Senior Public Affairs Officer
Nuclear regulation is the public’s business, and it must be transacted publicly and candidly. The public must be informed about and have the opportunity to participate in the regulatory processes as required by law. Open channels of communication must be maintained with Congress, other government agencies, licensees, and the public, as well as with the international nuclear community.
Most of us in the NRC’s Office of Public Affairs were trained and have worked as either print or broadcast journalists. That background and our experiences in trying to get information from many different organizations make us all strong advocates for an open flow of information and access for all. The NRC Principle of Openness is a real-world standard that guides everything we do.
Some of the NRC’s activities generate quite a bit of public interest while others may garner little attention. No matter what the issue may be, our goal is always to provide the media and the public with as much information as possible, allowing them to learn about what we do or take an active role in our regulatory process.
We provide letters, reports and other documents on many of the agency’s activities, including detailed information before we issue a license, when we update our regulatory requirements and even when we have technical questions for our applicants or licensees. We believe all people and groups interested in our policies and actions must have access to clear and understandable information.
We hold public meetings near the facilities we regulate, at NRC headquarters and in the four regional offices. Documents and correspondence related to license applications and inspection findings, with the exception of security-related, proprietary, and other sensitive information, are made available through the agency’s web site.
The agency also typically issues news releases when it receives license applications and to announce public meetings, opportunities for hearings, and other public involvement activities. We also use several different social media tools including Twitter, Facebook, this blog and others.
Copies of key documents may be sent to federal, state, local, and tribal authorities, published in the Federal Register, and made available on the NRC web site. Librarians at the NRC’s Public Document Room are available to assist in accessing or obtaining copies of the agency’s documents. We have also established a process to respond to requests made under the Freedom of Information Act.
It can sometimes be frustrating to try to find information from a federal agency or other large organization, but at the NRC, we want to reduce or eliminate that frustration as much as possible. We may not always succeed, but we take the Principle of Openness very seriously and work hard to achieve that goal.
This is the second of five posts exploring each of the Principles of Good Regulation. For the history of the Principles of Good Regulation, read this post.