Planning and carrying out a license review for a prototype next-generation nuclear reactor may cost up to $140 million, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission says. In a joint NRC-Energy Dept. report released on Aug. 15, NRC estimates it will take five years to develop analytical tools and four to five years for license review. According to NRC, the review may cost about $128 million to $149 million over 10 years.

The 2005 Energy Policy Act set a Sept. 30, 2021, target to build the prototype at the Idaho National Laboratory, or set a new date. NRC says meeting the goal will require a “very aggressive” four-year review period starting in fiscal 2013. NRC says it needs to adapt its process for licensing light-water reactors for the prototype, which is to be based on very-high-temperature gas-cooled reactor technology.