The Agencies: Who Does What?
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is an independent agency created by Congress. Its mission is to regulate the nation’s civilian use of radioactive materials in a way that protects public health and safety and the environment. The NRC regulates commercial nuclear power reactors, nuclear fuel cycle facilities and medical, academic, and industrial uses of nuclear materials. The NRC also regulates packaging for the transport, storage, and disposal of nuclear materials and waste, and licenses the export and import of radioactive materials.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) coordinates with the NRC to set rules for the packaging of nuclear materials. DOT also works with the NRC and affected States to regulate their transport. DOT regulates carriers, sets standards for routes, and is responsible for international agreements on the transport of all hazardous materials.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is a forum for scientific and technical cooperation in the nuclear field. Part of the United Nations, the IAEA sets global regulations in many areas of the nuclear industry. IAEA’s regulations for materials packaging and transport serve as a model for the United States and other nations.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is responsible by law for disposal of spent fuel from the nation’s nuclear power reactors.