Decommissioning funding changes

1 October 2003

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has announced it is amending its regulations to require certain nuclear materials licensees to increase funding for financial assurance to cover decommissioning costs. The amendments only affect nuclear materials licensees, as nuclear power plants are covered by separate regulations.

According to the NRC, these changes are more in line with current decommissioning costs and provide adequate assurance that timely decommissioning is carried out.

The amount of assurance can be based on either a facility- specific decommissioning cost estimate provided by the licensee in a decommissioning funding plan or on amounts specified in the regulations. NRC estimates that this will provide additional funds of approximately $80 million.

The regulations will stipulate that all nuclear waste processor and waste collector licensees will have to provide financial assurance, there will be a limit on the funds available to large irradiator licensees and nuclear waste processors/collectors, and decommissioning cost estimates will have to be updated at least every three years.

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