skip navigation links 
 Search Options 
Index | Site Map | FAQ | Facility Info | Reading Rm | New | Help | Glossary | Contact Us blue spacer  
secondary page banner Return to NRC Home Page
How We Regulate
Regulations and Guidance
Guidance Development
Generic Communications Program
Standards Development
Licensing, Decommissioning, and Certification
Assessment of Performance
Operational Experience
Events Assessment
Generic Issues
Support for Decisions
Risk Assessment
Advisory Activities
CRGR Reviews
Adjudication (Hearings)


On this page:

See also these document collections related to licensing:

(To top of page)

NRC's Licensing Process

NRC licenses the following activities:

  • construction, operation, and decommissioning of commercial reactors and fuel cycle facilities
  • possession, use, processing, exporting, importing, and certain aspects of transporting nuclear materials and waste
  • siting, design, construction, operations, and closure of waste disposal sites

The licensing process includes approving the initial license, subsequent license modifications, and license renewals.

To be licensed to use nuclear materials or operate a facility that uses nuclear materials, an entity or individual submits an application to the NRC. The staff reviews this information, using standard review plans, to ensure that the applicant's assumptions are technically correct and that the environment will not be adversely affected by a nuclear operation or facility. See also Topical Reports.

(To top of page)

License Fees

The NRC is statutorily required to recover most of its budget authority through fees assessed to applicants for an NRC license and to holders of NRC licenses. See also License Fees.

(To top of page)

Public Involvement in Licensing

Involvement in Licensing Actions

The public can become involved in the licensing of a facility and can make their views known to the Commission at various stages in the process. In the pre-licensing stage, the public is notified through the Federal Register, press releases, and local advertisements that an application has been received.

Notices regarding opportunities for hearings or public comment on all reactor licensing actions, including amendments to a facility's operating license, or license renewal proceedings are published in the Federal Register.

If local interest is strong, the NRC may hold public meetings in the vicinity of a proposed facility. Notices of meetings may be mailed to citizens' groups and civic and government leaders in the community and may be advertised in local newspapers.

For nuclear power plants, individuals who are directly affected by the proceeding may participate in a formal hearing. For materials licensees and fuel facilities, however, most hearings are informal. See Public Involvement in Hearings and the Licensing Actions section of the Documents for Comment page for more information on how to participate.

Information on opportunities and requests for a hearing for major licensing and regulatory actions involving nuclear power reactors can be found at Hearing Opportunities and License Applications. Hearing requests and intervention petitions ordinarily must be filed within 60 days of the date of Federal Register publications of the "Notice of Opportunity for Hearing," 10 CFR 2.309.

Involvement in Environmental Impact Review

NRC considers impacts on the environment while reviewing any proposals for new major facilities or other major actions. An Environmental Assessment is usually prepared, which describes the need for a proposed action and a list of the agencies and experts consulted. If the assessment indicates the proposed facility or action will have a significant effect on the environment, an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is also developed by the NRC staff. Both documents are published in the Federal Register exit icon.

The EIS includes information on the physical characteristics of the area -- geology, water, and air -- the ability of the transportation systems to support the facility, and local population data.

Scoping meetings are held in the vicinity of the affected community to provide a forum for members of the public to express their opinion and provide information for the environmental review. These meetings are often held to help NRC identify issues to be addressed in an Environmental Impact Statement and typically involve state and local agencies, Indian Tribes, or other interested people who request participation.

See also NRC's Role Under the National Environmental Policy Act Frequently Asked Questions.

(To top of page)

More Licensing Information

Details of licensing are discussed on the pages specific to the type of license:

Reactor Licensing

Materials Licensing

Radioactive Waste Licensing


(To top of page)

Privacy Policy | Site Disclaimer
Wednesday, February 21, 2007