Inspections are an important element of NRC's oversight of its licensees. NRC conducts inspections to ensure that licensees meet NRC's regulatory requirements. When licensees meet these requirements, we know that they are most likely conducting safe operations that protect the public and the environment from any undue nuclear risk.
NRC conducts inspections of licensed nuclear power plants, fuel cycle facilities, and radioactive materials activities and operations. Inspectors follow guidance in the NRC Inspection Manual, which contains objectives and procedures to use for each type of inspection. If an inspection shows that a licensee is not safely conducting an activity or safely operating a facility, we inform the licensee of any problems that we find and ensure that they are addressed. We continue to inspect that activity or facility until the problems are corrected.
NRC's regional offices in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania; Atlanta, Georgia; Lisle, Illinois; and Arlington, Texas, carry out the NRC's inspection program. In addition to region-based inspectors, the NRC stations inspectors, called "resident inspectors," at each of the nation's operating nuclear plants and fuel cycle facilities to carry out the inspection program on a day-to-day basis.
The NRC has a comprehensive program of inspections for commercial nuclear power plants. Generally, inspectors verify that the organizational structure, operator qualifications, design, maintenance, fuel handling, and environmental and radiation protection programs are adequate and comply with NRC safety requirements.
The NRC conducts about 1,000 inspections of nuclear material licensees a year. These inspections cover areas such as training of personnel who use materials, radiation protection programs, radiation patient dose records, and security of nuclear materials.
Details of safety oversight, including inspection, are discussed on the following pages:
Nuclear Reactors Oversight
Nuclear Materials Oversight
Radioactive Waste Oversight
Page Last Reviewed/Updated Tuesday, July 07, 2020