The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) recently announced that it will hold a public meeting titled The Role of Third Parties in Access Authorization and Fitness-for-Duty Determination. The meeting will take place at NRC headquarters on November 16, 2016, from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. The rulemaking on this topic will eventually resolve whether third parties, or only licensees, can make final determinations on who may have unescorted access to nuclear reactor plants.
The NRC’s Access Authorization and Fitness-for-Duty Rules play an important role in the NRC’s framework by ensuring that reactor licensees have the ability to protect their facilities against security threats, including “insider” assistance. Recent confusion about arbitration’s role or other employment-related dispute resolution mechanisms has led to questions about these mechanisms’ respective roles vis-à-vis the NRC’s licensees in ensuring reactor facilities’ security.