New regs for Tuesday: Nuclear licensees, commercial washing machines

Tuesday's edition of the Federal Register contains new rules for nuclear licensees and commercial washing machines. 

Here's what is happening:

Nuclear: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) plans to go after companies and employees in the nuclear industry who deliberately ignore orders by the agency and endanger the public.

The NRC announced it is considering a new rule that would target misconduct by nuclear licensees who challenge immediately effective orders from the agency. The new rule would expand the scope of the agency's powers.

The NRC originally issued the Deliberate Misconduct Rule in 1991, but it plans to expand the scope of the agency's powers under this rule. The proposed rule would also include the concept of "deliberate ignorance," and allow the agency to take enforcement action against people for this reason.

This concept already exists in federal law, and the NRC plans to add it to the agency's own policies.

"Under federal criminal law, an individual acts with 'deliberate 

ignorance' when that individual attempts to avoid criminal prosecution and conviction by deliberately remaining ignorant of critical facts, which if clearly known by that individual, would provide a basis to criminally prosecute that individual or otherwise subject the individual to an agency civil penalty enforcement proceeding," the agency wrote.

However, the proposed rule also states that the NRC would have the burden of proving that a company or employee ignored an order.

Laundromats: The Department of Energy is considering new rules for the manufacturers of commercial washing machines that are used at laundromats. 

The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy — a branch of the Energy Department — is proposing to update existing test procedures and certification reporting requirements for commercial clothes washers.

The new rules, which would measure energy and water metrics, would make sure that commercial clothes washers comply with energy conservation standards. They would measure energy efficiency, energy use, and estimated annual operating cost.

Residential boilers: The Department of Energy is releasing an analysis about the potential economic impacts and energy savings of existing energy conservation standards for residential boilers.

The Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy is not proposing new rules at this time, but indicated it may use the analysis to support future rulemaking.

Guns: The State Department is making changes to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). The new rules would remove a company's managing director from being considered an authorized official. The rule would also update marking and reporting requirements for UK defense companies that are exempted from certain rules, and it would correct a typo about the export policy to Lebanon among other minor errors.

Bananas: The Environmental Protection Agency is establishing new tolerances for fenpropidin residues on bananas. The agency said the rule could affect agricultural producers, food manufacturers, and pesticide manufacturers.