Like its predecessor, the AEC, the NRC oversees reactor safety, reactor licensing and renewal, material safety and licensing, and waste management (storage and disposal).
The NRC's mission is to regulate the nation's civilian use of byproduct, source, and special nuclear materials to ensure adequate protection of public health and safety, to promote the common defense and security, and to protect the environment.
The NRC's regulatory mission covers three main areas:
The NRC is headed by five Commissioners appointed by the President of the United States and confirmed by the United States Senate for five-year terms. One of them is designated by the President to be the Chairman and official spokesperson of the Commission. The current chairman is Dr. Dale E. Klein. He has been confirmed with a term ending June 30, 2011.
Currently Headquartered in Rockville, Maryland, the NRC previously had five regions. In the late 1990s, the Region V office in Walnut Creek, California was absorbed into Region IV and Region V was dissolved. The NRC is broken down into 4 regions:
These four regions oversee the operation of 104 power-producing reactors, and 36 non-power-producing reactors. This oversight is done on several levels, for example:
The NRC recognizes the industry's training and accreditation through the Training Rule, which was issued in 1993. The NRC observes the National Nuclear Accrediting Board accrediting board meetings, and conducts audits and training inspections. In addition, the NRC nominates some members of the National Nuclear Accrediting Board. The National Nuclear Accrediting Board is not a government body, but related to the National Academy for Nuclear Training, created in 1985, which integrates and standardizes the training efforts of the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO) and all U.S. nuclear power plants.
Terrorist attacks such as those executed by Al Qaida in New York on September 11, 2001 and in London on July 7, 2005 have prompted fears that extremist groups might use radioactive dirty bombs in further attacks in the United States and elsewhere.
In March 2007, undercover investigators from the US Government Accountability Office set up a false company and obtained a license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that would have allowed them to buy the radioactive materials needed for a dirty bomb. According to the GAO report, NRC officials did not visit the company or attempt to personally interview its executives. Instead, within 28 days, the NRC mailed the license to the West Virginia postal box. Upon receipt of the license, GAO officials were able to easily modify its stipulations, and remove a limit on the amount of radioactive material they could buy. A spokesman for the NRC said that the agency considered the radioactive devices a "lower-level threat," even though a bomb built with the materials could have contaminated an area about the length of a city block, but would not have presented an immediate health hazard.
This is an overstatement. The amount released would not be a health hazard and could be cleaned up.
THE NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION HOLDS A MEETING TO RECEIVE A BRIEFING ON THE STATUS OF NRC RESPONSE TO EVENTS IN JAPAN AND ON STATION BLACKOUT
Apr 29, 2011; THE NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION HOLDS A MEETING TO RECEIVE A BRIEFING ON THE STATUS OF NRC RESPONSE TO EVENTS IN JAPAN AND ON...
NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION HOLDS A MEETING TO RECEIVE A BRIEFING ON THE TASK FORCE REVIEW OF NRC PROCESSES AND REGULATIONS FOLLOWING EVENTS IN JAPAN
Jul 20, 2011; NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION HOLDS A MEETING TO RECEIVE A BRIEFING ON THE TASK FORCE REVIEW OF NRC PROCESSES AND REGULATIONS...