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However, even these plants may be too large for a

developing country to absorb on its grid. Another constraint is the lack of technical expertise to

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The Process Laid Out In Title XII

Questions 1:

In your testimony, you identify three main problems with the provisions of title XII -- that DOE is already doing most of the things envisioned under section 12005; that it is too early to expect a utility to order a nuclear plant, even with the benefits of section 12005; and that direct federal government participation in a demonstration project would be inappropriate.

This is a fairly strong rejection of title XII.
Do you really believe that DOE can do everything necessary to
revive the nuclear option without any endorsement or
encouragement by Congress?


No, we believe that congressional endorsement of the nuclear

option is important and that specific action by the Congress

in a number of areas is necessary for the revitalization of

nuclear power.

The National Energy Strategy (NES) addresses four

prerequisites to future nuclear powerplant orders. They

include maintaining exacting safety and design standards,

reducing economic risks, reducing regulatory risks, and establishing an effective high-level nuclear waste management

program. As you are aware, the Administrat

has submitted

legislation to implement its NES. Two aspects of our legislation are vitally important to the future of nuclear power and require congressional action at the earliest possible time; namely, reform of the nuclear licensing and regulatory process and measures needed to site and license a

permanent waste repository and monitored retrievable storage

facility. We believe that the Department's reactor programs

to develop, standardize, and certify, under 10 CFR Part 52, advanced nuclear powerplants will satisfy the first two prerequisites addressing safety and economic risks.

If all four of these prerequisites are met, the utility

industry has indicated that they would once again consider

nuclear power to meet new electrical demands. Senior

management of nuclear utilities have indicated, in the nuclear

industry's Strategic Plan For Building New Nuclear Powerplants, that a demonstration project is not a

prerequisite to the next nuclear plant order.


NRC Design Certification

Question 2 (a): There is currently some disagreement on what constitutes

standardized design for purposes of receiving a design certification from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The disagreement, as I understand it, rests with how much detail would be required for a so-called standardized design to be approved.

On December 27, 1990, Admiral Watkins wrote to NRC
Chairman Carr expressing his concern that the NRC may have
been planning to require reactor vendors to submit too
much design detail, thereby substantially delaying the
date by which the NRC could certify a reactor design. On
February 15, 1991, the NRC announced its policy on the
level of design detail.

Does the NRC's February 15 policy adequately address the
Secretary's concerns?


We are satisfied with the resolution presented in

the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) policy statement.

In their statement, the Commission defined the level of

detail required for design certification as that necessary

to make final safety determinations with reasonable assurance. This is consistent with the views expressed in Admiral Watkins' correspondence to Chairman Carr. We are

closely monitoring implementation of the policy by the NRC staff. We are planning to work with NRC and OMB to

establish schedules for the design certification process

in accordance with this regulation.


NRC Design Certification

Question 2 (b): Based upon what we know now about NRC's policy

and process for approval of certified designs, how soon can we expect the NRC to certify each of the advanced reactor designs now being developed?


In the February 15 communication, the Commission required

the staff to provide them, by June 1, with schedules for

the design certification reviews. The applicants, the
Nuclear Management and Resources Council, and the NRC

staff are currently working together to establish mutually agreeable schedules by that date. The objective

established by the National Energy Strategy (NES) is to have all four designs certified by 1995. DOE will be

participating in interagency reviews of the schedules with

NRC and OMB as they are developed and will maintain the

position that the objective of the NES should be met.

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