Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Role in Federal Efforts To Select Nuclear Fission Technologies for Future Development

Gao ID: EMD-78-44 March 7, 1978

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) role in federal efforts to select nuclear fission technologies for future development needs to be strengthened. It is likely the President and Congress will use Department of Energy (DOE) proposals on which nuclear reactor and fuel cycle technologies should be selected for future research, development, and demonstration programs. Better decisions could be made if NRC were actively and independently involved in the selection process, but the NRC has no current plans for becoming involved in the evaluation and planning effort. The Chairman of the NRC should: (1) establish a program to systematically and independently monitor the development of alternative fission reactor and fuel cycle technologies for the future; and (2) identify and report to the President and congressional committees known or suspected licensing issues and problems associated with technologies under consideration by DOE before any are scheduled to be selected for future development. The Secretary of the Department of Energy should inform NRC of the reactor and fuel cycle technologies under consideration for future development and recognize the NRC reports on known or potential licensing issues and problems when formulating proposals to the President and Congress.

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