Fuel Cycle Facilities Oversight
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) fuel cycle facilities oversight program includes inspections in the areas of safety, safeguards, and environmental protection. This oversight program applies to major commercial facilities processing highly enriched uranium, low-enriched uranium, natural uranium, depleted uranium, and/or plutonium. The NRC has a separate program for the Oversight of Licensed Uranium Recovery Operations which includes the mining and milling stages of the fuel cycle. For more information on fuel cycle facilities oversight, please see the following topics:
How the NRC Conducts its Oversight Program
NRC inspections at fuel cycle facilities focus on the areas that are most important to safety and safeguards. The inspections are performed using approved inspection procedures. The NRC performs inspections at fuel cycle facilities multiple times a year and cover areas such as security, material control and accounting, nuclear criticality control, chemical processes, emergency preparedness, fire safety, radiation safety, environmental protection, waste management, and others. A full list of NRC inspections routinely conducted at fuel cycle facilities demonstrates the breadth of the topics inspected.
NRC resident inspectors are assigned to operating Category I Fuel Facilities and perform daily inspections at those facilities. The NRC has a full-time resident inspector at two fuel cycle sites.
The NRC Inspection Manual provides guidance for inspectors on the objectives for each type of inspection and procedures to be followed. For more information, see NRC Inspection Manual, Chapter 2600.
Results of Oversight Program
The results of the fuel cycle facility oversight inspections are documented in NRC inspection reports and licensee performance review (LPR) letters. Information about the performance of fuel cycle facilities (i.e. inspection reports and LPR letters) are available to the public in the Agency-wide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS). Fuel cycle facility inspection reports and LPR letters can be found by searching with a licensee's name or docket number. For more information about how the NRC performs an LPR, see NRC Inspection Manual, Chapter 2604.
As part of the fuel cycle oversight process, NRC issues enforcement actions to licensees who violate NRC regulations. These enforcement actions are communicated through inspection reports or letters and include notices of violation, monetary fines, orders to modify, suspend, or revoke a license, or required actions because of a public health issue. Significant enforcement actions taken at the fuel cycle facilities are also summarized. See the Enforcement page for more information on enforcement actions.