NRC gives staff 45 days to review nuclear safety recommendations

The commission is giving staff 18 months to analyze the task force’s most sweeping recommendation: that the NRC rethink its regulatory framework.

The task force, which was established by President Obama in the wake of the recent nuclear disaster at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi power plant, outlined 12 recommendations in a report delivered to the NRC last month.

The report called on the commission to make wide-ranging improvements to the NRC’s “existing patchwork of regulatory requirements and other safety initiatives," but stressed current NRC regulations pose no “imminent threat” to safety.

NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko called on his fellow commissioners to review and analyze the task force’s recommendations within 90 days and implement any regulatory changes within five years, a speedy schedule for an agency known for its deliberate and slow decision-making process.

Some NRC commissioners took issue with Jaczko’s timeline, arguing that some of the recommendations could be implemented more quickly than others.

Commissioner Kristine Svinicki, for example, called earlier this month for additional review of the recommendations by senior NRC staff before the commission makes any final decisions.

In a statement Friday, Jaczko praised the commission’s decision to have the staff review most of the recommendations within 45 days.

“I am pleased to see the Commission moving the agency forward on these important issues, and I look forward to receiving additional input from our technical experts, the industry and the public as we proceed,” he said. “The plan we’ve established will require a dedicated effort by our staff and stakeholders, and will require a continued commitment by the Commission to see that these recommendations are promptly addressed.”