Public Meeting FAQ

NRC welcomes public participation in its regulatory process. One of the ways the public can participate in this process is by attending and participating in public meetings.

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Index to All Frequently Asked Questions Pages

What are NRC's security requirements for those who wish to attend a public meeting?

Security requirements are provided as part of the NRC policy statement, "Enhancing Public Participation at NRC Meetings," page 7, section F, Visitors and Security, published in the Federal Register on May 28, 2002 (67 FR 36920-36924.

Recognize that the information published reflects the "normal" threat level "yellow" procedures and are subject to change.

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Where can I find NRC's policy on meetings open to the public?

NRC published its complete policy statement on meetings open to the public in the Federal Register on March 19, 2021 (86 FR 14964).

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What are the categories for NRC public meetings?

Consistent with the NRC’s commitment to openness, the level of participation, purpose, and description for each category of public meeting are described below.

Observation Meeting

Meeting Purpose - The purpose of this type of meeting is for the NRC to meet with representatives from one or more groups in an open and transparent manner to discuss regulatory and technical matters. The meeting will inform the public by providing information to help them understand the applicable regulatory issues and NRC actions.

Level of Participation - Other attendees besides the representatives noted above are invited to observe the meeting and discuss regulatory issues with, and pose questions to, the NRC representatives at a designated point or points identified on the agenda. This does not preclude the licensee or other parties from responding to questions if they choose to do so. The NRC staff should strive to ensure sufficient time is allotted for an Observation Meeting to ensure that members of the public can pose questions and have them answered during the meeting. Whether all questions are addressed or not, the NRC staff should emphasize ways members of the public can ask questions outside the meeting.

Description - Meetings in this category include the NRC meeting with one or more industry groups, licensees, vendors, applicants, potential applicants, or nongovernment organizations, to discuss regulatory issues regarding a specific facility (or facilities), certificates of compliance, licenses, or license applications. This category of meeting could also include the NRC meeting with representatives of task force groups, industry groups, or public interest and citizen groups. The primary discussions are expected to occur between the NRC and representatives of those entities or groups.

Information Meeting With a Question and Answer Session

Meeting Purpose - The purpose of this type of meeting is for the NRC to share information and discuss applicable regulatory issues and NRC actions with meeting attendees. The meeting will inform the public by providing information to help them understand the applicable regulatory issues and NRC actions through NRC presentations and discussions with NRC staff. These are organized, yet informal opportunities to interact with and ask questions of the NRC staff not associated with a more traditional public meeting format.

Level of Participation - This type of meeting is tailored to inform attendees and allow them to ask questions. The NRC staff should strive to ensure sufficient time is allotted for an Information Meeting with a Question and Answer Session to ensure that members of the public can pose their questions and have them answered during the meeting. Whether all questions are addressed or not, the NRC should emphasize ways members of the public can ask questions outside the meeting.

Description - Meetings in this category are held with interested parties, including representatives of non-government organizations, private citizens, or various businesses or industries, to engage them in a discussion of regulatory issues.

Comment-Gathering Meeting

Meeting Purpose - The purpose of this type of meeting is for the NRC to obtain feedback on regulatory issues and NRC actions. In most cases, the meeting will include a presentation by the NRC to explain the regulatory issue or action. The feedback received at these meetings is used to support actions such as licensing and rulemaking activities.

Level of Participation - This type of meeting is focused on allowing attendees to provide opinions, perspectives, and feedback. The NRC staff should strive to ensure sufficient time is allotted for a Comment-Gathering Meeting to ensure that members of the public can pose questions and have them answered during the meeting. Whether all questions are addressed or not, the NRC should emphasize ways members of the public can ask questions outside the meeting.

Description - This type of meeting would be held with a broad range of interested parties, including representatives of nongovernment organizations, private citizens, or various businesses or industries, to fully engage them in a discussion of a specific regulatory issue.

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How does NRC notify the public of meetings open to them?

NRC primarily announces meetings that are open to the public on our Public Meetings Schedule page at this Web site. Members of the public who do not have access to the Internet can contact the NRC's Public Document Room staff for information on scheduled meetings.

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When is a meeting announced?

NRC announces meetings no fewer than 10 calendar days before the meeting date. If a meeting must be scheduled but cannot be announced 10 calendar days in advance, the staff will provide as much advance notice as possible.

Meeting notices, changes to meetings, and cancellations will be updated each working day, if required, on the NRC Web site.

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What information is in a meeting announcement?

Meeting announcements include the date, time, and location of the meeting, as well as its purpose, the NRC offices and outside participants who plan to attend, and the name and telephone number of the NRC contact for the meeting.

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What is a public meeting?

A public meeting is a planned, formal encounter open to public observation between one or more NRC staff members and one or more outside persons physically present at a single meeting site, with the expressed intent of discussing substantive issues that are directly associated with the NRC's regulatory and safety responsibilities.

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Who is an outside person?

An outside person is any individual who is not an NRC employee; under contract to the NRC; acting in an official capacity as a consultant to the NRC; acting in an official capacity as a representative of an agency of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the U.S. Government (except when the agency is subject to NRC regulatory oversight); acting in an official capacity as a representative of a foreign government; acting in an official capacity as a representative of a State or local government (except when specific NRC licensing or regulatory matters are discussed).

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When is a meeting not open to the public?

Whether or not a meeting should be open for public attendance depends primarily on the subject matter to be discussed and not on who attends.

In general, meetings between the NRC staff and outside persons will be public meetings unless the staff determines that the subject matter to be discussed--

  • Is specifically authorized by an Executive Order to be kept secret in the interests of national defense or foreign policy (classified information) or specifically exempted from public disclosure by statute;
  • Contains trade secrets and commercial or financial information (proprietary information);
  • Contains safeguards information;
  • Is of a personal nature where such disclosure would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy;
  • Is related to a planned, ongoing, or completed investigation or contains information for law enforcement purposes;
  • Could result in the inappropriate disclosure and dissemination of preliminary, unverified information;
  • Is a general information exchange having no direct, substantive connection to a specific NRC regulatory decision or action;
  • Indicates that the administrative burden associated with public attendance at the meeting could interfere with the NRC staff's execution of its safety and regulatory responsibilities, such as when the meeting is an integral part of the execution of the NRC inspection program.

The policy applies solely to NRC staff-sponsored and -conducted meetings and not to meetings conducted by external organizations. It does not apply to the Commission or offices that report directly to the Commission. It also does not apply to meetings between the NRC staff and representatives of State governments. In addition, the policy does not apply to meetings involving enforcement matters or settlement conferences.

Meetings between staff and licensees or trade groups to discuss technical issues or licensee performance are normally open because they may lead to specific regulatory decisions or actions. However, if a closed meeting involves general information exchange and if those discussions approach issues that might lead to a specific regulatory decision or action, the NRC staff may propose discussing the issues in a future open meeting.

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Page Last Reviewed/Updated Friday, June 03, 2022