United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

The Atomic Safety and Licensing Board Panel (NUREG/BR-0249, Revision 4)

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Publication Information

Date Published: December 2013

U. S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington, DC 20555-0001

Introduction

Through the Atomic Energy Act, Congress made it possible for the public to receive a full and fair hearing on civilian nuclear matters. Individuals who are directly affected by any licensing action involving a facility producing or utilizing nuclear materials can participate in a hearing before independent judges of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Atomic Safety and Licensing Board Panel (ASLBP or the Panel).

The ASLBP is the independent trial-level adjudicatory body of the NRC. Acting on behalf of the Commission, individual Licensing Boards conduct (1) public hearings concerning contested issues that arise in the course of licensing and enforcement proceedings regarding nuclear reactors and the civilian use of nuclear materials in the United States; and (2) uncontested hearings regarding matters such as the construction of uranium enrichment facilities. As such, the ASLBP fulfills both the NRC's obligation to afford the public and those subject to agency enforcement actions an opportunity to challenge proposed licensing and enforcement activities as required by Section 189(a) of the Atomic Energy Act (AEA) and its responsibility under AEA Sections 189(a) and 193 to conduct a public hearing regarding the construction of certain types of facilities, even if there is not a challenge by any affected person or entity. These hearings are conducted in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act and the Commission's implementing regulations, set forth at 10 CFR Part 2.

A unique feature of the ASLBP that distinguishes it from similar federal regulatory or administrative tribunals is that each Licensing Board ordinarily is comprised of three administrative judges, usually consisting of one attorney skilled in the conduct of administrative hearings and two experts in scientific or technical areas relevant to the subject matter of the dispute. This scientific enhancement of the adjudicatory function is statutorily mandated by Section 191 of the AEA.

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