NRC policy revised to enhance participation in public meetings

March 22, 2021, 7:01AMNuclear News

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has revised its policy regarding how it conducts staff-sponsored public meetings with outside parties.

The revised policy was effective with its publication in the March 19 Federal Register. The NRC’s public meeting schedule will reflect the new policy in the near future.

Meeting definitions: The revision defines new public meeting categories, as follows:

  • Observation meeting: An opportunity for attendees to observe NRC interactions with representatives from one or more groups (such as licensees, applicants, or non-governmental organizations). Attendees other than those meeting with the agency can ask questions of staff or make comments about the meeting topic at designated points on the agenda. The NRC said that this type of meeting does not actively seek comments on regulatory decisions.
  • Information meeting with a question and answer session: An opportunity for the NRC to share information and discuss applicable regulatory issues and agency actions with meeting attendees. Attendees can ask questions of staff or comment about the meeting topic. This type of meeting (such as an open house) does not actively seek comments on regulatory decisions.
  • Comment-gathering meeting: An opportunity for the NRC to meet directly with interested individuals to receive comments and solicit feedback on regulatory issues and agency actions (such as a draft environmental impact statement).

Finalizing details: The revised policy states that the NRC will provide meeting information (date, time, location, teleconferencing options, etc.) as soon as it is reasonably confident the details have been finalized. The NRC said that this action will generally occur no fewer than 10 days before a meeting. When a meeting must be scheduled but cannot be announced within the 10-day timeframe, the NRC will provide as much advance notice as possible.

The policy does not cover non-NRC meetings where staff might participate and includes certain exceptions, such as for NRC meetings involving other government or tribal officials. The policy describes the NRC’s expectations for respectful, civil discussions during public meetings and reiterates the agency’s commitment to transparency.

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