Nuclear Law Bulletin

Nuclear Energy Agency

Published twice a year, the Nuclear Law Bulletin covers legislative developments in almost 60 countries around the world as well as reporting on relevant jurisprudence and administrative decisions, bilateral and international agreements and regulatory activities of international organisations.

Each issue typically includes the following sections: Articles, Case Law, National Legislative and Regulatory Activities, International Regulatory Activities, Agreements, News Briefs, and a Supplement.

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Reformed and reforming: Adapting the licensing process to meet new challenges

Nuclear Energy Agency

Nearly ten years ago, I published an article in the Nuclear Law Bulletin to address changes in the process being applied to licence new reactors in the United States (US).1 At the time, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) was faced with the prospect of handling a substantial workload of new reactor applications. The applications were to be considered largely through the licensing procedures established in the NRC’s regulations in 10 CFR Part 52,2 a set of regulations that had been adopted in the late 1980s, but which were largely implemented for the first time in the late 1990s and early 2000s. In contrast to the two-phase process of issuing separate construction permits and operating licences used in licensing the first generation of over 100 commercial operating plants, the new procedures focused primarily on the issuance of generic certifications of reactor designs that could be referenced in individual site applications for combined licences (COL) authorising both construction and operation of a nuclear installation.3 The approach under Part 52 was intended to promote broader plant standardisation as well as to inject greater certainty and stability into the licensing process.


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