Nuclear watchdog seeks to change rules on transporting radioactive material

The changes would allow some changes to quality assurance programs to be made without the NRC's prior approval and extend the duration of quality assurance programs before their approval.

Current rules require that any change to an agency-approved quality assurance program must be cleared again by the agency.

"Consequently, the process can be overly burdensome and inefficient for both the licensee and the NRC," the agency describes in its proposal, set to be published on Thursday in the Federal Register. "For example, a change in the quality assurance program to correct typographical errors or punctuation would need to be submitted and approved by the NRC."

In an announcement seeking comment on the changes, the agency asserts: "The quality assurance program changes will make the agency’s oversight more efficient and allow its focus to remain on reducing the risk of transportation incidents."

The revised rule would also clarify how to obtain certain licenses and the responsibilities of those licenses.

In its proposal, the NRC states that periodically revising its standards to comply with other regulations makes the agency "able to remove inconsistencies that could impede international commerce and reflect knowledge gained in scientific and technical advances and accumulated experience."

In conjunction with the proposal, the agency published new draft regulatory guidance for quality assurance programs.