Reducing Nuclear Powerplant Leadtimes:

Many Obstacles Remain

EMD-77-15: Published: Mar 2, 1977. Publicly Released: Mar 2, 1977.

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A review of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) program for licensing the construction and operation of nuclear powerplants revealed many unsolved problems. Utilities need 10 or more years for the completion of the plants, from the planning phase, through licensing procedures, to construction. This long leadtime contributes greatly to the high costs of building nuclear powerplants.

NRC has changed some administrative practices and proposed legislation to reduce leadtimes. One change allows construction following completion of a portion of the permit application review. NRC is also encouraging the development of standard powerplant designs, and is proposing review of sites before receiving permit applications. State and local requirements are incompatible with some of these efforts and limit their effectiveness. Other factors contributing to long leadtimes are: (1) problems in assuring compatibility of parts of plants; (2) public opposition; (3) new safety technology; and (4) court decisions.

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