U.S. independent regulatory agency that oversees the civilian use of nuclear energy.
Established in 1974 to replace the Atomic Energy Commission, the NRC licenses the construction and operation of nuclear reactors and other facilities and the ownership and use of nuclear materials. It issues standards, rules, and regulations for the maintenance of licenses, and it regularly inspects nuclear facilities to ensure compliance with public health and safety, environmental quality, national security, and antitrust laws. The NRC also investigates nuclear accidents, conducts public hearings, and reviews power-plant operations. Its commissioners are appointed by the president of the U.S.