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QUESTIONS FROM CHAIRMAN JOHNSTON

Emergency Planning

Question 3:

Resolution of emergency planning issues early enough in
the licensing process is a desirable goal for both those
looking to license a plant and those who are charged
with protection of the public health and safety.
a. Does the Administration's National Energy Strategy

bill go further than the NRC rule with respect to

emergency planning?
b. Does your legislation envision congressional action

on emergency planning issues?
What makes you think that Congress is any more
likely to legislate away emergency planning issues
now than it was when the fate of both Shoreham and
Seabrook was hanging in the balance?

c.

Answer:

Yes, the Administration's. National Energy Strategy

-(NES) bill does go further than the Nuclear Regulatory

Commission (NRC) rule with respect to emergency

planning. Our bill requires resolution of emergency

planning issues prior to issuance of combined licenses

and requires that the combined license shall identify

the inspections, tests, exercises, and analyses required

for the emergency plan and the acceptance criteria for

their satisfactory completion. Further, our bill provides that offsite emergency planning questions arising after a combined license is issued, including

those of a decision by a State or locality not to

or

participate in a previously approved State, local,
utility plan, be addressed only in a proceeding to

modify or suspend operation under the combined license. Clearly our bill does envision congressional action on these emergency planning issues.

Regarding your third question, we are requesting that

Congress take action on offsite emergency planning

provisions now because resolution is important to the future use of nuclear power and we believe that the

Administration bill incorporates a fair approach which

addresses both the needs of prospective plant owners and

the public.

QUESTIONS FROM CHAIRMAN JOHNSTON

HTGR Technology

Question 4:

Mr. Young, at the hearing, you and I had a discussion about
the timing of a demonstration of HTGR technology and,
specifically, your concern that a demonstration as envisioned
under S.341 would be premature. I am still not sure that I
understand your statements, and I hope that you will
elaborate.

Specifically, you expressed your hope that if the HTGR
technology was used for the new production reactor, then the
reactor could also be used as the demonstration necessary to
obtain design certification from NRC for the HTGR.
I understand your concern that a utility would not be willing
to order an HTGR until the design had been certified by NRC.
But I am asking you a different question. I am asking you if
the technology is sufficiently developed to build a reactor,
and my assumption is that it must be, or else we would not be
considering it for a new production reactor. Certainly, we
would not be selecting a technology for a new production
reactor that is just experimental.

So, assuming that the technology is sufficiently developed to
build a reactor, why couldn't you build a HTGR demonstration
project, under the provisions of S.341, prior to
certification? In fact, why wouldn't it be perfectly
appropriate and advantageous to do so? Why wouldn't this, in
fact, be the best way to push the technology along and ensure
that the design would make it available when a utility was
interested in ordering a new plant?

Further, it seems to me that there wouldn't be any need for a
demonstration of technology at a later date, after the HTGR
design had been certified. At that point, it would be more
appropriate for the private sector and the market place to
take over. At least that is what everyone is telling me
about the need for any demonstration of LWR technology.
Therefore it seems to me that instead of an HTGR
demonstration being premature, it would actually be quite
timely now.
Please elaborate on your comments made at the hearing.

-2

Answer 4
(continued):

I would agree with you that there would not be any need for a

demonstration of technology at a later date, after the HTGR

design had been certified by the NRC. I never intended to

suggest such a sequence. The DOE HTGR development program is

based on demonstration before certification.

I do not agree with your statement that the HTGR technology is sufficiently developed for a commercial cost-shared demonstration project to be undertaken at this time. The

private sector has recently advised DOE that it is not ready
to undertake ţsuch a project, after many years of preparation
for, and anticipation of, such a cost shared approach. DOE
is, therefore, exploring an alternative means of bringing the

HTGR technology to commercial status. (Even if a commercial

demonstration project were feasible, certification by NRC of a commercial design that could be ordered by the private

sector would still come after demonstration project

completion.)

The development and construction of a New Production Reactor (NPR) -HTGR for tritium production is a highly attractive potential way to demonstrate HTGR technology for eventual application in a commercial HTGR. The NPR-HTGR is on an expedited schedule and many structures, systems, components,

-3

Answer 4
(continued):

and other features will be common to both reactors. Use of

the NPR-HTGR for technological demonstration would be a cost

effective way to conserve government funds in a time of

budget restraints.

Within the constraints of their respective missions, the

Office of Nuclear Energy and the Office of New Production

Reactors have developed designs and schedules to maximize the

project infrastructure, technology development, and plant design commonality. A plan is being developed to derive

maximum benefits for safety issue resolution including

potential demonstration testing with an NPR-HTGR module.

This plan will be coordinated in the Department and with NRC.

If this development approach is successful, a commercial HTGR

design could be certified by 2006, allowing time after the

initial NPR operation for preparation of commercial
demonstration features in NPR, operating experience,
commercial plant design and Safety Analysis Report
completion, and three years for NRC review and certification
rulemaking.

If the NPR-HTGR is not selected for tritium production in December 1991, it will be necessary for us to reformulate our approach to HTGR commercialization.

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