cover image: Enabling High Volume Licensing of


Enabling High Volume Licensing of

31 Jan 2024

The review requirements and processes developed by the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC)3 and used by the NRC are optimized for the licensing and regulation of bespoke, conventional, large light water reactors in a regulatory process that reflects the agency positions and actions in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. [...] 26 In each case, it is up to the lead agency responsible for the federal action to conduct the environmental review process and prepare the report documenting the process, results, and conclusions.40 In some cases, an agency can have the applicant or an authorized contractor prepare the environmental review under the supervision of the agency. [...] Environmental impacts of a project will be based on factors including: • the power level of the reactor (i.e., thermal power in MW), • the operational characteristics of the reactor (e.g., electricity production, process heat, etc.) • the physical location and land use of the reactor (i.e., site footprint) • the interactions between the reactor and the environment (e.g., water usage, liquid and ga. [...] The draft EIS for the project was issued on September 29th, 2022, and the final EIS was issued on August 17th, 2023.79 The EIS evaluated the construction, operation, and decommissioning of the test reactor at the site and the environmental impacts associated with each phase of operation. [...] The NRC staff review found that the impact of Hermes reactor across all NEPA resource areas and for all phases of operation would be “small” and the NRC staff recommended that “unless safety issues mandate otherwise, that the NRC issue the CP to Kairos”.80 The NRC staff’s evaluation of Kairos Hermes reactor in the EIS provides a valuable data point that the environmental impacts of a similar advan.


Patrick White

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United States of America