Are We Writing in Plain English?

Plain Language logoDoes the NRC use too much jargon? Is it hard to figure out what some of our publications are trying to say? Those aren’t rhetorical questions; we really want to know—preferably with some specific examples.

Writing in plain English is a long-standing goal of the NRC. But we are currently renewing our efforts to communicate clearly in response to a new law passed by Congress. Since many of our regulatory functions are highly technical, there will always be some NRC documents that use a lot of technical and scientific terminology. Congress recognizes this and directs agencies to “focus on documents Americans are most likely to encounter” and write “in a way that meets the needs of the intended audience.”

So we will be making an extra effort to use plain writing in the documents most often read by the general public, such as:

• Performance Assessments (For both reactors and fuel cycle facilities)

• Inspection Reports

• Environmental Impact Statements

• Significant Enforcement Actions

• Meeting Notices

If you have specific suggestions for items that are hard to understand, or that need to be written more plainly, please let us know in the comments to this post.

Glenn Ellmers
Communication Specialist