Nuclear Regulatory Commission Meeting to Discuss COVID-19 Impact on the Nuclear Industry
On Friday March 20, 2020, the NRC convened a Category 2 meeting to discuss COVID-19 impact on the nuclear industry. The public was invited to participate in this meeting by discussing regulatory issues with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
The purpose of the meeting was to discuss with the nuclear industry regulatory impacts due to COVID-19. The meeting was posted thirty hours prior to the teleconference. The NRC indicated their response to the crisis is to encourage relaxing regulatory oversight while moving to a teleworking protocol.
The exchange between Nuclear Energy Institute (“NEI”) and NRC made it clear that the nuclear industry approached the meeting as an opportunity to implement regulatory rollback on issues ranging from “alternative compensatory measures,” deferring operations and maintenance for refueling outage, postponing steam generator inspections, and seeking broad exemptions for compliance, enforcement, and process.
The NRC is also considering relaxing fitness for duty standards, extending “grace periods,” and liberalizing staffing and overtime restrictions.
The nuclear Industry posed the following questions to the NRC:
1. How will the NRC handle Notice of Enforcement Discretion (“NOEDs”)?
2. In 2007, NEI requested the staff to consider issuing an Enforcement Guide Memorandum (“ EGM”) to cover pandemic situations, does the NRC plan to use this approach? If so, what would be the timeline for issuance?
3. What areas is the NRC considering for application by an EGM? Administrative reports? What about physicals?
4. How does the NRC see the EGM being applied? Entry and exit criteria?
5. As stations continue to maintain qualified personnel what alternatives and options are being considered by the NRC to support maintaining those qualifications?
6. What are NRC’s thoughts on most expedient approach to manage 10 CFR 50.55a ?
Listen to a complete audio transcript of the meeting here.
The following excerpt from the meeting agenda represents a summary of that agenda.
March 18, 2020
Title: Meeting with Nuclear Industry to Discuss COVID-19 Regulatory Impacts.
Date(s) and Time(s): March 20, 2020, 02:00 PM to 03:30 PM
Category: This is a Category 2 meeting. The public is invited to participate in this meeting by discussing regulatory issues with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) at
designated points identified on the agenda.
Purpose: The purpose of the meeting is to discuss with the nuclear industry regulatory impacts due to COVID-19.
Ed Miller, NRC Staff
Michael Mahoney, NRC Staff