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Public Involvement in Licensing

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has a long-standing practice of conducting its regulatory responsibilities in an open manner, and keeping the public informed of the agency's regulatory, licensing, and oversight activities. For that reason, the NRC is committed to informing the public about its licensing activities, and providing opportunities for the public to participate in the agency’s decisionmaking process. For more information, see the following topics on this page:

Involvement in Licensing Actions

The public can become involved in the licensing of a facility and can make their views known to the Commission at various stages in the process. In the pre-licensing stage, the public is notified through the Federal Register, press releases, and local advertisements that an application has been received.

Notices regarding opportunities for hearings or public comment on all reactor licensing actions, including amendments to a facility's operating license, or license renewal proceedings are published in the Federal Register.

If local interest is strong, the NRC may hold public meetings in the vicinity of a proposed facility. Notices of meetings may be mailed to citizens' groups and civic and government leaders in the community and may be advertised in local newspapers.

For nuclear power plants, individuals who are directly affected by the proceeding may participate in a formal hearing. For materials licensees and fuel facilities, however, most hearings are informal. See Public Involvement in Hearings and the Licensing Actions section of the Documents for Comment page for more information on how to participate.

Information on opportunities and requests for a hearing for major licensing and regulatory actions involving nuclear power reactors can be found at Hearing Opportunities and License Applications. Hearing requests and intervention petitions ordinarily must be filed within 60 days of the date of Federal Register publications of the "Notice of Opportunity for Hearing," 10 CFR 2.309.

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Involvement in Environmental Impact Reviews

The NRC considers impacts on the environment while reviewing any proposals for new major facilities or other major actions. An Environmental Assessment is usually prepared, which describes the need for a proposed action and a list of the agencies and experts consulted. If the assessment indicates the proposed facility or action will have a significant effect on the environment, an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is also developed by the NRC staff. Both documents are published in the Federal Register.

The EIS includes information on the physical characteristics of the area — geology, water, and air — the ability of the transportation systems to support the facility, and local population data.

Scoping meetings are held in the vicinity of the affected community to provide a forum for members of the public to express their opinion and provide information for the environmental review. These meetings are often held to help the NRC identify issues to be addressed in an Environmental Impact Statement and typically involve state and local agencies, Indian Tribes, or other interested people who request participation.

For additional information, see Materials Environmental Reviews and Frequently Asked Questions About NRC's Role Under the National Environmental Policy Act.

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Page Last Reviewed/Updated Monday, October 20, 2014