ACRS History

The organizational history of the Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards (ACRS) began in June 1947 when the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), out of concern for reactor safety, established a blue-ribbon advisory group to evaluate technical health and safety aspects of reactor hazards. This advisory group was known as the Reactor Safeguards Committee. In late 1950, the AEC expanded its safety program by creating a second advisory group, the Industrial Committee on Reactor Location Problems, to evaluate the scientific and environmental aspects of reactor locations. In July 1953, after recognizing that the responsibilities of these two committees had become inter-related, the AEC combined them under the new name, Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards.

In 1957, the ACRS was established as a statutory committee with the passing of the Price–Anderson Bill. The bill mandated that a public hearing be held for each reactor case and that the ACRS reports be made public. Years later with the enactment of the Energy Reorganization Act of 1974, the ACRS was transferred intact from the AEC to the newly established Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). The ACRS is subject to the NRC regulations set forth in 10 CFR Part 7.

The ACRS has a history of recommending innovative and risk-based approaches to regulatory problems. A specific example of this is that the ACRS endorsed the development of an NRC quantitative safety goal policy and developed the first set of quantitative safety goals for nuclear power plants (NUREG-0739). These safety goals were the basis for the later NRC work on the development of an NRC Safety Goal Policy. The ACRS has a significant role in the review and resolution of key technical issues associated with regulation of nuclear power plants.