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Selling Off Your Nuclear? Here's What the NRC Has in Store

Fortnightly Magazine - June 15 1997

must satisfy four principal issues:

s The transferee is not owned, controlled or dominated by an alien or foreign government;

s The transferee is technically qualified;

s The transferee is financially qualified, which includes both operations and decommissioning funding; and

s For AEA Section 103 licenses, %n2%n the transfer is compatible with antitrust laws.

Procedure. The proposed transferee must file an "Application for Transfer of a License" that includes information on the prospective licensee. %n3%n The information submitted must address the four principal issues.

Transfer applicants should notify NRC of their intentions as early as possible. The NRC has few resources to conduct reviews and the number of applications is expected to increase as restructuring unfolds. Allowing insufficient review time may adversely affect an applicant's restructuring plans. Affected parties can request an administrative hearing on the action if they can establish standing, but the NRC staff can act on the application prior to the hearing.

On the other hand, the commission can defer action until after a hearing if it believes that significant health and safety issues exist. The NRC staff reviews the application subject to the substantive criteria of 10 C.F.R. § 50.80 and grants the license transfer if it determines: (1) that the proposed transferee is qualified to hold the license; and (2) that the transfer is consistent with the law. Intervention is possible but rare. If it occurs, the proceeding can be protracted.

1The NRC has implemented that requirement through regulations found in 10 C.F.R. § 50.80.

2Subject 103 licenses are all plants that received construction permits after December 19, 1970. These plants are subject to antitrust review under the AEA. Plants that received construction permits prior to December 19, 1970 are designated Section 104(b) licensees and are exempt from antitrust review.

3See 10 C.F.R. § 50.37 and § 50.33.

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