The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (USNRC) held the 33rd Regulatory Information Conference (RIC) March 8-11, 2021. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 conference was virtual. Over 3,000 attendees including over 480 representing 46 countries. With the 2020 RIC canceled the day before it was to start, the 2019 conference was the last pre-pandemic RIC and attracted about 2,000 attendees with 142 international participants showing the reach and value of virtual communications.
Over the years, the RIC has become the most anticipated and widely attended conference of the nuclear energy annual calendar. The organizers have always put together interesting, informative, and timely sessions. NRC Staff sees it as an opportunity to explain programs and thinking to an audience much larger than those able to attend public meetings. It’s also a chance to hear the commissioners speak more generally about their philosophies and to offer a view of themselves as real people. The 2021 RIC did not disappoint.
Of the 28 technical sessions, thirteen were of specific interest to the Sandia International Nuclear Security Engineering Dept. All thirteen were highly informative offering participants a window into how NRC and other federal agencies and key private sector organizations are working on advanced reactors and different types of advanced technologies within their differing, but related, ambits.
What were the key observations and takeaways from the 2021 Regulatory Information Conference? USA Nuclear subject matter experts were requested to attend and provide reports on the thirteen sessions. Their report is a consolidation of insights provided by Doug Abell, Steve Root, P.E., Joe Rivers and Steve Kraft of USA Nuclear. The final report was authored by Steve Kraft and is available for public review.