November 21, 2019
ClearPath, USNIC, Third Way Report Supports
Right-Sizing EPZ for New Reactor Designs
The U.S. Nuclear Industry Council (USNIC), ClearPath and Third Way jointly released a report this week urging the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to approve a pending Tennessee Valley Authority's (TVA) proposal for right-sizing Emergency Planning Zone (EPZ) regulations for new reactor designs.
The report finds that -- in addition to focusing on a goal oriented outcome for advanced nuclear innovation -- modernization of regulations for the deployment of advanced reactors is also warranted. A U.S. Senate letter sent today by Senators John Barrasso and Shelley Moore Capito supports "the establishment of risk-informed emergency preparedness requirements for advanced nuclear technologies."
According to the report, many regulations were based on the currently licensed fleet of large light water reactors (LWRs) which have characteristics that differ from the new generation of reactor designs. The proposal, presented in TVA's Early Site Permit (ESP) Application at the Clinch River site -- which is currently under consideration before the NRC -- is based on the improved safety characteristics and reduced overall risk of the next generation of nuclear reactors.
Among the report's key findings
A viable future U.S. advanced nuclear industry needs Emergency Planning Zones (EPZs) based on the specific safety characteristics of a reactor design. EPZs for advanced reactors should be appropriately based on the new generation of advanced reactor technologies. For example, advanced reactors should be regulated like industrial facilities that have similar levels of risk. The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) correctly recognized the contradiction between the existing Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) EPZ regulations and the improved risk profiles of advanced reactors. TVA proposed an approach in their recent Early Site Permit (ESP) Application that is informed by enhanced design features and safety margins of light-water cooled small modular reactors (SMRs). This proposal establishes an important precedent for future advanced reactor emergency planning activities.
The U.S. Nuclear Industry Council (USNIC), ClearPath, and Third Way strongly support the NRC approval of the TVA plume exposure pathway EPZ sizing methodology for both the Clinch River ESP and for future advanced non-light water cooled advanced reactors. This methodology was initially presented in the TVA Clinch River ESP Application, which was reviewed and approved by the NRC staff. The TVA approach can result in an EPZ at the site boundary or at two miles, depending on the specific safety and design characteristics of the reactor selected within the envelope of the ESP.
For more information contact:
Senior Fellow, Advanced Nuclear
United States Nuclear Industry Council
The United States Nuclear Industry Council (USNIC) is the leading U.S. business consortium advocate for new nuclear and promotion of the American supply chain globally. Composed of over 80 companies USNIC represents the "Who's Who" of the nuclear supply chain community, including key utility movers, technology developers, construction engineers, manufacturers and service providers. USNIC encompasses eight working groups and select task forces including an Advanced Reactors Task Force. For more information visit www.usnic.org.
ClearPath's mission is to develop and advance conservative policies that accelerate clean energy innovation. To advance that mission, we develop cutting-edge policy and collaborate with academics and industry. An entrepreneurial, young, strategic nonprofit, ClearPath (501(c)(3)) partners with in-house and external experts on nuclear, carbon capture, hydropower, natural gas, energy storage and energy innovation to advance our mission. For more information visit www.clearpath.org.
ThirdWay's work is grounded in the mainstream American values of opportunity, freedom, and security. But we identify as center-left, because we see that space in U.S. politics as offering the only real path for advancing those ideals in the century ahead.
ThirdWay's agenda is ambitious, aspirational, and actionable. It is built on the bedrock belief that for political movements to succeed in our political system, they must relentlessly re-imagine their policies, strategies, and coalitions.
We are fighting for opportunity, so everyone has the chance to earn a good life; progress on social issues, so all have the freedom to live the lives they choose; and security, so we are protected from 21st century global threats. For more information visit www.thirdway.org.