The semi-autonomous agency that oversees safety at U.S. commercial nuclear facilities will collect 7.7 percent more money in fees next year under a proposal announced Monday.By law, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission must recover 90 percent of its budget through fees charged to the facilities it licenses, with the remainder coming from the Treasury. Congress allocated more money to the agency for 2014, which in turn obliges the NRC to collect more in fees. The agency wants to recover $930.7 million in fiscal year 2014. Part of the increase would be accomplished by upping the labor rate used to calculate fees by 2.7 percent, to $279 per hour. Additionally, annual fees for power reactors, research reactors, materials users and uranium recovery facilities would increase. The annual fee for an operating power reactor, for example, would increase from $4.39 million to $5.33 million, according to the proposal. Annual fees for spent fuel storage and fuel facilities would go down.The rulemaking process to finalize the fee schedule will accept comments through May 14, and annual fees will be due Sept. 30. The full proposal can be viewed in the Federal Register (.pdf).
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"Semi-autonomous"? Never have seen the NRC described like that, before.
Anonymous: I suppose that's a fair point. Technically, the NRC is among the government's "independent" agencies and government corporations. It's autonomous in the broad sense that the commissioners are appointed for five-year terms to oversee the agency and its policy making, which is a different organizational structure than other agencies within the federal bureaucracy.
Thanks for reading,
Nuclear Street News Team
I'm well aware of the way the NRC is structured, seeing as how I used to work there. The reason I raised the question is because "semi-autonomous" is the term often used to describe the current status of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), within DOE. It is really not appropriate for the NRC. And the NRC is not unique in the "federal bureaucracy"--for example, the FCC is also an independent agency with 5 commissioners, and operates (broadly speaking) similar to the NRC.
Interesting, fewer reactors to monitor (4 are shutting down) so the NRC inceases license costs on the remaining driving more to close down, and does not need to reduce staffing. And then they say because fewer new reactors than planned need more funding to cover the existing costs, again no reductions in staffing due to less that planned work. Then to top it all off, increase the hourly rate because they have more outside contracted suppot, all to due less work than planned. Our government at work for us.
The real issue is that they have to raise fees to maintain the 90% outside funding due to Congress appropriating more funds.