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Nuclear Power Industry

Question 9:

Would you agree that the future of the nuclear power
industry rests in the development of advanced nuclear
reactor designs and streamlining the regulatory structure
to bring on line new, safer generations of nuclear reactor


As outlined in the Administration's National Energy
Strategy, we believe that there are four major
prerequisites to an expanded role for nuclear power in the

United States. Two of these prerequisites address the

issues which you raise; namely, maintaining exacting

safety and design standards and reducing regulatory risk.

The Department of Energy's Advanced Light Water Reactor
Program addresses the first of these and will result in an

acceleration of the introduction of standardized advanced

light water nuclear powerplant designs. This will require

not only development, but also the certification of these

standardized designs by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission

and the performance of the necessary additional detailed

engineering work to ensure a high level of commercial

standardization in these plant designs. We do not believe

that the development of a completely new reactor concept

necessary for the resumption of nuclear orders, but

that we should build upon and improve the design based

upon the large, world-wide light water reactor technology

base. The advanced light water reactor designs that we

are supporting will be even safer than the designs of

today's plants, which already have an unparalleled safety

record through more than 30 years and 1400 reactor years

of operation. With respect to the second prerequisite,

the Administration has submitted proposed nuclear

licensing and regulatory reform legislation.


Nuclear Advanced Reactor and Licensing Provisions Of S. 341

Question 10:

One of the Administration's stated goals in reforming the licensing process is to remove regulatory obstacles to the construction and operation of nuclear plants. Portions of the Administration's proposal are currently addressed in the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's procedures.

In your view, how does the Administration's proposal

differ from the Commission's existing regulations?
b. Which of the Administration's reform elements could

not be accomplished by the NRC under existing
statutory authority?



Which of the areas covered in the Administration's
proposal is, in your opinion, the most crucial to
license reform?


The Administration bill builds upon the Commission's
existing regulations by: requiring that the combined

license identify the inspections, tests, exercises, and

analyses required for the emergency plan and their

acceptance criteria, and requiring resolution of emergency planning issues which arise after combined license

issuance to be resolved only in a proceeding to modify or

suspend operation; establishing an informal post-
construction hearing process on issues of nonconformance
with the acceptance criteria of a combined license;
setting a target duration of a hearing; preventing delay
of operation during a hearing unless required for adequate
protection of public health and safety; and eliminating

delay of operations resulting from combined license

amendments if no significant hazards are involved.

There are varying legal opinions as to what extent new legislation would be needed to accomplish the Administration's reforms. All of the areas covered in the Administration's bill are crucial to licensing reform.


Licensing Reform

Question 11:

Opponents of efforts to streamline the licensing
scheme by limiting the circumstances that would require
a post-construction hearing claim that this limitation
would reduce public participation in the process. The
provision in S. 341 would retain full public
participation on significant safety issues but would
consider those issues and provide for their resolution
in the combined license proceeding prior to
construction. Could you please describe how the
Administration's proposal differs from S. 341 in this


Similar to S. 341, the licensing process in the

Administration's bill includes more opportunities for

the general public to get their voices heard in a
meaningful way--right up front when it is most useful.
There is a full public hearing on the suitability of
the plant site, a full public hearing on the adequacy
of the design to be certified, and a full public
hearing prior to the NRC issuing a license to build the
plant. After these hearings, the design will be
frozen, essentially preventing the builders from making
any changes to the design that the public agreed upon.

Both S. 341 and the Administration's bill provide the

public with an opportunity to address concerns about

whether the construction faithfully conformed with the license at the end of plant construction. However, the Administration's process differs by providing the opportunity for an informal hearing on conformance of

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