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The Rulemaking Petition Process

The process of developing or modifying NRC regulations is called rulemaking. Although rulemaking is most often initiated by the NRC staff, any member of the public may also petition the NRC to develop, change, or rescind one of its regulations. NRC's regulations may be found in Chapter I of Title 10, "Energy," of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).

For information on the process for submitting and consideration of Petitions for Rulemaking, see the following topics on this page:

To review the NRC’s related public dockets, see Petition for Rulemaking Dockets.

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Before You Submit a Petition for Rulemaking

Before filing a petition for rulemaking, you may consult with the NRC. The NRC is permitted to:

  1. Describe the procedure and process for filing and responding to a petition for rulemaking;

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

  3. Assist you to clarify a potential petition for rulemaking so that the Commission is able to understand the nature of the issues of concern to you.

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 calling the Rules, Announcements, and Directives Branch toll-free at 800-368-5642, concerning questions about NRC regulations.

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How to Submit a Petition for Rulemaking

Please submit all petitions for rulemaking to the Office of the Secretary by, either, mail, email, or fax --

Mail: U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington, DC, 20555-0001
Attn: Rulemakings and Adjudications Staff
E-mail: rulemaking.comments@nrc.gov
Fax: 301-415-1101

The petition for rulemaking must at a minimum:

  1. Either set forth a general solution to the problem, present the substance or text of any proposed regulation or amendment, or specify the regulation that is to be revoked or amended;

  2. State clearly and concisely the petitioner’s grounds for and interest in the action requested; and,

  3. Include a statement in support of the petition for rulemaking that sets forth the specific issues involved and the petitioner’s views or arguments with respect to those issues, which includes any other pertinent information to support the action sought by the petitioner.

The detailed requirements for submitting a petition for rulemaking are included in the NRC's regulations at 10 CFR 2.802.  Petitions for rulemaking that meet these requirements are docketed and made available in the NRC’s Agencywide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS) and on the federal rulemaking portal http://www.regulations.gov.

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How NRC Processes a Petition for Rulemaking

The NRC’s primary concern when reviewing petitions for rulemaking is to ensure that NRC-licensed activities are conducted in a manner that ensures adequate protection of public health and safety, the environment, and the common defense and security. Petitions for rulemaking that raise valid safety concerns receive immediate NRC attention.

When the NRC decides that public comment would assist in determining a path forward regarding the petition for rulemaking, it will invite public comment and publish a notice in the Federal Register for a 75-day public comment period on the petition for rulemaking. A copy of the petition for rulemaking and any comments received will be made available in the NRC’s Agencywide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS) and on Regulations.gov.

The NRC staff will evaluate the petition for rulemaking and any comments it received and will either consider the petition for rulemaking in the NRC’s rulemaking process or deny the petition for rulemaking.  If a petition for rulemaking is denied, NRC publishes a notice of denial in the Federal Register. This notice of denial will address any public comments received and the NRC's reason for denying the petition for rulemaking.

A petition for rulemaking that is considered in the rulemaking process could address issues that the NRC:

  1. will immediately address as a prioritized health or safety concern;

  2. is already addressing in an ongoing rulemaking; or,

  3. is evaluating in plans for future rulemakings.

In the instances that the NRC addresses the petition for rulemaking through the rulemaking process, the NRC will publish a document in the proposed rule section of the Federal Register explaining NRC’s intent.  This Federal Register document will also provide instructions so the public can stay informed regarding future NRC action that addresses the issues raised in the petition for rulemaking.  A docket number identifying the project will be also published in the Federal Register at this time.

As a result of the rulemaking process, if the NRC publishes any proposed or final rule in the Federal Register that considers the issues raised by the petition for rulemaking, it will specifically address the petition for rulemaking in the supplementary information portion of the document. It is possible that the petitioner’s concerns may not be addressed exactly as requested in the petition for rulemaking.

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Page Last Reviewed/Updated Thursday, March 29, 2012