NRC Releases Results of Byproduct Material Financial Scoping Study

On April 27, 2016, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) released SECY-16-0046, Results of the Byproduct Material Financial Scoping Study.  The purpose of SECY-16-0046 is to provide the Commission with the results of the staff’s byproduct material financial scoping study and recommendations for next steps.

In SECY-16-0046, NRC staff recommends that the financial assurance requirements in 10 CFR 30.35 should be expanded to include all byproduct material Category 1 and 2 radioactive sealed sources that are tracked in the National Source Tracking System (NSTS).  In making this recommendation, staff notes as follows:

The thresholds in 10 CFR 30.35 that require financial assurance for sealed radioactive material are seven orders of magnitude higher than for unsealed material.  As a result, many licensees that possess byproduct material Radioactive Sealed Sources (RSS), including many Category 1 and 2 RSSs, are not required to provide financial assurance for decommissioning.  If financial assurance is required, it is intended to support site decommissioning, not necessarily the disposition of an individual RSS that has become disused or unwanted.  Adequacy of financial planning for disposition of disused RSSs has been raised in a number of external reports issued over the past decade.

SECY-16-0046 further states that, per recent Commission direction, the staff plans to develop a rulemaking plan SECY paper to propose initiating rulemaking, which will also include a discussion of other regulatory options.  The staff plans to provide the SECY paper to the Commission in the fourth quarter of FY 2016.

NRC also released an accompanying document titled, Financial Planning for Radioactive Byproduct Material—Scoping Report, that provides background information; reviews key reports and recommendations; analyzes technical considerations; discusses decommissioning financial assurance requirements and funding plans; considers financial assurance methods and funding mechanisms, disposition paths other than disposal, and establishing funding requirements for disposition; reviews life-cycle issues, orphan sources, timeliness in declaring and dispositioning disused sources, and tracking; considers applicability to General Licenses, compatibility with Agreement State requirements, and security considerations; provides an overview of disposal access, DOE/NNSA source recovery and disposal programs, and transportation considerations; and, so forth.

SECY-16-0046 may be found on the NRC’s web site at under Accession Number ML16068A202.  Enclosure 1 may be found on the web site under Accession Number ML16068A205.