NRC's Transformation Journey

A silhouette of a person's head made up of many small, colored squares which open up to the rear and spread out on a white, rectangle background; the image represents the NRC's Transformation Journey Focus Area.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has embarked upon a transformation effort to become a modern, risk-informed regulator. NRC is transforming to better inform decisions and prepare for the future.

Video: NRC's Transformation Vision

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Why Does the NRC Need to Transform?

NRC is transforming to realize its vision of becoming a modern, risk-informed regulator and be in the best position to continue meeting its important safety and security mission well into the future. Transformation will help the NRC keep pace with the highly dynamic, interconnected environment in which we operate, and to be prepared to regulate an industry that is innovative and has new technologies. Transforming also provides the NRC an opportunity to re-evaluate the way we conduct business to streamline processes and procedures and maximize efficiencies to better serve the American public.

Milestones Along the NRC's Transformation Journey

Initiation of the Futures Assessment

In October 2018, the NRC began the Futures Assessment effort to ensure that the NRC continues to effectively meet our mission in a dynamic and evolving future. The Futures Assessment effort used a scenario planning approach to understand the various ways the future of the NRC's external environment could change, how the NRC could be affected, and steps that the NRC could take to be prepared. The results were published in a report in January 2019, "The Dynamic Futures for NRC Mission Areas." The report describes four hypothetical future scenarios in which the NRC might operate in the years 2030 and beyond. The four scenarios were built on two foundational axes, U.S. nuclear power demand and the level of innovation in nuclear reactors globally. NRC employees and external stakeholders provided insights on how each of the future scenarios might impact the NRC's future mission delivery, operations, and people. Having a better idea of potential future scenarios allows the NRC to make better short-term and long-term adjustments, to be increasingly efficient in our work and to make better decisions. In the end, the NRC will be a more effective regulator.

Agency-wide Conversation on the Future

As part of implementing the insights from the Futures Assessment, the NRC sought to engage its entire staff in a strategic conversation about how the NRC could best plan and prepare for the future. The conversation was intended to build internal engagement and tap the collective wisdom of the staff to help shape the NRC's transformation strategy.

It was important for the agency-wide conversation to be interactive and open to all NRC employees, regardless of their geographic location. Through research, the staff found that a Jam would be a unique way to engage with staff in a virtual environment. A Jam is an event typically held over multiple days on a web-based platform to engage participants in a strategic discussion around a focused topic. The virtual nature of a Jam allows for wide-scale participation, while also incorporating dynamic two-way communication and collaboration. The NRC had never attempted anything like it, but we were eager to incorporate new technology as we looked to transform.

The NRC Futures Jam was held on June 18-20, 2019. Over the course of three days, 73% of the NRC staff engaged in the event by signing on to the virtual Jam platform at least once. Over 30% of staff actively participated by posting comments or liking comments from their colleagues. Using real-time analytics, active facilitation, and subsequent data analysis, the staff mined the over 4,000 comments from the Jam for themes that became the foundation for the NRC's transformation strategy.

NRC Futures Jam
NRC Futures Jam Command Center

Setting the Transformation Vision and Focus Areas

The NRC used the insights from the Futures Assessment and Futures Jam to identify four focus areas for achieving the NRC's transformation vision of being a modern, risk-informed regulator.

  • Our People: We will maintain an engaged and highly skilled workforce now and in the future
  • Be riskSMART: We will make sound decisions while accepting well-managed risks in decisionmaking
  • Using Technology: We will use technology to work smarter, including using data analytics to highlight areas for regulatory attention and improvement
  • Innovation: We will be innovators who make timely decisions that take into account different viewpoints and fully explored options

Each of the four focus areas is supported by one or more transformation initiatives. The initiatives are specific projects, each led by a team of NRC staff, that support the transformation vision and focus areas. The NRC staff provided updates on progress in implementing the transformation initiatives during Commission meetings on October 29, 2019 and September 17, 2020.

  • Becoming a Modern, Risk-Informed Regulator (October 2019 Commission Meeting on Transformation – Meeting Materials) Agencywide Documents Access Management System (ADAMS) Accession No. ML19297F334
  • Becoming a Modern, Risk-Informed Regulator (September 2020 Commission Meeting on Transformation – Meeting Materials) Agencywide Documents Access Management System (ADAMS) Accession No. ML20255A113

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


Page Last Reviewed/Updated Wednesday, November 25, 2020