The Nuclear Regulatory Commission's policy statement, "Freedom of Employees in the Nuclear Industry to Raise Safety Concerns Without Fear of Retaliation," (61 FR 24336; May 14, 1996) describes a safety-conscious work environment (SCWE) as a work environment where employees are encouraged to raise safety concerns and where concerns are promptly reviewed, given the proper priority based on their potential safety significance, and appropriately resolved with timely feedback to the originator of the concerns and to other employees as appropriate.

SCWEis described as an attribute of safety culture in SECY-04-0111,"Recommended Staff Actions Regarding Agency Guidance in the Areas of Safety-Conscious Work Environment and Safety Culture," August 30, 2004. Fostering an environment for raising concerns continues to be an important attribute of a positive nuclear safety culture, and was included as one of the traits of a positive safety culture in the NRC's Safety Culture Policy Statement (76 FR 34773; June 14, 2011).

Regulatory Issue Summary 2005-18contains guidance for licensees, applicants for a license, holders of certificates of compliance, and their contractors on establishing and maintaining a safety conscious work environment.

Can I raise nuclear safety concerns directly to the NRC?

Yes. Workers in the nuclear industry or members of the general public have the option of reporting nuclear safety concerns directly to the NRC. However, the NRC encourages workers to raise concerns to their employers because the employer has the primary responsibility for ensuring safe operations and is in the best position to address concerns directly and promptly. (See NUREG/BR-0240, "Reporting Safety Concerns to the NRC:" Introduction and A Worker's Role in Nuclear Safetyfor additional details.)

How do I contact the NRC to report a nuclear safety concern?

You may contact any NRC employee, including a resident inspector, or call the NRC's toll-free Safety Hotline: 1-800-695-7403. (See NUREG/BR-0240, "Reporting Safety Concerns to the NRC:" How to Report Nuclear Safety Concerns to NRCfor additional details.)

What kinds of issues can the NRC address and what is the process for addressing them?

The NRC will address all nuclear safety or regulatory concerns involving NRC regulated facilities and licensed nuclear material. Such concerns include those involving design, construction, operation, maintenance, radiation protection, safeguards, security, emergency preparedness, wrongdoing, harassment/intimidation/retaliation/discrimination for raising safety concerns, a work environment that discourages workers from raising safety concerns, and other matters related to NRC-regulated activities. Allegations are assigned for processing to a specific NRC employee. (See NUREG/BR-0240, "Reporting Safety Concerns to the NRC:" Allegation Processfor additional details.)

Source: Nuclear Regulatory Commission