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U.S. Government Agencies: U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Primary Contacts

Michael Case
Director, Division of Engineering
Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington, DC 20555.0001
Phone: 301.251.7619

General Overview of Agency Activities

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) was created as an independent agency by Congress in 1974 to enable the nation to safely use radioactive materials for beneficial civilian purposes while ensuring that people and the environment are protected. The NRC regulates commercial nuclear power plants and other uses of nuclear materials, such as in nuclear medicine, through licensing, inspection and enforcement of its requirements

Overview of Regulatory Activities

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) was formed in 1974 to regulate the various commercial and institutional uses of nuclear energy, including nuclear power plants. The agency succeeded the Atomic Energy Commission, which previously had responsibility for both developing and regulating nuclear activities. Federal research and development work for all energy sources, as well as nuclear weapons production, is now conducted by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Under its responsibility to protect public health and safety, the NRC has four principal regulatory functions:

  • establish standards and regulations;
  • issue licenses for nuclear facilities and users of nuclear materials;
  • inspect facilities and users of nuclear materials to ensure compliance with the requirements; and
  • evaluate operating experience and respond to incidents.

These regulatory functions relate to both nuclear power plants and to other uses of nuclear materials -- like nuclear medicine programs at hospitals, academic activities at educational institutions, research work, and such industrial applications as gauges and testing equipment. Under the Agreement State program, the NRC relinquishes portions of its regulatory authority over nuclear materials to some state agencies.

. Learn more about NRC’s regulatory responsibilities

Technical Regulations-Related Information

The NRC works with standards developing organizations to develop consensus standards associated with systems, equipment, or materials used by the nuclear industry. A standard contains technical requirements and recommended practices for performance of any device, apparatus, system, or phenomenon associated with a specific field.

NRC has incorporated into its technical regulations and recognizes voluntary consensus standards developed by the following organizations:

This list may be incomplete and only attempts to name some of the standards developing organizations from which NRC has incorporated standards.  For more information:  

. Access NRC’s Standards Development Homepage on the NRC’s use of voluntary consensus standards and cooperation with standards developing organizations

Conformity Assessment-Related Information

NRC recognizes a variety of conformity assessment approaches on a sector-by-sector basis. For more information:

. Access NRC Regulations and Guidance Homepage for information on how to comply with regulatory requirements

Quick Links

International Activities

Director, Office of International Programs
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington, DC 20555-0001

Fax: 301.415.2400

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