Comment on “Draft for the NRC’s Rulemaking on, Risk-Informed, Technology-Inclusive Regulatory Framework for Advanced Reactors”
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is developing a new licensing framework for the deployment of advanced nuclear reactors, the next generation in nuclear energy technology, as required by the Nuclear Energy Innovation and Modernization Act (NEIMA) passed by Congress and signed into law in 2019.
Troublingly, the draft licensing framework from the NRC is undermining the future of advanced nuclear technology. While safety is of paramount concern, saddling the fledgling advanced nuclear industry with unnecessary safety and licensing criteria well beyond what is required for previous generations of nuclear technology is burdensome and counterproductive.
Following the release of the draft regulation by the NRC, the Breakthrough Institute submitted a comment to recommend specific adjustments that will help the commission meet their criteria, while recognizing advanced nuclear technologies are much safer than previous generations of nuclear technology. While the existing rules in place for the previous generations of nuclear reactors have assured the safe operation of that technology in the United States for decades, advanced nuclear reactors are, by design, both safer and simpler to operate and should merit appropriate new considerations in light of these benefits to foster commercial deployment.