Meeting the Challenge of Regulating New Reactors

As many of you are aware, the much-anticipated and often-written about global surge in interest in nuclear power is underway. Our agency is in the midst of this surge to safely meet the substantial challenge that many industry experts expect to continue in 2011 and well beyond.

In fact, we are actively reviewing 12 combined license applications that, if approved, could result in the construction and operation of up to 20 new reactors. A map of projected locations for new reactors can be found here: http://www.nrc.gov/reactors/new-reactors/col/new-reactor-map.html .

To meet this growing interest in commercial nuclear power, in 2006 the agency created the Office of New Reactors, or in agency-speak, ”NRO.” Located at NRC headquarters, near Washington, D.C., we work closely with a new agency inspection organization in our Region II Office in Atlanta, GA. This structure ensures that we are fully equipped and ready to address the renewed interest in nuclear energy.

Our mission is to serve the public by ensuring the safe, secure and environmentally responsible use of nuclear power in meeting the nation’s future energy needs. However, as federal regulators, it is important to point out that we are not advocates for or against commercial nuclear power.

Our responsibilities in this new office are divided into three subprograms or areas of focus – New Reactor Licensing, Construction Oversight and Advanced Reactors.

In addition, we are active in the international area, including significant participation in the Multinational Design Evaluation Program. This program develops innovative ways to leverage the resources and knowledge of international regulatory authorities to review new reactor power plant designs.

Please look for more detail on each of these areas in future posts. In the meantime, if you have any questions about new reactors, please let us know in the comments to this post.

Bob Jasinski
Senior New Reactors Communications Specialist

Which NRC Data Would Be Most Valuable to You In Open Format?

Data.gov screen

For many years, the NRC has been recognized for proactively making large amounts of data and information available to the public through its website and the Agencywide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS). But until recently, this data has been available primarily on HTML web pages or embedded within PDF documents.

As a result of President Obama’s Open Government Initiative, the NRC, along with other federal agencies, has begun to make more of its data available in open formats that are machine readable. The use of open formats makes it easier for members of the public to access, use, and combine the data for their own purposes.

Until now, the NRC staff has selected datasets for publication based on institutional knowledge and other information such as the most popular pages on our website. As a result of these efforts, the agency has published more than 20 datasets that we believe are of high value to the public. You can see these datasets at our Open Government page and at data.gov.

Some of the datasets have generated a large number of downloads while others have not. You can get the download statistics on our Open Government page (click on NRC High-Value Data-Set Metrics). As you can see from the last column of this spreadsheet, the average monthly downloads currently range from 11 to 94, with the Nuclear Power Reactor Status Report scoring highest.

In the future, the NRC would like to publish datasets based on your input and interests.

With that in mind, our question to you is this: Which datasets would be most valuable to you? Publishing takes resources. By expressing your views, you can help the NRC direct those resources towards publishing the data-sets with the most value to the public. Please provide your answers in the comments section of this post. We look forward to getting your input!

Francine F. Goldberg
Co-chair, NRC Open Government Advisory Group