Acting Public Affairs Officer
Nuclear regulation is the public’s business. For that reason, the NRC considers public participation in its activities to be a cornerstone of strong, fair regulation of the nuclear industry. Yet many people are surprised to hear they can watch the Commission deliberate nuclear safety and security issues in person and see government in action.
And others, who may be aware, are not sure how that works.
To help the public understand what they can expect to see at Commission meetings, the agency recently released an updated brochure: A Guide to Open Commission Meetings.
The guide covers many aspects of the 50 or so public Commission meetings that take place each year at the NRC’s headquarters in Rockville, Md.
During these meetings, NRC staff and invited panelists brief the Commissioners on various topics of interest to the agency, stakeholders, and members of the public. The Commissioners question the presenters, often taking advocacy or opposition roles to stimulate conversation, and talk with one another as they consider the issues before them. To be clear, though, voting does not take place at these meetings.
To find out about upcoming meetings, you can check the schedule for the next six weeks on the NRC’s website or in the Federal Register.
If you are unable to attend in person, most open Commission meetings can be viewed live through the NRC website. Videos and transcripts of these meetings are also archived for later viewing.
While most Commission meetings are public, there are a few exceptions, which are specified in the Sunshine Act. The NRC generally will close meetings when the Commission discusses matters such as security or confidential legal, personnel, personal or proprietary information.
There are also “rules of the road” for attending Commission meetings. Not surprisingly, any actions that disrupt the meeting are not acceptable. The public is permitted to bring in small signs, but cannot wave them around during the meeting. Eating, drinking, or smoking are also not allowed in the Commission Hearing Room. For more details, check out the brochure.
We hope to see you at an upcoming Commission meeting.