A new regeneration method has been developed which can effectively and efficiently remove sulfur from Ni-based steam reforming catalysts. In its simplest form the present invention comprises the steps of oxidizing a catalyst with a dilute O.sub.2 stream; decomposing the nickel sulfate under inert gas stream and removing sub-surface sulfur under steam reforming conditions. In some embodiments these steps can all be accomplished and the regenerated catalyst be reintroduced to a steam reforming operation in a matter of eight hours or less.
STATEMENT AS TO RIGHTS TO INVENTIONS MADE UNDER FEDERALLY-SPONSORED RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
 This invention was made with Government support under Contract DE-AC0576RLO1830 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The Government has certain rights in the invention.