the estimated requested completion date. Licensees would also assist the NRC by indicating if the licensing action is routine or if it is outage-related. Based on the information received, the NRC will determine the complexity of the review and the technical skill set needed to perform the review, and develop preliminary review schedules. The NRC will use this information in planning for future workload and as the basis for allocating future technical resources.

The NRC encourages continued communication between licensees and site-specific NRC project managers with regard to plant licensing actions and schedules for submittal of licensing actions. According to NRC, RIS 2015-16 is not intended to replace the communications that take place between licensees and project managers regarding current and planned licensing actions. Indeed, NRC states that the continued communication will play a large role in improving project planning by the agency. However, NRC believes that the information provided in response to RIS 2015-16 will help the agency improve project planning and resource allocation throughout the entire budget cycle.

For additional information, please contact Tracy Orf of the NRC’s Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation at (301) 415-2788 or at