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Nuclear Energy: NRC Has Made Progress in Implementing Its Reactor Oversight and Licensing Processes but Continues to Face Challenges

GAO-08-114T Published: Oct 03, 2007. Publicly Released: Oct 03, 2007.
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The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is responsible for overseeing the nation's 104 commercial nuclear power reactors to ensure they are operated safely. Since 2000, NRC has used a formal Reactor Oversight Process (ROP) to oversee safety. NRC is also responsible for licensing the construction and operation of new reactors. Electric power companies have announced plans to submit 20 applications in the next 18 months. This testimony is based on GAO reports that reviewed (1) how NRC implements the ROP, (2) the results of the ROP over several years, (3) the status of NRC's efforts to improve the ROP, (4) NRC's efforts to prepare its workforce and manage its workload for new reactor licensing, and (5) NRC's efforts to develop its regulatory framework and review processes for new reactor activities. In conducting this work, GAO analyzed programwide information and interviewed cognizant NRC managers and industry representatives.

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Independent regulatory commissionsInspectionLicensesNuclear facilitiesNuclear facility safetyNuclear reactorsOccupational safetyPerformance measuresPhysical securitySafety regulationSafety standardsGovernment agency oversight