The Nuclear Regulatory Commission ( Nrc )

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A persistent state of stagnation has plagued the creation of low-level nuclear waste disposal sites for nearly three decades. To date, there are only four licensed facilities capable of accepting, storing, and disposing low-level waste in the United States (NRC 2015a). As an independent agency created by Congress in 1974, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) regulates the creation and management of commercial low-level waste sites through licensing, inspection, and enforcement of its requirements. Due to the apparent lack of new disposal sites, a closer analysis of the NRC’s licensing requirements is needed. Is the current policy conducive to expansionary facilities in other parts of the nation? Are the technical and financial requirements established by the NRC for commercial facilities too steep to allow the creation of new facilities, creating a natural monopoly? In addressing these issues, the following analysis examines the NRC’s current policy compared to proposed alternatives using empirical and theoretical analyses. Finally, the goal and the final policy recommendation of this analysis is ultimately in line with the NRC’s overarching strategic values: safety and security. Case Description The definition of low-level waste is negative. Meaning, commercial radioactive wastes that do not fall under the category for high-level wastes, or uranium and thorium milling wastes, are classified as low-level radioactive waste (NRC 2015c). The low-level wastes can
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