NRC to develop emergency-preparedness regulations for small reactors

The Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) said on Thursday that the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) plans to develop new regulations on emergency-preparedness operations for small modular reactors (SMR) and other new technology related to reactors.

NRC staff have been directed to submit a schedule and rulemaking plan within nine months.

“We are pleased with the commission’s approval to take the next steps to establish a regulatory framework for emergency preparedness that reflects the design and safety advantages of SMRs and other new technologies,” NEI Senior Director for New Plant Licensing, Russ Bell said.

Currently, safety regulations only exist for large nuclear reactors operating in the U.S. and consist of two emergency planning zones for each facility, spanning 10 and 50 miles. The first is set up to monitor possible radiation in the air, and the second monitors radiation in any water or food supplies in the event of an accident.

The NEI has said it is committed to cooperating on the rulemaking process in this area.

“We look forward to engaging the NRC staff and other stakeholders on the necessary changes to existing NRC regulations and guidance,” Bell said.

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Nuclear Energy Institute U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

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