Morning Briefing - August 09, 2018
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August 09, 2018

Energy Department Taking Comment on Nuclear Safety

By ExchangeMonitor

The Energy Department is taking public comment until Oct. 9 on a proposal to revise certain regulations for nuclear safety management across its facilities, according to a notice of proposed rulemaking published Wednesday in the Federal Register.

“The proposed revisions reflect the experience gained in the implementations of the regulations over the past seventeen years,” according to the notice from DOE’s Office of Environment, Health, Safety and Security. Aspects of the Nuclear Safety Management rule, governing DOE and its contractors, were implemented between 1994 and 2001.

The regulations cover facilities owned or leased by the Department of Energy where radioactive work takes place, such as research, testing, disassembly of equipment, or transporting nuclear material.

The Energy Department wants a successor document with “up-to-date research, data and DOE experience with implementation,” the Federal Register notice says. That would involve improved ways to categorize hazards, approve safety documentation, and approach “the unreviewed safety question process,” now defined by a four-part method including accident probability.

Four public meetings are scheduled near DOE sites during August and September:

  • Aug. 16 at the HAMMER Federal Training Facility, Building 6091, in Richland, Wash;
  • Sept. 6 at the Albuquerque Marriott in Albuquerque, N.M.;
  • Sept. 25 at the Oak Ridge Associated Universities, Pollard Technical Conference Center, in Oak Ridge, Tenn.; and,
  • Sept. 27 at Business and Education Building at the University of South Carolina-Aiken, in Aiken, S.C.

The DOE contact for the rulemaking is Garrett Smith with the Office of Nuclear Safety, at nuclearsafety@hq.doe.gov.

The proposed notice of rulemaking passes muster with regulatory reform executive orders issued by President Donald Trump, DOE said in the 16-page document. Trump issued orders in January and February 2017 calling for managing cost of government regulation, and to identify rules in need of updating or elimination. The proposed DOE rule seeks to remove provisions “considered duplicative or of little value,” according to the Federal Register notice.

Two industry sources contacted Wednesday afternoon were unfamiliar with the recent proposal.