Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), an independent U.S. government commission, created by the Energy Reorganization Act of 1974 and charged with licensing and regulating civilian use of nuclear energy to protect the public and the environment. All licensing and regulatory powers of the former Atomic Energy Commission were transferred to the NRC. The NRC establishes rules for the construction and operation of nuclear reactors; regulates the use, possession, handling, and disposal of nuclear materials; imposes civil penalties for violations; and is authorized to shut down nuclear facilities until violations have been rectified. Four regional offices carry out inspections and investigate nuclear incidents. The NRC also conducts public hearings on nuclear and radiological safety and on environmental and antitrust issues relevant to nuclear energy.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.