Environmental Justice Public Outreach


On this page:

Image of Environmental Justice and dislaying a green scale on top of a plant

The Environmental Justice Review Team has completed its work and submitted its assessment and recommendations to the Commission. You may read a summary of the Team’s findings and access the publicly available documents on the Environmental Justice Assessment page.

The NRC’s Environmental Justice Review Team wants your perspective on how our agency addresses environmental justice in its programs, policies and activities. In your view, what works?  What could be enhanced?  Although we are in the middle of an active outreach effort, we have already begun collecting and assessing comments, critiques and ideas to inform our paper to the Commission, due in late March. On this page, we will update you on our outreach efforts to date and as they progress. Consider bookmarking this page and checking back often for updates. And please listen to our podcast describing our review and outreach.

Some people have asked questions about our public outreach for this important effort, so we want to take this opportunity to describe our big-picture plan of action. In their Staff Requirements Memorandum initiating this environmental justice review, the Commission specifically directed us to engage a broad range of stakeholders to solicit their views. Importantly, our work is just the first step in the agency’s assessment of environmental justice. We are in essence canvasing the landscape. Any policy decisions about the NRC’s approach to environmental justice in its programs, policies and activities would be made by the Commission at a later date.

In response to this direction, we developed a flexible outreach strategy that allows us to learn and adapt our efforts at each step of the process. For example, we’ve already extended the public comment period twice in response to requests for more time, and we will be accepting public comments through October 29, 2021. Also, we’ve heard that certain communities we are trying to reach lack broadband or cell phone access, so may be left unaware of our efforts and unable to participate in our processes. Our traditional means of communicating with the public – news releases, social media, the public meeting schedule on the NRC website, or the Federal Register – may not be reaching these groups. In response, we are trying to adapt by leveraging different ways to maximize participation. For example, we’re using toll free numbers for our public meetings and as a means to gather comments, and we are engaging local community leaders and groups to help us get the word out. So thank you for the feedback. Please keep it coming!

The team’s outreach is focused in three broad areas: Public comment; Targeted outreach to community leaders and groups active in environmental justice, governments --Tribal, local, state and federal – industry, and licensees; and Internal outreach to the NRC staff.

Public Comment

As summarized on the main page for our EJ Review, the Team published a Federal Register notice on July 9 seeking public comment on the NRC’s record in addressing environmental justice. The public comment period has ended. We received approximately 2,500 comment submissions, and the Environmental Justice Review Team is assessing them as we continue to develop our report for the Commission.

Targeted Outreach

The Team has already begun outreach to several groups and officials involved in environmental justice. If you meet this description and have not been contacted by us but would like to be part of this targeted outreach effort, please reach out to us at NRC-EJReview@nrc.gov. These efforts include:

  • Benchmarking environmental justice activities of other State and Federal agencies.
  • Regional outreach to community leaders in areas affected by NRC-licensed activities.
    • In-person government-to-government meetings with state and local officials and meetings with environmental and community groups in Fairfield County, South Carolina, the week of July 23. 
    • The team is planning future discussions with community groups and leaders in the Southwest, Midwest and Northeast.  If you are in these regions and would like to be part of this effort, please reach out to us at NRC-EJReview@nrc.gov.
  • Outreach to Tribal nations.
  • Virtual discussions with industry representatives including the Nuclear Energy Institute and PSEG, as well as outreach during industry conferences including a National Mining Association Meeting on July 28-29.
  • Finally, we are interested  in views from labor unions – another perspective specifically identified by our Commission - if you are from a labor union and have views to share, please contact us at NRC-EJReview@nrc.gov.

Internal Outreach to NRC Staff

Our colleagues at the NRC have a wealth of experience and knowledge about our regulatory processes and our oversight of radioactive materials. We have reached out for their insights on how the NRC addresses environmental justice and how the agency might enhance its work in this important area.

  • The team is conducting interviews with staff experts on environmental reviews and previous licensing actions, rulemakings and adjudications with environmental justice ramifications.
  • We have launched an IdeaScale Challenge Campaign to spark the staff’s creativity for suggestions on how the agency can enhance its environmental justice efforts.
  • We conducted a staff town hall-style meeting in early October to present the progress of our review and receive other comments and suggestions from staff.

The Team is working hard to craft a well-informed paper for the Commission by the mid-February due date, and we are energized by the excitement and interest we have seen generated by this effort! Please continue to provide your feedback and reach out to us with any questions, concerns or recommendations. Our paper will be better for all the outside input we get, which in turn will support any subsequent Commission decision-making. We will post updates on our efforts here so do check back often – and share this link with others that may be interested!

The NRC Environmental Justice Review Team