U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)

The Commission, as a collegial body, formulates policies, develops regulations governing nuclear reactor and nuclear material safety, issues orders to licensees, and adjudicates legal matters.

Washington, DC
Federal Government

The NRC is headed by five Commissioners appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate for five-year terms. One of them is designated by the President to be the Chairman and official spokesperson of the Commission.

The Chairman is the principal executive officer of the Commission and is responsible to the Commission for developing policy planning and guidance for consideration by the Commission, including budget formulation. The Chairman also serves as the official spokesperson for the Commission.

The Commission as a collegial body formulates policies, develops regulations governing nuclear reactor and nuclear material safety and security, issues orders to licensees, and adjudicates legal matters.

The Commission makes decisions in several ways:

  • The primary decisionmaking tool is a written issue paper submitted by the NRC staff to the Commission. Policy, security, rulemaking, and adjudicatory matters, and general information are provided in a stylized document referred to as a "SECY Paper".
  • Commission Action Memoranda, known as "COMs," are written exchanges among Commissioners on issues before the Commission or a matter a Commissioner wants to bring to the attention of his or her fellow Commissioners. COMs may also come from NRC staff seeking Commission guidance.
  • Commission meetings may be held with the NRC staff and/or outside parties to discuss issues before the Commission for action. Members of the public are welcome to attend and observe public Commission meetings held at the NRC Headquarters building. Unofficial transcripts are produced for each public meeting and are available on the Web for viewing or downloading approximately two days after the meeting. Public meetings are broadcast live on the Web and are archived for future viewing as indicated on our meetings page. See the Schedule of Upcoming Commission Meetings for more information.

Issues before the Commission are decided by majority vote. After the Commission completes voting on a SECY Paper or Commission Action Memoranda, the Office of the Secretary (SECY) records the decision in a memorandum to the staff called "Staff Requirements Memorandum" (SRM) and also issues a "Commission Voting Record" (CVR) which includes the record of votes and individual views of all Commissioners. SRMs are also issued following each Commission meeting to document any discussion or requests made at the meeting.

Commission Orders address appeals or motions before the Commission in such matters as license transfers, license renewals, amendments to nuclear facility licenses, and enforcement matters. In some cases CLIs are issued in export and rulemaking matters.

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