NRC Programs Using Alternative Dispute Resolution Techniques
As encouraged by the Administrative Dispute Resolution Act, as amended (ADRA), the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) regularly uses collaborative "roundtable" and facilitated public meetings to discuss rulemaking, policy issues, and environmental impacts of proposed agency actions. In addition, the NRC offers a variety of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Programs that may be used in lieu of litigation to resolve potential disputes. For additional information about NRC programs that involve the use of ADR techniques, see the following topics on this page:
Licensing and Enforcement
In licensing and enforcement proceedings conducted under the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended, the NRC encourages settlement of issues that are proposed for litigation and provides for the use of settlement judges in its rules of practice at Title 10, Section 2.338, of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR 2.338).
The NRC's Office of Enforcement uses a voluntary ADR program to address apparent violations, involving discrimination or other wrongdoing. ADR can be used at two distinct stages of the process — namely, before the initiation of an NRC investigation (early ADR) and after the completion of an NRC investigation (post-investigation ADR). Early ADR is offered to individuals (and their employers) who contact the NRC and articulate a prima facie case of discrimination. Post-investigation ADR involves cases of discrimination or other wrongdoing, in which the NRC staff concludes that further enforcement consideration is warranted. The parties to post-investigation ADR are the NRC and the licensee, licensee contractor, or one or more employee(s) of the licensee or contractor. For more information, see Alternative Dispute Resolution in the NRC's Enforcement Program.
Equal Employment Opportunity
The NRC's Office of Small Business and Civil Rights offers ADR to NRC employees and applicants for employment, as a means of resolving complaints related to equal employment opportunity (EEO) and employment discrimination. As such, ADR supplements (rather than replaces) the NRC's formal Employment Discrimination Complaint Process.
In this context, employees or applicants may request ADR at the pre-complaint stage and/or the formal complaint stage of the discrimination complaint process [i.e., after filing a formal complaint, but prior to requesting an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) hearing]. When ADR is requested, the NRC primarily uses mediation (provided by contractors). For more information, see Alternative Dispute Resolution in the NRC's EEO Program.