NRC seeks input on developing its AI strategy

July 6, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued a request for comments as it develops a strategic plan for evaluating artificial intelligence in its regulations. Specifically, the NRC is asking for input on the agency’s overall AI strategy, as well as the strategic goals presented in the NRC’s draft report Artificial Intelligence Strategic Plan: Fiscal Year 2023–2027 (NUREG-2261).

The request for comments on the NRC’s AI Strategic Plan was issued in the July 5 Federal Register with a deadline of August 19. The NRC also plans to hold a public webinar on August 3 from 1–3 p.m. eastern time to receive comments on the draft plan.

The need: According to the NRC, the AI Strategic Plan will contribute to regulatory certainty by ensuring the agency’s continued readiness to review the use of AI in its regulated activities. Machine learning, natural language processing, robotics process automation, and deep learning are considered subsets of AI under the NRC’s strategic plan.

“The NRC recognizes that AI technological maturity is rapidly evolving and usage is growing; therefore, NRC anticipates increased use of AI in NRC-regulated activities,” the agency said in the FR notice.

The goals: The NRC has established five strategic goals in the draft AI Strategic Plan: (1) ensure NRC readiness for regulatory decision-making, (2) establish an organizational framework to review AI applications, (3) strengthen and expand AI partnerships, (4) cultivate an AI-proficient workforce, and (5) pursue use cases to build an AI foundation across the NRC.

The questions: The NRC said it welcomes comments from the public on any areas that they believe are relevant to these topics and is particularly interested in receiving input on the following questions:

  1. Are there any specific recommendations or improvements to consider in the development of the AI Strategic Plan?
  2. What goals, objectives, or strategies within the NRC’s current strategic plan should be added, enhanced, or modified in the AI Strategic Plan?
  3. What are potential near-term, or far-term, AI activities that the NRC should be aware when finalizing and prioritizing the AI Strategic Plan, or associated supporting research?
  4. What are potential challenges the NRC should be aware when preparing to review potential use of AI in nuclear applications?

Comments: The NRC encourages that comments be submitted electronically through the federal rulemaking website with Docket ID NRC-2022-0095 included in the comment submission.

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