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NEI presentation on Decommissioning Trust (NDT ...

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NEI Presentation on Nuclear Decommissioning Trust (NDT) Use Concerns
Background
The NRC has a robust program to ensure remediation of radioactivity at NRC licensed power reactor sitesA number of power reactor sites have shutdown and gone into decommissioning, so there is significant industry experience with the processDOE’s failure to remove used fuel from reactor sites has significantly complicated the decommissioning process for shutdown reactorsThere have been recent shutdowns due to economic conditions and there are several other reactors at risk of early shutdown because of economic conditions
Decommissioning Funding is a Common Concern for Licensees and Stakeholders
Many stakeholders have expressed a preference for PROMPT DECON over SAFSTOR, and see the availability of funding as the critical issue to accelerating the decommissioning processAvailabilityof decommissioning funding is a concern for all licensees, but there is heightened concern for those that no longer have the alternative of seeking incremental funding from a cost of service regulatorybodyNRC hasaddressedthis situation in the formation of its regulations2011 Decommissioning Planning Rule (76 Fed. Reg. 35,512, 35,518; June 17, 2011)1998 Revisions to Financial Assurance Requirements (63 Fed. Reg. 50,465; Sept. 22, 1998)1997 Policy Statement on Restructuring and Deregulation (62 Fed. Reg. 44,071; Aug. 19, 1997)
Uncertaintiesfor Stakeholders
The transition from operations to decommissioning is an unfamiliar event for most communities/stakeholder groupsMost stakeholders may not be able to readily access information regarding acceptable uses of trust fundsWhile the industry access significant experience from previous decommissioning projects (both formally and informally), external stakeholders are not able to tap into the same kind of institutional knowledgeDozens of guidance documents are available, but without the benefit of operational experience/institutional knowledge, stakeholders are at risk of receiving an incomplete regulatory picture
Uncertainty for Licensees
Licensees have relied upon existing NRC guidance, industry experience, and past precedent to determine appropriate uses of trust funds and have based their plans upon these expectationsWhere plants have transitioned from rate-regulated to merchant, decisions about their organizational structure and economic evaluation were based upon the existing NRC guidance, industry experience and past precedentPotential for inconsistent treatment of different licensees or inconsistent approach to interpreting regulations and guidance creates regulatory uncertainties which are particularly problematic and costly in times of transition such as moving from operations to decommissioning
Uncertainty Can HarmInnovative Industry Solutions
The Zion Solutions transaction represents an innovative commercial arrangement which accelerated timelines for moving fuel into dry storage and license termination of the balance of the siteGiven existing and potential plant shutdowns, there is ongoing industry activity on developing additional “transaction-based” solutions to accelerate decontamination and dismantlementA key factor enabling these sorts of transactions is a predictable, transparent and consistent regulatory regime governing acceptable uses of decommissioning trust fundsThe regimemust recognize that company, plant, and state specific factors may vary
NEI Draft Guidance Document
In an effort to relieve some of these licensee and stakeholder uncertainties, an NEI task force has taken up the task of drafting a guidance document on appropriate uses of the NDTGoal is to provide additional guidance to licensees and to serve as a source of information for other stakeholders.Among other things, the draft document:Identifies existing NRC guidance applicable to uses of NDT funds and preparation of decommissioning cost estimatesDiscusses industry operating experience related to the NDT reimbursement processIdentifies non-NRC considerations that may be relevant to a licensee’s decision to withdraw NDT funds
Definitions(and Supplemental Information)
When someone says “Decommissioning” what do they mean?Removing a facility safely from service and reducing residual radioactivity to a point that allows restricted or unrestricted releaseOnly actions that directly remove curies from the siteActivities embedded in FERC and State PUC rate filings for decommissioning collectionDefinition in the Federal Tax CodeThe liability a company recognizes in its financial statements per GAAP
Document Outline
DefinitionsNRC Requirements for DCE & Financial AssurancePlantsISFSIsRelevant Publications (rules, RG, NUREG,etc)Reimbursement ProcessSupplemental Information
DCE & Financial Assurance Requirements
How Financial Assurance is maintained through the decommissioning processComingled Fundsare acceptable as long as there is a sufficiently clear accounting to assure that funds will be adequate for radiologicaldecommissioningHow much latitude is there in preparing a decommissioning cost estimate and how does it practically change while implementing the decommissioning processThere will only be more ISFSIs and how they are treated before and after NRC Radiological Decommissioning needs to be clearly understood
Reimbursement Process
There are more constraints on reimbursements than those imposed by the NRC definitionAbility to complete license terminationTax StatusRate RegulatorPrevious Agreements/Settlements
Conclusion
Everyone’s top objective should be for a nuclear plant to be safely removed from service and safely decommissionedThe best path forward is to remove uncertainty about permissible uses of NDT funds and provide the flexibility for the industry to develop and deploy innovative solutions to the end of life evolution.The draftguidance document is an effort to address existing licensee and stakeholder uncertainties

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NEI presentation on Decommissioning Trust (NDT ...