Be riskSMART

Background photo of a man's suit starting at the neck tie, with a hand operating a coumputer mouse on a black, rectangle background; superimposed over the photo is a white outline of 5 hexagon shapes connected: 3 on top, 2 on bottom; in the center of each hexagon is an icon; starting with top row left to right: bullseye with arrow stuck in middle; the word Risk in the top center; a vertical bar graph with an arrow across the top following the upward motion of the graph; one black and one white hands in a handshake; 2 meshed gears: one large gear and one small gear to its lower left; the image represents the 'Be riskSMART' Transformation Focus Area.

The NRC has embarked upon a transformation effort to become a modern, risk-informed regulator. To achieve our vision, we will make sound decisions while accepting well-managed risks in decisionmaking.

On this page:

Risk-Informing Our Work

The NRC has a 30+ year history of risk-informing regulatory activities. During this 30-year history, we have continuously improved how we use risk insights to make better informed decisions to meet our important safety and security mission. The Be riskSMART initiative team has developed a holistic, high-level framework that gives staff confidence to consistently apply and communicate risk-insights for all NRC decisions without compromising our mission. The Be riskSMART framework is applicable in all NRC programmatic areas including corporate, technical, and legal support. The framework includes guidance and steps for identifying and managing risk (for issues where there is no pre-determined answer in a law, policy, or standard); performance metrics for how well we are considering risk; and training to ensure a common understanding of risk. NUREG/KM-0016 provides detailed guidance on using the Be riskSMART framework and contains example case studies from across a series of disciplines.

The figure below summarizes the key steps of the Be riskSMART framework:

an infographic image that outlines the summary of the Be riskSMART risk-informed decision-making framework

Summary of the Be riskSMART risk-informed decision-making framework

  • Be... clear about the problem;
  • Spot... what can go wrong or right?, what are the consequences?, and how likely is it?;
  • Manage... what you can;
  • Act... on a decision;
  • Realize... the result, and
  • Teach... others what you learned.

The arrow illustrated under the Be riskSMART logo represents the prompt re-evaluation of a decision to determine if conditions have changed or new information is available.

During the COVID-19 public health emergency, we took a critical look at some of our regulatory processes and applied risk concepts to provide regulatory relief to our licensees. Focusing on safety, we provided temporary flexibilities under some of our regulations, such as 10 CFR Parts 20, 26, 50.48, 55, 50.55a, and 73. We continue to engage with licensees to better understand COVID-19 impacts to their facilities and workforce. We also continue to engage with other stakeholders, such as the Agreement States, to ensure implementation of our important safety and security missions. With the Be riskSMART framework in place, we are making more informed decisions, more quickly with a greater level of transparency. For more information on NRC actions during the COVID-19 public health emergency, visit the NRC COVID-19 Update page.

NRC Processes

The NRC is enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of agency work processes, such as document production and concurrence through the Process Simplification transformation initiative. The NRC is looking to make our day-to-day work more efficient and effective by enhancing guidance and instructions for job-related tasks, streamlining workflows, and encouraging the use of modern information technology. To date, improvements have been identified and implemented in the document development and concurrence processes and communications, and new procedures have been issued to address these process improvements. We are at the early stages of implementing these procedural changes and are hopeful that the improvements to the document development and concurrence processes will lead to a reduction in the time expended on the review and approval processes.

See below to learn more about the NRC's transformation journey and focus areas.


Page Last Reviewed/Updated Wednesday, March 24, 2021