[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 55 (Tuesday, March 22, 2016)]
[Pages 15352-15353]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-06422]




Fees Development and Communications

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Request for information.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is requesting 
information from the public on a number of issues associated with the 
development of the agency's fees. Specifically, the NRC would like 
stakeholder input regarding the general communications the NRC provides 
about its fees and the public's understanding of the NRC's fees. The 
information collected will be used by the NRC in developing ways to 
improve the transparency of its fees development and invoicing 

DATES: Submit information and comments by May 6, 2016. Information and 
comments received after this date will be considered if it is practical 
to do so, but the NRC is able to assure consideration only for 
information and comments received on or before this date.

ADDRESSES: You may submit information and comments by any of the 
following methods:
     Federal Rulemaking Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2016-0056. Address 
questions about NRC dockets to Carol Gallagher; telephone: 301-415-
3463; email: [email protected]. For technical questions, contact 
the individual listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of 
this document.
     Mail information and comments to: Cindy Bladey, Office of 
Administration, Mail Stop: OWFN-12-H08, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory 
Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001.
    For additional direction on obtaining and submitting information 
and comments, see ``Obtaining and Submitting Information and Comments'' 
in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document.

[[Page 15353]]

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Anna Bradford, Office of the Chief 
Financial Officer, U.S Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 
20555-0001; telephone:
    301-415-1560; email: [email protected].


I. Obtaining and Submitting Information and Comments

A. Obtaining Information

    Please refer to Docket ID NRC-2016-0056 when contacting the NRC 
about the availability of information for this action. You may obtain 
publicly-available information related to this action by any of the 
following methods:
     Federal Rulemaking Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2016-0056.
     NRC's Agencywide Documents Access and Management System 
(ADAMS): You may obtain publicly-available documents online in the 
ADAMS Public Documents collection at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. To begin the search, select ``ADAMS Public Documents'' and 
then select ``Begin Web-based ADAMS Search.'' For problems with ADAMS, 
please contact the NRC's Public Document Room (PDR) reference staff at 
1-800-397-4209, 301-415-4737, or by email to [email protected]. The 
ADAMS accession number for each document referenced (if it is available 
in ADAMS) is provided the first time that it is mentioned in the 
     NRC's PDR: You may examine and purchase copies of public 
documents at the NRC's PDR, Room O1-F21, One White Flint North, 11555 
Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852.

B. Submitting Information and Comments

    Please include Docket ID NRC-2016-0056 in your submission.
    The NRC cautions you not to include identifying or contact 
information that you do not want to be publicly disclosed in your 
submission. The NRC will post all submissions at http://www.regulations.gov as well as enter the submissions into ADAMS. The 
NRC does not routinely remove identifying or contact information.
    If you are requesting or aggregating information from other persons 
for submission to the NRC, then you should inform those persons not to 
include identifying or contact information that they do not want to be 
publicly disclosed in their submissions. Your request should state that 
the NRC does not routinely edit submissions to remove such information 
before making the submissions available to the public or entering the 
submission into ADAMS.

II. Background

    Each year, the NRC determines its hourly, annual, and flat fees via 
the rulemaking process. During that rulemaking process, the NRC 
receives public comments regarding the specific fees being proposed, 
and at times also receives more generalized comments regarding the 
processes that the NRC uses to calculate and communicate those fees--
such comments are outside the scope of the annual rulemaking process.
    In a January 30, 2015, paper to the Commission (SECY-15-0015, 
``Project Aim 2020 Report and Recommendations,'' ADAMS Accession No. 
ML15012A594), the NRC staff recommended that the Office of the Chief 
Financial Officer (OCFO) undertake an effort to: 1) Simplify how the 
NRC calculates its fees, 2) improve transparency, and 3) improve the 
timeliness of the NRC's communications about fee changes. These areas 
overlap with the out-of-scope comments that the NRC at times receives 
during its annual fee rulemaking. In addition, the NRC staff's paper 
recommended that the OCFO assess alternative methods of allocating 
fees; specifically, the paper recommended that the OCFO look at whether 
the NRC should continue to assess flat fees to materials licensees, and 
whether the NRC should use flat fees for other regulatory activities. 
The Commission approved these recommendations in a Staff Requirements 
Memorandum dated June 8, 2015 (ADAMS Accession No. ML15159A234).
    In accordance with the Commission's direction in June 2015, the NRC 
is now seeking input from its stakeholders. The focus of this 
information-gathering effort is to obtain information for the NRC to 
consider in evaluating the changes (if any) that the NRC can make to 
improve the transparency and the timeliness of its fees development and 
invoicing processes. Potential improvements identified as a result of 
this information-gathering effort may be implemented in a variety of 
ways, including during the development of future annual fee rulemakings 
or by making changes to other agency communication methods (e.g., by 
posting additional information to the public Web site regarding fees).

III. Requested Information and Comments

    The NRC is interested in obtaining stakeholder comments regarding 
the general communications the NRC provides about its fees and the 
public's understanding of the NRC's fees. In particular, the NRC is 
requesting answers to the following questions:
    1. What are some specific ways that the NRC can improve the 
public's understanding of its fees and how those fees relate to the 
agency's budget?
    2. What are some specific improvements that could be made to the 
fee-related work papers or forms that would assist in the public's 
understanding of those papers and forms? For example, can the NRC 
improve the clarity and content of NRC invoice forms? If so, how?
    3. How can the NRC improve its explanation of any changes to the 
annual fees or hourly rates in the annual fee rule?
    4. What additional information can the NRC provide along with the 
proposed fee rule and work papers to help explain how the NRC 
determines fees?
    5. Given the statutory requirement to base the NRC's fees on the 
annual appropriation enacted by Congress, are there any ways that the 
NRC can improve the timeliness of completing its annual fee rulemaking 
or communicating fee changes?
    6. Are there activities that the NRC should convert from fee-
billable to non-fee-billable (or vice versa) and, if so, why? For 
example, should hearings for new licenses be fee-billable, or should 
the NRC continue to recover those costs through 10 CFR part 171 annual 
    7. Are there activities or fee classes that are more suited to flat 
fees rather than hourly? For example, should reviews of topical reports 
be subject to a flat fee or is the level of effort associated with 
individual topical reports too variable?
    8. Are the current fee classes and categories appropriately 
defined? If not, how should they be revised and why?
    9. Is there general information that the NRC can add to its public 
Web site that would assist stakeholders in their understanding of the 
NRC's fees development and invoicing processes?

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 16th day of March, 2016.
    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Maureen E. Wylie,
Chief Financial Officer.
[FR Doc. 2016-06422 Filed 3-21-16; 8:45 am]