NRC's Declassification Program
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Consistent with our Approach to Open Government, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) believes that information that no longer requires protection (in accordance with established Information Security procedures) should be declassified to promote the free flow of information. Toward that end, the NRC administers its Declassification Program in accordance with Executive Order 13526, “Classified National Security Information,” which President Barack Obama issued on December 29, 2009, as well as NRC Management Directive 12.2, “NRC Classified Information Security Program.” For additional detail, see the following topics on this page:
- The NRC's Declassification Process
- Access to Declassified Information
- Contact Us About Declassification
Executive Order 13256 prescribes a uniform system for classifying, safeguarding, and declassifying national security information. (As such, this new Order replaces Executive Order 12958, which President Clinton issued in 1995 and President Bush subsequently amended in 2003.) As specified in the Executive Order, when information is originally classified (Confidential, Secret, or Top Secret), an original classification authority must establish a specific date or event for declassification based on the duration of the national security sensitivity of the information. Moreover, Section 3.1 of the Executive Order requires information to be declassified as soon as it no longer meets the standards for classification.
Under the NRC's Declassification Program, all classified documents are reviewed for automatic declassification not later than 25 years from the date of the document. Classification determinations are based upon classification guides developed by the U.S. Government. Information may only be declassified by (1) the official who authorized the original classification, (2) a supervisory official (or successor) of the originating classification authority, or (3) agency subject matter experts who have been delegated declassification authority in writing by the NRC. Information that continues to meet the classification requirements of the Executive Order warrants continued protection. Thus, in accordance with Section 3.3 of the Executive Order, NRC senior officials may exempt from automatic declassification certain specific classified information.
A document that is identified as a candidate for declassification will be reviewed by a subject matter expert, who is also an authorized derivative classifier. If the subject matter expert determines that the document is no longer considered classified, it will be recommended for declassification. However, if another Federal agency originated the classified information, the document will be referred back to that agency for declassification review.
For documents that are determined to be appropriately declassified, the classification level and markings will be crossed out, and the document will be returned to the appropriate NRC records management office for archival. In addition, once determined to be non-sensitive, such documents will be made available for public access, consistent with NRC policy, through the Agencywide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS) and/or the agency's public Web site.
The NRC welcomes your input regarding all aspects of the agency's Declassification Program. Please feel free to Contact Us to provide input about the types of information that should be prioritized for declassification, or if you have any other related comments or questions.