NRC issues final licensing, inspection and annual fees rule for fiscal year 2012

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has amended its regulations to reflect the licensing, inspection and annual fees it will charge its applicants and licensees for fiscal year (FY) 2012.

The FY 2012 final fee rule published in the Federal Register, includes fees required by law to recover approximately 90 percent of the agency’s budget authority. The NRC received a total appropriation of $1,038.1 million for FY 2012 and the total amount of fees the NRC has to recover by Sept. 30 is approximately $909.5 million, about one percent ($6.3 million) less than in FY 2011.

The agency is required by Congress to recover for the U.S. Treasury most of its annual appropriated budget through two types of fees. One is for specific NRC services, such as licensing and inspection activities, that apply to a specific license; the other is an annual fee for generic regulatory expenses and other costs not recovered through fees for specific services. These fees are paid to the U.S. Treasury and go into the general fund. Of the 90 percent recovered NRC budget, approximately 40 percent of the fees (10 CFR Part 170) will be billed for specific services to recover the cost of special benefits to identifiable applicants and licensees, and the remaining 60 percent will be billed as annual fees (10 CFR Part 171)

“The NRC is continuing its efforts to keep its fees as low as possible by ensuring its programs are conducted efficiently and effectively, and requesting from Congress only the resources necessary to perform its mission of protecting people and the environment,” said NRC Chief Financial Officer Jim Dyer.

The final fee rule includes several changes from the NRC’s FY 2011 final fee rule. First, the NRC increased the current hourly rate of $273 to $274. This increase in hourly rate is a result of an increase in agency direct budgetary resources from FY 2011. Second, the NRC revised the flat license application fees in 10 CFR Parts 170.21 and 170.31 to reflect the new hourly rate. Finally, the FY 2012 annual fees increased for some licenses due to the increased direct budgeted resources for operating reactors, most material users, fuel facilities and transportation. However, the annual fees decreased for research and test reactors, spent fuel storage facilities and most uranium recovery licenses.

The NRC estimates that the FY 2012 annual fees will be paid by licensees of 104 nuclear power reactors, four research and test reactors, 19 spent nuclear fuel storage/reactor-in-decommissioning facilities, 10 fuel cycle facilities, 10 uranium recovery facilities and approximately 3,129 nuclear material users.