November 14, 2018

Preparing for Advanced Reactors: Exploring Regulatory and Licensing Reform

Maxine Segarnick and Sachin Desai

The views expressed herein are those of M. Segarnick and S. Desai as individuals, and do not represent the views of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the law firm Hogan Lovells US LLP, or any other person or organization. 

Introduction

The road to licensing advanced reactors in the United States raises the question of regulatory reform, as well as the potential for updates to the licensing process itself. These changes may be essential to account for the design differences between advanced reactors and the current operating fleet of nuclear power plants, which can greatly improve safety but potentially challenge the current regulatory framework. This article reflects on the progress of several recent advanced reactor-related US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) publications and poses a fresh look at whether the NRC’s adjudicatory process can be used to further pave the road to licensing advanced reactors in the United States. 

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