On December 7, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) published a Proposed Evaluation Policy Statement (the “Proposed Policy Statement”) that seeks public comment regarding the NRC’s use of evidence for many non-adjudicatory agency actions such as licensing, oversight, rulemaking, and others.

The Proposed Policy Statement is driven by a statutory mandate from the 2018 Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act, which aims to improve government evidence-collection activities and ensure that agency actions have an adequate technical basis. The Proposed Policy Statement is intended to help the NRC navigate through various agency activities using widely-accepted evaluation standards as opposed to potentially subjective, and non-systematic standards. While the Proposed Policy Statement uses relatively generic language, the statement and accompanying comment period nonetheless represent an opportunity to help ensure the NRC makes regulatory decisions based on evidence, and acts in a risk-informed manner (and comments could stress certain areas of interest).  At the same time, the Proposed Policy Statement also needs to avoid creating a bureaucratic layer that impedes a move towards performance-based and flexible regulation and acceptance of innovative technologies.

The NRC is specifically seeking comments that “address the extent to which the Proposed Evaluation Policy Statement will facilitate the agency’s review of new and novel technologies and the agency’s efforts to improve internal performance.” However, stakeholders can submit any comments of relevance.

Comments are due January 7.

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