Combined Construction and Operating License

12.245. After an order has been placed for a certified plant to be located at an approved site, an application for a combined construction and op­erating license (COL) may be submitted to NRC. There is then an op­portunity to evaluate all remaining safety issues prior to the start of con­struction, including those that may arise in another public hearing conducted at this stage. After a combined license is issued, construction of the plant may proceed.

12.246. An important concern of owner utilities is the role of any post­construction, pre-operation public hearing. The objective of both NRC and the utilities is to avoid any “unreasonable” delays in operational startup after the very substantial investment in plant construction has been made. Therefore, present plans are to provide for only an informal hearing, with consideration limited to whether the facility has been constructed, and will be operated, in conformity with the license. Furthermore, unless the NRC determines that there will not be adequate protection of the public health and safety, operation may proceed, with the rationale that minor issues of nonconformity can be resolved later.

12.247. During operation, the NRC continues to play a major regulatory role as described in various sections of this book (see, e. g., §14.47). Also, so-called Inspection, Tests, Analyses, and Acceptance Criteria (IT A AC) are specified in 10 CFR 52 “to provide assurance that the plant will operate in accordance with the design certification.”

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