Nuclear Regulatory Commission: Revision of Fee Schedules--100 Percent Fee Recovery, FY 2000

OGC-00-37 Published: Jun 21, 2000. Publicly Released: Jun 21, 2000.
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Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO reviewed Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) new rule on fee recovery. GAO noted that: (1) the final rule would implement for fiscal year (FY) 2000 section 6101 of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990; (2) it requires NRC to recover from its applicants and licensees approximately 100 percent of its budget authority, less amounts appropriated from the Nuclear Waste Fund; (3) for FY 2000, NRC must collect approximately $447 million through these fees; (4) two types of fees are assessed: (a) applicants and licensees are charged for specific services, such as inspections and licensing reviews, that are provided by the NRC; and (b) NRC assesses an annual fee to its licensees to recover generic costs that cannot be attributed to specific licensees; and (5) NRC complied with applicable requirements in promulgating the rule.

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Nuclear Regulatory Commission: Revision of Fee Schedules; 100% Fee Recovery, FY 2000, OGC-00-37, June 21, 2000


B-285650

June 21, 2000

The Honorable Robert C. Smith
Chairman
The Honorable Max Baucus
Ranking Minority Member
Committee on Environment and Public Works
United States Senate

The Honorable Thomas J. Bliley, Jr.
Chairman
The Honorable John D. Dingell
Ranking Minority Member
Committee on Commerce
House of Representatives

Subject: Nuclear Regulatory Commission: Revision of Fee Schedules; 100% Fee Recovery, FY 2000

Pursuant to section 801(a)(2)(A) of title 5, United States Code, this is our report on a major rule promulgated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), entitled "Revision of Fee Schedules; 100% Fee Recovery, FY 2000" (RIN: 3150-AG50). We received the rule on June 12, 2000. It was published in the Federal Register as a final rule on June 12, 2000. 65 Fed. Reg. 36946.

The final rule implements for fiscal year 2000 section 6101 of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 2214. It requires the NRC to recover from its applicants and licensees approximately 100 percent of its budget authority, less amounts appropriated from the Nuclear Waste Fund. For FY 2000, the NRC must collect approximately $447 million through these fees. Two types of fees are assessed: (1) applicants and licensees are charged for specific services, such as inspections and licensing reviews, that are provided by the NRC; and (2) the NRC assesses an annual fee to its licensees to recover generic costs that cannot be attributed to specific licensees.

Enclosed is our assessment of the NRC's compliance with the procedural steps required by section 801(a)(1)(B)(i) through (iv) of title 5 with respect to the rule. Our review indicates that the NRC complied with the applicable requirements.

If you have any questions about this report, please contact James W. Vickers, Assistant General Counsel, at (202) 512-8210. The official responsible for GAO evaluation work relating to the subject matter of the rule is Jim Wells, Director, Energy, Resources, and Science Issues. Mr. Wells can be reached at (202) 512-3841.

Robert P. Murphy
General Counsel

Enclosure

cc: Mr. Dennis K. Rathbun
Director, Office of Congressional Affairs
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

ENCLOSURE

ANALYSIS UNDER 5 U.S.C. 801(a)(1)(B)(i)-(iv) OF A MAJOR RULE
ISSUED BY THE
NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION
ENTITLED
"REVISION OF FEE SCHEDULES;
100% FEE RECOVERY, FY 2000"
(RIN: 3150-AG50)

(i) Cost-benefit analysis

The NRC was not required to, nor did it prepare, a cost-benefit analysis of the final rule. However, the preamble to the final rule contains an explanation of how the amount of the fees were computed to permit the NRC to recover the necessary costs required by the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act.

(ii) Agency actions relevant to the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 603-605, 607, and 609

Because it determined that the final rule would have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities, the NRC prepared an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis in connection with the proposed rule.

The entire Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (FRFA) is contained in Appendix A of the final rule. The analysis describes the reason for the final rule and the legal basis for it; describes and estimates the number of small entities affected by the rule; discusses the recordkeeping, reporting, and other compliance requirements; and the steps taken to minimize the burden on small entities.

In addition, in accordance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act, the NRC has prepared a small-entity compliance guide, which is published in its entirety as an attachment to the FRFA.

(iii) Agency actions relevant to sections 202-205 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995, 2 U.S.C. 1532-1535

The rule, promulgated by an independent regulatory agency, is not subject to title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995.

(iv) Other relevant information or requirements under acts and executive orders

Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. 551 et seq.

The final rule was issued using the notice and comment procedures contained in 5 U.S.C. 553. On March 27, 2000, the NRC published a notice of proposed rulemaking (65 Fed. Reg. 16250) and received 13 timely comments in response; the comments are responded to in the preamble to the final rule.

Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. 3501-3520

The NRC states that the final rule does not contain any information collections that are subject to review under the Paperwork Reduction Act.

Statutory authorization for the rule

The final rule was promulgated under the authority of section 6101 of the Omnibus Budget and Reconciliation Act of 1990, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 2214.

Executive Order No. 12866

The rule, promulgated by an independent regulatory agency, is not subject to the review requirements of Executive Order No. 12866.

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