Financial Planning for Disposing of Radioactive Byproduct Material

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By AHRA Staff

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is seeking input regarding their study, which aims to determine if financial planning requirements for decommissioning and end-of-life management for radioactive byproduct material are necessary. This financial scoping study was first proposed by the NRC in 2007, but was delayed due to resource constraints. However, recent recommendations from the 2014 Radiation Source Protection and Security Task Force as well as a report from the Low-Level Waste and Spent Nuclear Fuel have brought this issue back into focus. The staff at the NRC does not want to conduct this study without appropriate feedback from stakeholders and as such, is soliciting comments on the issue.

Previous Recommendations 

In 2006, a report from the Interagency Working Group (IWG) identified three main areas of concern regarding safe disposal of radioactive sealed sources of radiation: lack of disposal capacity; inadequate supply of containers for transportation of the material; and long term storage of radioactive material. The IWG noted that financial assurance options may mitigate some of these concerns. In 2014, another report found that significant progress has been made to address disposal challenges since 2006 but that there are few incentives for generators to dispose disused sealed sources in a timely fashion and recommended the NRC evaluate if financial planning would make sense. A third report, also released in 2014, seized upon this subject and recommended that the NRC develop financial assurance requirements for sealed sources of radionuclides of concern which they define as Categories 1 through 3. It also recommended that federal research agencies should require applicants to budget for the full life-cycle cost of the use and disposition of radioactive byproduct material.

Request for Comments 

The NRC is now seeking stakeholder input and perspective on financial planning requirements and the recommendations discussed above. Parties interested in responding are asked to consider eight questions listed here prior to formulating their response. Please follow these instructions to submit comments by the October 19, 2015 deadline.

The full announcement can be found here.

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