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The Rulemaking Petition Process

Regulations are the rules set by the NRC and other federal agencies that implement laws passed by Congress. Federal law allows people, companies, states, local governments, and federally-recognized Tribes to ask agencies to adopt, revise, or withdraw existing regulations. This type of request is known as a petition for rulemaking. The NRC's regulations for the petition for rulemaking process are located in Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR), sections 2.802 and 2.803.

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Rulemaking Process Diagram DETERMINATION - Action Needed: -Consider all -Consider part NRC RECEIVES PETITION DOCKETING REVIEW - Staff receives petition DOCKETING - NRC receives electronic file DETERMINATION - No Action Needed: -Petition is denied PRM DOCKET CLOSURE - Federal Register Notice RESOLUTION - Final Action published in Federal Register with statement on how petition was resolved

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Consultation with the NRC

You may consult with the NRC before and after filing a petition for rulemaking. The NRC is permitted to:

  1. Describe the process for filing, docketing, tracking, closing, amending, withdrawing, and resolving a petition for rulemaking;

  2. Clarify an existing NRC regulation and the basis for the regulation;

  3. Provide procedural assistance for issues of concern to the petitioner to increase transparency of the petition process; and

  4. Provide status information on a petition for rulemaking.

Address your inquires to --

Chief
Rules, Announcements, and Directives Branch
Division of Administrative Services
Office of Administration
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington, DC 20555-0001

...or call the Rules, Announcements, and Directives Branch toll-free at 800-368-5642

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How to Submit a Petition for Rulemaking

Petitions for rulemaking should be addressed to the Office of the Secretary and sent by mail, hand delivery, or e-mail to –

Mail: U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington, DC, 20555-0001
Attn: Rulemakings and Adjudications Staff
Hand Delivery: 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, MD 20852
between 7:30 am and 4:15 pm (EST) on Federal workdays.
E-mail: Rulemaking.Comments@nrc.gov

The petition for rulemaking must, at a minimum:

  1. Include contact information, including: petitioner’s name, mailing address, phone number, and e-mail address (if available);

  2. For organizational or corporate petitioners, explain the petitioner’s organizational or corporate status, state of incorporation, registered agent, and the name and authority of the individual who signed the petition on behalf of the organizational or corporate petitioner;

  3. Present the specific problems or issues that the petitioner believes should be addressed through rulemaking, including any specific circumstances in which the NRC’s codified requirements are incorrect, incomplete, inadequate, or unnecessarily burdensome;

  4. Present the petitioner’s proposed solution to the problems or issues raised in the petition for rulemaking, including any other pertinent information to support the action sought by the petitioner.

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How the NRC Processes a Petition for Rulemaking

The NRC's regulations at 10 CFR 2.803 explain how the NRC acts on a petition for rulemaking.

NRC Receives Petition

When a petition for rulemaking is received by the NRC, the NRC acknowledges the receipt of the petition by sending an acknowledgement letter or e-mail to the petitioner.

Docketing Review

After acknowledging receipt of the petition, the NRC considers whether the petition contains the information described in 10 CFR 2.802(c) for docketing of the petition.

If the NRC determines that the petition for rulemaking contains the necessary information then the following actions will be taken:

  1. The NRC dockets the petition.

  2. The NRC notifies the petitioner in writing that the petition has been docketed.

If the NRC determines that the petition for rulemaking does not meet the requirements for docketing, then the following actions will be taken:

  1. The NRC sends a letter to the petitioner explaining what information is not included in the petition, or why the information provided is insufficient, and includes a reference to the corresponding paragraph in § 2.802(c) requiring the information.

  2. A petitioner may resubmit the petition for rulemaking, with deficiencies addressed, at any time without prejudice. If the re-submitted petition provides the necessary information that meets the requirements in 10 CFR 2.802(c), then the NRC dockets the petition and notifies the petitioner in writing that the petition has been docketed.

Docketing

After docketing a petition for rulemaking, the NRC will publish a notice of docketing in the Federal Register. The notice of docketing published in the Federal Register may or may not include an opportunity for members of the public to provide comments. In general, the NRC determines whether to provide an opportunity for public comment based upon a balancing of several factors, including whether the NRC needs additional information to help resolve the petition. The notice also explains how members of the public can stay informed regarding any future NRC action that addresses the issues raised in the PRM.

Determination

Following the publication of the notice of docketing in the Federal Register, the NRC determines the appropriate regulatory action to take in response to the petition for rulemaking.

  1. The NRC undertakes a rulemaking (e.g., initiate a new rulemaking, addressing the petition for rulemaking in an ongoing rulemaking, or addressing the petition for rulemaking in a planned rulemaking) that considers the issues raised by a petition for rulemaking. The NRC will inform the petitioner in writing of its decision and provide additional information to help track rulemaking activities related to the petition.

  2. The NRC does not undertake a rulemaking to address the issue raised by the petition for rulemaking. The NRC will inform the petitioner in writing of the grounds for denial.

The NRC’s determination on the petition for rulemaking may be based upon, but is not limited to, the following considerations:

  • The merits of the petition;
  • The immediacy of the safety, environmental, or security concern raised;
  • The availability of NRC resources and the priority of the issues raised in relation to other NRC rulemaking issues;
  • Whether the problems or issues are already under consideration by the NRC in other NRC processes;
  • The substance of any public comment received, if comment is requested; and
  • The NRC's relevant past decisions and current policies.

PRM Docket Closure

After the NRC makes a determination on the appropriate regulatory action to take in response to the petition for rulemaking, the NRC will publish a Federal Register notice administratively closing the petition for rulemaking docket. The notice describes what actions the NRC intends to take in response to the petition.

Resolution

Complete resolution of the PRM does not occur until all portions of the PRM are addressed by the NRC in one of the three ways described below.

  1. The NRC adopts a final rule addressing the problem raised in the PRM (“resolution” of the petition for rulemaking)

  2. The NRC does not adopt a new regulation or change an existing regulation as requested in the PRM (“denying” the PRM)

  3. The petitioner withdraws the petition for rulemaking at any stage of the regulatory process.

It is possible that the petitioner's concerns may not be addressed exactly as requested in the PRM. In this situation, the NRC considers the PRM to be "partially granted and partially denied." The NRC publishes a notice in the Federal Register whenever the NRC takes action on a petition for rulemaking. If the NRC publishes a final rule adopting the regulation proposed by the petitioner, then the Federal Register notice will indicate that the final rule resolves the petition for rulemaking. If the NRC partially grants and partially denies the petition for rulemaking, then the Federal Register notice for the final rule explains how the problem raised in the PRM is addressed, and why the NRC adopted a regulatory approach that is different than proposed in the PRM. If a petition for rulemaking is denied by the NRC, or if the petition is withdrawn by the petitioner, then the Federal Register notice states the grounds for the denial or informs the public that the petitioner has withdrawn the petition.

References

10 CFR 2.802, "Petition for rulemaking – filing requirements."
10 CFR 2.803, "Petition for rulemaking – NRC action."

Final Rule: "Revisions to the Petition for Rulemaking Process" (80 FR 60513; October 7, 2015).
"The Petition for Rulemaking Process" Figure 1 (80 FR 60524; October 7, 2015) – ADAMS Accession No. ML14259A474.

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Page Last Reviewed/Updated Friday, April 01, 2016