Enforcement Alternative Dispute Resolution Program (NUREG/BR-0317, Revision 2)

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Publication Information

Date Published: May 2018

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

The Program

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC's) enforcement alternative dispute resolution (ADR) program, formerly referred to as "post-investigation ADR," provides an amicable process for resolving enforcement matters. It is intended to produce more timely and effective outcomes for the NRC and an entity (e.g., an NRC licensee, certificate holder, or contractor of an NRC licensee or certificate holder) or an individual who is subject to an enforcement action, through mediation.

The NRC established the post-investigation ADR program in 2004. In 2015, the NRC expanded its scope to include certain types of enforcement cases that do not involve an investigation. Accordingly, the name of this program was changed from "post-investigation ADR" to "enforcement ADR."

Enforcement ADR includes two distinct case types: (1) discrimination cases or other wrongdoing and, (2) nonwillful (traditional) enforcement cases with the potential for civil penalties (not including violations associated with findings assessed through the Reactor Oversight Process). For discrimination cases or other wrongdoing, mediation is used after the completion of an investigation by the NRC Office of Investigations.

As long as the enforcement matter is within the scope of the program, the NRC normally offers enforcement ADR at each of the following stages of the enforcement process: (1) before an initial enforcement action, (2) after the initial enforcement action is taken, typically upon issuance of a notice of violation, and (3) when a civil penalty is imposed but before a hearing request.

Mediation is an informal process in which a trained and experienced mediator works with the parties to help them reach a resolution. The parties are the NRC and the entity or individual in the mediation. The mediator focuses the attention of the parties on their needs and interests rather than on their stated positions. Mediation gives the parties an opportunity to discuss issues, clear up misunderstandings, identify creative ways to address issues, find areas of agreement, and resolve their dispute.

Participation in the program is entirely voluntary. The NRC and the entity or the individual may withdraw from the mediation process at any time.

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