Nuclear Regulatory Commission: Revision of Fee Schedules--100 Percent Fee Recovery for Fiscal Year 1999

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1999-06-21.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

United States General Accounting Office                                Office of the General Counsel
Washington, DC 20548


          June 21, 1999

          The Honorable John H. Chafee
          The Honorable Max Baucus
          Ranking Minority Member
          Committee on Environment and Public Works
          United States Senate

          The Honorable Thomas J. Bliley, Jr.
          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 1999

          Pursuant to section 801(a)(2)(A) of title 5, United States Code, this is our report on a
          major rule promulgated by Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), entitled
          “Revision of Fee Schedules; 100% Fee Recovery, FY 1999” (RIN: 3150-AG08). We
          received the rule on June 10, 1999. It was published in the Federal Register as a final
          rule on June 10, 1999. 64 Fed. Reg. 31448.

          The final rule implements for fiscal year 1999 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 1999, the
          NRC must collect approximately $449.6 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 Victor Rezendes,
Director, Energy, Resources, and Science Issues. Mr. Rezendes can be reached at
(202) 512-3841.

Sincerely yours,

Robert P. Murphy
General Counsel


cc: The Honorable Shirley Ann Jackson
    U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

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        ANALYSIS UNDER 5 U.S.C. § 801(a)(1)(B)(i)-(iv) OF A MAJOR RULE
                              ISSUED BY THE
                             (RIN: 3150-AG08)

(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.

The NRC states that the majority of the small entities are material licensees,
approximately 1,400 licensees, or 20 to 25 percent of the total material licensees. To
minimize the impact of the final rule on small entities, the NRC is continuing its
practice of imposing a maximum annual fee to which small entities are subject.

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 April 1, 1999, the NRC published a notice of proposed rulemaking
(64 Fed. Reg. 15876) and received 26 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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