State & Tribal Programs

State & Tribal Programs at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) encompass the areas following below. The Office of Nuclear Material, Safety and Safeguards serves as the primary contact for NRC policy matters for these program areas, while the NRC's Headquarters and Regional Offices implement day-to-day program activities.

States Pursuing Agreements with the NRC

Agreement & Non-Agreement States map

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) provides assistance to States expressing interest in establishing programs to assume NRC regulatory authority under the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended. Section 274 of the Act provides a statutory basis under which NRC relinquishes to the States portions of its regulatory authority to license and regulate byproduct, source, and certain quantities of special nuclear materials. The State Agreement and Liaison Programs Branch in the Office of Nuclear Materials Safety and Safeguards (NMSS) has the programmatic lead at the NRC for processing an Agreement application.

The Commission and a State may enter an Agreement whereby the Commission discontinues regulatory authority over a specific category of materials or class of facilities. The State can request an agreement for the authority to regulate byproduct, source, and special nuclear material of a certain quantity.

The NRC staff evaluates the State's Agreement materials program using NMSS Procedure SA-700 Processing an Agreement and its associated handbook. The staff's assessment will need to show that the Agreement materials program satisfies the Commission policy statement Criteria for Guidance of States and NRC in Discontinuance of NRC Regulatory Authority and Assumption Thereof by States Through Agreement (46 FR 7540; January 23, 1981 and 48 FR 33376; July 21, 1983).

"Becoming an Agreement State" describes the steps to obtain an Agreement.

Federal and State Liaison Programs

Federal and State Liaison Programs map of United States

The NRC works in cooperation with Federal, State, and local governments, and interstate organizations, through the Federal and State Programs This cooperation ensures that the NRC maintains effective relations and communications with these organizations. It also promotes greater awareness and mutual understanding of the policies, activities, and concerns of all parties involved, as they relate to radiological safety at NRC-licensed facilities. Under the NRC’s State Liaison Officer Program, every governor appoints a State Liaison Officer who works directly with the NRC’s Regional State Liaison Officers. The goal of the State Liaison Officer Program is to improve cooperation and two-way communication between the NRC and the States.

Tribal Liaison Program

Tribal Liaison Program

The NRC acknowledges the sovereign rights of Federally-recognized Native American Tribal governments. The NRC maintains government-to-government communications with those Tribes, as well as with their national organizations, who are potentially affected by, or otherwise interested in, NRC regulatory activities. The NRC initiates contact or responds to requests for information on specific issues related to NRC's policy and regulatory authority. NRC also maintains a cooperative relationship with the National Congress of American Indians and cognizance of their related activities. To foster effective interaction with Native American tribes, NRC staff employ the Tribal Protocol Manual. Through Tribal Advance Notification, Tribes can choose to receive notification of irradiated reactor fuel or other nuclear waste shipments that passes across their reservation, which recognizes Tribal sovereignty and their governments' interest in being cognizant of activities taking place on Tribal reservations.