On September 2, 2009, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (“NRC”) signed a Memorandum of Agreement (“MOA”) aimed at increasing cooperation between the two commissions on mutual issues and activities.  Both commissions hope to increase informational sharing and avoid regulatory conflicts in the process.  

 The MOA is a result of several meetings that began after the August 2003 blackout in the Eastern Interconnection.  Following the blackout that shut down nine U.S. nuclear plants, NRC and FERC entered into a Memorandum of Understanding that allowed both commissions to discuss reliability issues related to the national bulk power system (see March 7, 2008 edition of the WER). 

The MOA outlines principles of cooperation between the two agencies, which includes the coordination of cybersecurity activities.  NRC, through its Electrical Engineering Branch (“EEEB”), will also be responsible for evaluating the design and operation of the relationship between the nuclear generating units, the utility offsite electric power grid and interconnecting grids, and for assessing the reliability and integrity of the electric power grid as it relates to nuclear plant safety.  The EEEB will coordinate with FERC’s Office of Electric Reliability for any activities involving the grid.  Both NRC and FERC will assign managers to implement and coordinate mutual activities.  The managers will come to a consensus on the scope of future projects, deliverables, anticipated outcomes, time periods, levels of funding, and any other mutual activities.

 The MOA is available at: http://www.ferc.gov/legal/maj-ord-reg/mou/mou-us-nucr-09.pdf.