Nuclear Reactor Regulation  

Regulation and Laws

This is the start of the regulatory section. In the future more will be added about regulation in the US and other countries. Comparisons will be made of the relationships between the agencies and plant operators. Currently, countries covered are:

United States

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) controls the design and operation through regulations published in Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Energy. Part 50 covers many of the regulations related to nuclear power plants. Part 20 specifies many of the requirements regarding Radiation and exposure to radiation. Sources for the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) are:

  1. NRC Title 10 CFR page
  2. National Archives and Records Administration
  3. Office of Law Revision Counsel US Code (Download - Search)

Title 10 sections have brief descriptions. Thus, the NRC also publishes Regulatory Guides which provide further details to further define how licensees are expected to implement the regulations. Additionally, the NRC may issue NUREG documents to further define expectations. In other cases, the NRC or their contractors issue NUREG documents as a means of summarizing research results. The NRC's Document Collections summary page and Agencywide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS) provide access to thousands of documents about nuclear power regulation in the United States.

The NRC has resident inspectors stationed at each nuclear power plant in the United States. In addition, each of the 4 regions has specialty inspectors who visit the plants to ensure regulations are being complied with in the various areas, e.g. security, radiation protection, operations, maintenance, engineering.

There are 5 NRC commissioners with a large staff based in Gaithersburg, Maryland that deal with plant licensing issues. Dr. Nils Diaz is the current Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

NRC management evaluates each utility's plant(s) performance on an ongoing basis and each year. The NRC has established risk related performance indicators to monitor performance. The Performance Assessment program is described and the results are reported on the NRC site. Each month, each plant reports performance in key safety cornerstone areas.

The NRC has summarized these with on-line NRC Fact Sheets. This listing is maintained by the NRC's Office of Public Affairs.  NUREG-0933 identifies generic issues of concern.. NUREG-0933 includes an Introduction, TMI Action Plan items, Generic Safety Issues, Human factors issues, New generic issues, and Chernobyl issues. The Table of Contents for NUREG-0933 and appendices A through F is provided on this site since the NRC's on-line version consists of 11 different links.

The NRC makes the operating reactor licensees aware of industry events and concerns through several forms of general communications-Administrative Letters (AL), Bulletins (BL), Circulars (CR), Generic Letters (GL), and Information Notices (IN). A current listing of all letters issued is maintained in the NRC Public Document Room Generic Communications file.

Each operator of a nuclear plant must operate according to plant-specific Technical Specifications. These rules identify what equipment must be in service, what must be done if the basic requirements cannot be met, and what testing must be done. The NRC's Technical Specifications page provides detailed requirements for the many reactor types found in the United States.

Key pages on the NRC website are:

Home - Who We Are - What We Do - Nuclear Reactors - Nuclear Materials -  Radioactive Waste - Facility Info Finder - Public Involvement - Electronic Reading Room

National government laboratories support the NRC by conducting applied nuclear safety research and supporting NRC evaluations of licensees. Laboratories include Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, Idaho National Laboratory, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratory.


The Canadian government has two federal institutions involved with nuclear power.

Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission regulates the companies that operate reactors.

Atomic Energy of Canada Limited is the crown corporation involved with the research, design, and marketing of the CANDU design reactors.


The China Atomic Energy Authority is responsible for  nuclear safety management, nuclear material control, radioactive wastes management and disposal.

The National Nuclear Safety Administration provides independent nuclear safety supervision on all civil nuclear facilities including nuclear power plants.

The China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) consists of over 100 member units, with a total staff of 100,000. Subsidiary owner operators are:

  1. Guangdong Nuclear Power Joint Venture Corporation Ltd. owns and operates the Guangdong province facilities (Daya Bay and Ling Ao).
  2. Qinshan Nuclear Power Company is the owner of Qinshan Nuclear Power Station.

China Engineering & Technology Nuclear Information Network

Czech Republic

CEZ is the Czech state power company.

SUJB (State office of Nuclear Safety) is responsible for nuclear safety regulation.

The RWRA (Radioactive Waste Repository Authority) is responsible for disposal of low level and high level radioactive waste.


EdF (Electricite de France) is the French state power company.

L'Autorité de sûreté nucléaire (ASN), is a nuclear safety subsidiary of the Minister of Environment Industry & Health that regulates nuclear safety and radiological protection in France.

CEA (Le Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique) is the French government-funded technological research organisation.


The Federal Environment Ministry is charged with regulating traditional environmental areas and safety of nuclear installations, radiation protection, and disposal of nuclear waste .


The Atomic Energy Regulatory Board's mission is to ensure that ionizing radiation and nuclear energy in India do not cause unacceptable impact on the health of workers, the public, or the environment.

The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) designs, builds, and operates the nuclear power generation facilities in India. India has 14 operating nuclear reactors producing 2,770 Mwe. Eight more reactors with 3,960 MWe capacity are under construction with operation anticipated by 2008.


The Nuclear Safety Commission and Japan Nuclear Safety Organization (JNES) oversee nuclear safety in Japan . JNES provides an operating experience summary of the Japanese power plants. The Japan Atomic Energy Agency is the central nuclear energy research organization.


The Federal Service for Environmental, Technological, and Nuclear Oversight was formed in 2004 combining the Federal Inspectorate for Nuclear and Radiation Safety (known as Gosatomnadzor, or GAN and now know as the Federal Nuclear Oversight Service, the Federal Service for Technological Oversight, and the environmental oversight functions of the Federal Service for Oversight of the Environment and the Use of Nature. Additional information is available on the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) website.


The UJD is the Slovakian Nuclear Regulatory Authority. Established in 1998, UJD oversees the design, construction, operation, and decommissioning of Slovakian nuclear energy facilities at Bohunice (4 units) and Mochovce (2 units).


The Slovenian Nuclear Safety Administration (SNSA) is the regulatory agency charged with (1) protecting the public, workers and the environment from the harmful effects of radiation and (2) ensuring peaceful use of nuclear energy. SNSA regulates nuclear safety at the Krsko plant and Josef Stefan Institute.


The Nuclear Safety Inspectorate regulates the Goesgen, Muehleberg, Beznau, and Leibstadt facilities. NSI provides a map showing plant locations. The map allows you to find the local and net dose rates and precipitation at a number of sites around the nuclear plants. German, French, and English language homepages are provided. The site currently provides Regulatory Guides in English and German.


The Atomic Energy Council (Chinese characters) regulates nuclear power facilities in Taiwan.

United Kingdom

The Nuclear Safety Directorate, a division of the Health & Safety Executive, regulates nuclear power in the UK.

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