Essay: Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Essay: Nuclear Regulatory Commission
13/04/2011 Comments Off on Essay: Nuclear Regulatory Commission Academic Papers on Politics,Sample Academic Papers admin

Sample Essay


Nuclear Energy has found many positive uses worldwide. The use of nuclear energy has not only been to generate electricity but it has also been widely used in medicine and in research. The process of nuclear energy production involves breaking up of atoms through chain reactions which need to be monitored and controlled with precision as uncontrolled reactions can lead to disaster. Also, the waste produced as a result of reaction as extremely dangerous for public health and the environment and cannot be disposed of with proper treatment and handling. These critical issues have prompted countries to developed standards and procedure to safely employ this technology as well as bodies to regulate them. In the United States, the use of nuclear technology is regulated by Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission was created in 1974 by the US Congress to facilitate and ensure that the radioactive material used in the industry remains under protection and is disposed of safely. This purpose of this strict control is to arrange its use for civilian purposes and to provide protection to the people of the United States and its environment at the same time.

The NRC regulates commercial nuclear power plants as well as the use of nuclear material for other purposes, such as in medicine. It does that through licensing, inspection and enforcement of its requirements (Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 2009).

Functions of NRC

Direction Setting and Policy Making

One of the major responsibilities of NRC is policy making and regulation development regarding nuclear reactors, nuclear material safety, and issuance of an order to licensees and adjudication of legal matters. The Commission is headed by five commissioners who make a decision using the issue papers written by the NRC staff to the commission. These issues are also discussed in meetings with the Commission. Decisions are made by majority vote (Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 2009).

Regulation of Nuclear Reactors

The NRC regulates both commercial power reactors as well as scientific research and test reactors. This is carried out by NRC to ensure that existing reactors follow the guidelines and regulatory requirements for different aspects of registration, safety, and compliance with international bodies. For new reactors,  it reviews the applications submitted by prospective licensees and issues certifications for standard designs, work authorizations, site and work permits as well as operating and combines licenses, when appropriate (Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 2009).

Regulation of Nuclear Material

The NRC also regulates the uses of radioactive material which includes Special Nuclear Material such as Plutonium, Source Materials such as uranium that is not suitable for reactor use, and byproduct materials such as nuclear material which is made radioactive in the reactor and the waste produced from a processed ore. NRC’s regulatory activities for nuclear materials include administration of activities related to the use of nuclear materials in medicine, industry and academic institutions.

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