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  • The United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Use of Scientific and Technical Advisory Committees

    The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s ongoing need for scientific and technical advisory committees has recently been highlighted by the continuing study of highly technical issues— the Fukushima disaster, the need to find an alternative to the essentially-defunct Yucca Mountain high-level waste repository, the Obama Administration’s new initiative supporting development of small modular reactors, the newly-voiced concerns about nuclear plants’ vulnerability to cyber-attack, and the NRC’s conclusion that nuclear power reactors in the eastern and central United States are more vulnerable to earthquakes than previously thought. This article provides a survey of the NRC’s advisory committees that now work, or have worked, on technical issues, and is intended to provide the NRC (and perhaps other scientific agencies) with information helpful in structuring and establishing new committees to address budding scientific and technical issues such as those listed above.