The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) keeps Congress fully and currently informed of the agency's regulatory activities. The NRC's Office of Congressional Affairs is the main conduit for NRC communications with Congress. Members of the Commission and NRC senior staff regularly work with OCA to provide information to Congress and reply to inquiries from various committees of the House and the Senate and to Members of Congress who are interested in aspects of NRC responsibilities. The NRC Protocol Office and Federal and External Affairs programs also reside in Congressional Affairs. For Federal intergovernmental and external matters concerning the Commission, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on Energy and Water Development have directed the NRC to provide semi-annual reports to Congress on the status of its licensing and regulatory activities. Each report includes the status of all license renewal applications under active review. Congress may also ask NRC Commissioners or senior staff to present or submit testimony or related correspondence to oversight committees about specific activities of interest to Congress.
For additional detail, see the following topics on this page:
- Congressional Oversight Committees for NRC Activities
- Laws that Govern NRC Activities
- Process for Analyzing and Responding to Congressional Requests
Congressional Oversight Committees for NRC Activities
Within those Committees, the subcommittees with responsibility for legislation and oversight related to NRC are the Senate Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety and the House Subcommittee on Energy and the Environment. These two subcommittees have jurisdiction over authorizing legislation for the NRC and constitute the principal Congressional oversight of the NRC. We have a statutory responsibility to keep these two subcommittees "fully and currently informed" of NRC's activities.
In addition, other Congressional subcommittees have jurisdiction over certain aspects of NRC activities, such as appropriations, international affairs, and general government operations.
Laws that Govern NRC Activities
The NRC was created when Congress passed the Energy Reorganization Act of 1974. This Act, along with the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, provides the foundation for the NRC's regulation of the Nation's commercial nuclear power industry. In addition, Congress has passed a broad range of legislation that guides the Commission's mission and its operations in this and other areas.
Process for Analyzing and Responding to Congressional Requests
The following chapters of the NRC's Internal Commission Procedures provide insights regarding the Commission procedures for analyzing and responding to formal Congressional inquiries and requests to testify at hearings:
- Chapter V -- Institutional Correspondence
- Incoming Correspondence
- Guidelines for Commission Response
- Commission Daily Reading File
- Outgoing Correspondence
- Chapter VI -- Transmittal of Sensitive Documents to Congress
- Chapter VII -- Congressional Hearings