Program Offices

§ 1.42 Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards

(a) The Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards (NMSS) is responsible for regulating activities that provide for the safe and secure production of nuclear fuel used in commercial nuclear reactors; the safe storage, transportation, and disposal of low-level and high-level radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel; the transportation of radioactive materials regulated under the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended (the Act); and all other medical, industrial, academic, and commercial uses of radioactive isotopes. The NMSS ensures safety and security by implementing a regulatory program involving activities including licensing, inspection, assessment of environmental impacts for all nuclear material facilities and activities, assessment of licensee performance, events analysis, enforcement, and identification and resolution of generic issues. The NMSS leads, manages, and facilitates rulemaking activities for new, advanced, and operating power reactors, as well as non-power utilization facilities; nuclear materials, including production of nuclear fuel used in commercial nuclear reactors, as well as storage, transportation, and disposal of high-level radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel, and the transportation of radioactive materials regulated by the NRC.

(b) The Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards—

(1) Develops and implements NRC policy for the regulation of: Uranium recovery, conversion, and enrichment; fuel fabrication and development; transportation of nuclear materials, including certification of transport containers and reactor spent fuel storage; safe management and disposal of spent fuel and low-level and high-level radioactive waste; and medical, industrial, academic, and commercial uses of radioactive isotopes;

(2) Has lead responsibility within NRC for domestic and international safeguards policy and regulation for fuel cycle facilities, including material control and accountability;

(3) Plans and directs NRC's program of cooperation and liaison with States, local governments, interstate and Indian Tribe organizations; and coordinates liaison with other Federal agencies;

(4) Participates in formulation of policies involving NRC/State cooperation and liaison;

(5) Develops and directs administrative and contractual programs for coordinating and integrating Federal and State regulatory activities;

(6) Maintains liaison between NRC and State, interstate, regional, Tribal, and quasi-governmental organizations on regulatory matters;

(7) Promotes NRC visibility and performs general liaison with other Federal agencies, and keeps NRC management informed of significant developments at other Federal agencies that affect the NRC;

(8) Monitors nuclear-related State legislative activities;

(9) Directs regulatory activities of State Liaison and State Agreement Officers located in Regional Offices;

(10) Participates in policy matters on State Public Utility Commissions (PUCs);

(11) Administers the State Agreements program in a partnership arrangement with the States;

(12) Develops staff policy and procedures and implements State Agreements program under the provisions of Section 274b of the Act;

(13) Provides oversight of the program for reviews of Agreement State programs to determine their adequacy and compatibility as required by Section 274j of the Act and other periodic reviews that may be performed to maintain a current level of knowledge of the status of the Agreement State programs;

(14) Provides training to the States as provided by Section 274i of the Act and also to NRC staff and staff of the U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force;

(15) Provides technical assistance to Agreement States;

(16) Maintains an exchange of information with the States;

(17) Conducts negotiations with States expressing an interest in seeking a Section 274b Agreement;

(18) Supports, consistent with Commission directives, State efforts to improve regulatory control for radiation safety over radioactive materials not covered by the Act;

(19) Serves as the NRC liaison to the Conference of Radiation Control Program Directors, Inc. (CRCPD) and coordinates NRC technical support of CRCPD committees;

(20) Conducts high-level waste pre-licensing activities, consistent with direction in the Nuclear Waste Policy Act and the Energy Policy Act, to ensure appropriate standards and regulatory guidance are in place, and interacts with the applicant;

(21) Is responsible for regulation and licensing of recycling technologies intended to reduce the amount of waste to be disposed through geologic disposal and to reduce proliferation concerns since the technologies do not produce separated plutonium;

(22) Interacts with the Department of Energy and international experts, in order to develop an appropriate regulatory framework, in recycling during development, demonstration, and deployment of new advanced recycling technologies that recycle nuclear fuel in a manner that does not produce separated plutonium;

(23) Creates and maintains the regulatory infrastructure to support the agency's role in licensing a reprocessing facility and a related fuel fabrication facility and vitrification and/or waste storage facility;

(24) Prepares the NRC to perform its regulatory role for new, expanded, and modified commercial fuel cycle facilities that may include recycling, transmutation, and actinide burning. This includes regulatory processes such as licensing, inspection, assessment of license performance assessment, events analysis, and enforcement that will ensure that this technology can be safely and securely implemented commercially in the United States;

(25) Develops, promulgates, and amends regulations generally associated with the materials regulated by NMSS and for all security-related regulations that will be applied to licensees and holders of certificates of compliance issued by NMSS;

(26) Through a Center of Expertise, leads, manages and facilitates the following rulemaking activities:

(i) Develops and implements policies and procedures for the review and publication of NRC rulemakings, and ensures compliance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act and the Congressional Review Act;

(ii) Supports all technical, financial, legal, and administrative rules, including the development of regulatory analyses and the orderly codification of the NRC's regulations in chapter I of this title; and

(iii) Manages all aspects of the 10 CFR 2.802 Petition for Rulemaking process.

(27) Supports safeguards activities including—

(i) Developing overall agency policy;

(ii) Monitoring and assessing the threat environment, including liaison with intelligence agencies, as appropriate; and

(iii) Conducting licensing and review activities appropriate to deter and protect against threats of radiological sabotage and threats of theft or diversion of nuclear material at regulated facilities and during transport;

(28) Regulates medical, industrial, academic, and commercial uses of radioactive isotopes;

(29) Oversees safe management and disposal of low-level radioactive wastes;

(30) Through a Center of Expertise, plans and directs program for financial assurance of NRC licensees including:

(i) Ensuring licensee compliance with decommissioning funding assurance requirements.

(ii) Preparing safety evaluations for power reactor and research and test reactors, applicants for new reactors, and for actions associated with license transfers and exemption requests in which financial qualifications and decommissioning funding assurance requirements for reactor licensees are assessed.

(iii) Ensuring compliance with power reactor financial protection requirements in the form of insurance and indemnity coverage, and evaluation of foreign ownership, control, or domination concerns for potential new licensees; and

(iv) Ensuring that materials and Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation licensees meet decommissioning funding assurance requirements.

(v) Performing review and evaluation related to reactor facilities insurance, indemnity, and antitrust matters.

(31) Manages the decommissioning of facilities and sites when their licensed functions are over; and

(32) Identifies and takes action for activities under its responsibility, including consulting and coordinating with international, Federal, State, Tribal and local agencies, as appropriate.

(33) Through a Center of Expertise, supports public health, safety, and the environment through activities including:

(i) Leading environmental reviews for the NRC’s licensing actions as required by the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act, Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, National Marine Sanctuaries Act, and the National Historic Preservation Act; and

(ii) Developing and issuing Environmental Impact Statements and Environmental Assessments, and coordinating these activities with other Federal, State, Tribal and local agencies; and

(iii) Monitoring licensee adherence to endangered and threatened species take limits and consulting with other Federal agencies on endangered and threatened species, critical habitats, essential fish habitats, and national marine sanctuary resources.

[52 FR 31602, Aug. 21, 1987. Redesignated at 57 FR 1639, Jan. 15, 1992, as amended at 63 FR 69544, Dec. 17, 1998; 73 FR 5712, Jan. 31, 2008; 79 FR 75737, Dec. 19, 2014; 80 FR 74978, Dec. 1, 2015; 83 FR 30287, Jun. 28, 2018; 88 FR 57876, Aug. 24, 2023]

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Monday, September 25, 2023