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Radiation Safety Division (RSD)
United States Department of Agriculture

Nuclear Regulatory Commission

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (also called, the NRC) is an independent agency of the United States government. It is the Federal regulator of radioactive material, established by the Energy Reorganization Act of 1974 from the United States Atomic Energy Commission.


The NRC:

  • oversees agreement states programs;
  • issues licenses in non-agreement states;
  • regulates all nuclear power plants;
  • issues licenses to Federal agencies in all states.


The NRC is broken down into 4 regions:

  • Region I King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, oversees the north-eastern United States.
  • Region II Atlanta, Georgia, oversees the south-eastern United States.
  • Region III Lisle, Illinois, oversees the northern mid-western United States
  • Region IV Arlington, Texas, oversees the southern midwestern and the western United States.

Numerous special inspection teams, with many different specialties, routinely conduct inspections at various licensee sites, including USDA sites.

Following are some useful NRC links:

Agreement States

Certain states, called Agreement States, have entered into agreements with the NRC that give them the authority to regulate radioactive material within their borders. In the special situation of Federally-controlled sites in Agreement States, the NRC maintains jurisdiction.


Reciprocity Between Licensees

NRC’s materials licensees who wish to conduct operations under reciprocity at temporary job sites in an Agreement State, and who are specifically authorized on the license to conduct such activities, should contact that State’s Radiation Control Program Office for information about State regulations and questions of jurisdiction on Federal lands or facilities within that Agreement State’s boundaries. To ensure compliance with Agreement State reciprocity requirements, licensees should request authorization well in advance of scheduled use.

In the special situation of work at Federally-controlled sites in Agreement States, it is necessary to know the jurisdictional status of the land in order to determine whether NRC or the Agreement State has regulatory authority. NRC has regulatory authority over land determined to be “exclusive Federal jurisdiction,” while the Agreement State has jurisdiction over non-exclusive Federal jurisdiction land. Licensees are responsible for finding out, in advance, the jurisdictional status of the specific areas where they plan to conduct licensed operations. NRC recommends that licensees ask their local contact for the Federal Agency controlling the site to help determine the jurisdictional status of the land and to provide the information in writing, so that licensees can comply with NRC or Agreement State regulatory requirements, as appropriate.