Federal, State, and Tribal Liaison Programs
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State Liaison Activities
Because the NRC and States have complementary roles in protecting people and the environment, the agency has a policy for cooperation with the States. This policy provides guidance for keeping Governors informed on NRC matters through a program called the State Liaison Officer (SLO) Program. It also contains guidance for the agency to enter into instruments of cooperation for State participation on inspection activities and protocol agreements for State request for observation of inspections.
About the State Liaison Officer (SLO) Program
The SLO Program was established in 1976 after recommendations from the National Governors Association and other State organizations for NRC to improve coordination with the States. Under this program, each Governor appoints an individual to serve as the State's primary liaison to the NRC. The NRC staff supports the SLO as he/she seeks to:
- keep the Governor informed on NRC issues, including nuclear regulatory, security, and radiological health and safety;
- inform and coordinate with State and local agencies and counterparts on these matters;
- answer NRC inquiries and provide the NRC with State information; and
- provide communications and support to State, local and federal emergency agencies during emergency events.
The NRC's Office of Nuclear Materials Safety and Safeguards manages the overall SLO program, while NRC's regional offices carry out related day-to-day activities. Each regional office has Regional State Liaison Officers who serve as the main NRC points of contact for the SLOs. The NRC also hosts a National SLO Conference every two years to discuss issues of mutual interest and regional meetings as needed. For more information on the SLO Program, please see the program brochure.
In addition to the SLOs, NRC staff members also maintain contact with many State organizations, such as public utility commissions, the National Governors Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners and others. The NRC also works with local government organizations as needed. Through these interactions, NRC staff works to keep the agency and the States informed of respective activities, views, and interests that are important to the ongoing relationships. Additional information on the NRC's State programs can be found in the brochure, State Programs at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Applicable Policies and Procedures
- "Policy on Cooperation with States at Commercial Nuclear Power Plants and other Nuclear Production or Utilization Facilities," 57 FR 6462, February 25, 1992
- Management Directive 5.1, "Intergovernmental Consultation"
- Management Directive 5.2, "Cooperation with States at Commercial Nuclear Power Plants and Other Nuclear Production or Utilization Facilities"
- Procedure FSME SL 100, "Regional State Liaison Officer"
State Liaison Officers Training Webinar Series
The NRC conducts a periodic webinar series covering various topics of interest for State audiences. The webinars are held three or four times a year and cover a variety of topics under the NRC's jurisdiction. Each session includes a presentation by NRC staff with subject matter expertise with interactive question and answers. See the links below for archived webinars.
- May 6, 2014 – Reactor Decommissioning
- March 24, 2015 – Reactor Effluents
- June 25, 2015 - Spent Fuel Storage
- August 12, 2015 - Environmental Monitoring
- November 10, 2015 - Reactor Oversight Process (ROP), Part 1
- March 1, 2016 - Reactor Oversight Process (ROP), Part 2
- July 14, 2016 – UPCOMING WEBINAR - Fukushima Lessons-Learned
Social Media Links
- NRC Blog article: State Liaison Officers - Keys to a State-Federal Nuclear Regulatory Partnership
- YouTube Video: 3 Minutes With State Liaison Officer Program
National State Liaison Officers Conference Information
Every two years the NRC convenes a meeting with all the Governor-appointed SLOs to discuss issues of significant interest to the States and the NRC in the areas of nuclear regulation, nuclear security, radiological public health and safety, and environmental issues. See the links below for information on past conferences and the upcoming 2015 National SLO Conference.
Liaison with Native Americans
The NRC acknowledges the sovereign rights of Federally-recognized Native American Tribal governments. NRC maintains government-to-government communications with those Tribes, as well as with their national organizations, who are potentially affected by, or otherwise interested in, NRC regulatory activities. The NRC initiates contact or responds to requests for information on specific issues related to NRC's policy and regulatory authority, primarily in the areas of high and low-level radioactive waste storage, transportation, disposal, and reclamation. NRC also maintains a cooperative relationship with the National Congress of American Indians and cognizance of their related activities.
Federal Liaison Program
NRC establishes and maintains effective communications at the policy level between NRC and other pertinent Federal agencies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), and the Department of Interior. As prescribed by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), NRC staff communicates NRC analysis and comment on matters related to NEPA procedures and implementation to the CEQ and provides coordination within NRC on those matters, including environmental justice.
As prescribed under the National Historic Preservation Act, NRC staff maintains communication with officials at the National Park Service and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and prepares NRC's response for the Secretary of the Interior's Annual Report to Congress on Federal Archeological Activities.
The NRC works cooperatively with other Federal agencies on joint program activity and shares information on practices and procedures to improve effectiveness and efficiency in Federal services.