Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff recommends AI framework, identifies potential use cases

An artificial intelligence team within the NRC released a report outlining recommendations for the agency to leverage the technology.
Davis Besse Nuclear Power Plant along Lake Erie in Ohio (Getty Images)

Nuclear Regulatory Commission staffers identified  36 potential artificial intelligence use cases — including some involving generative AI —  as part of a series of recommendations to the commissioners and an agency-wide enterprise strategy detailed in a report released Thursday.

In the report, NRC staff recommended an AI framework for the agency to follow, which outlines approaches for AI governance, hiring new talent, upskilling existing workers, maturing the commission’s data management program and allocating resources to support AI integration into IT infrastructure. 

Additionally, NRC staff recommended that the agency invest in “foundational tools” by acquiring gen AI-based services and integrating AI in the NRC’s system for document access and management’s cognitive search technology.

“To effectively implement AI solutions, the NRC will need to develop a framework to deploy AI at the agency,” the report states. “As part of this effort, the NRC will continue to strengthen its many partnerships to stay current with the evolving state of AI. To achieve the promise of AI, leadership engagement will be essential.”


The report pushed for a collaborative approach to furthering the NRC’s use of the technology, pointing to the Chief AI Officers Council, the Responsible AI Officers Council, and other individual agency partnerships as being “essential to the agency’s response to the rapidly changing AI landscape.”

The NRC’s AI team — designated to lead this review by the agency’s executive director for operations — reported working closely with internal data scientists and subject matter experts to consider possible AI uses. Staff reviewed 61 AI use cases and identified 36 that align with tools that have AI capabilities, while the other 25 could “be addressed using non-AI solutions.”

The nuclear industry currently uses AI to “change its approach to some nonregulated activities and has expressed interest in using AI for NRC-regulated activities,” per the report, adding that the NRC is investing in AI research to identify where AI could build foundational knowledge across the agency, while still meeting its mission. 

Staff reported that the broad approach to AI research is “preparing the agency to use AI to increase staff knowledge and experience for future regulatory reviews and oversight.”

The NRC’s congressional budget justification for fiscal year 2025 carved out over $4 million for AI-related funds.


Correction: This story was updated May 13, 2024, to indicate that the nuclear industry, not the NRC, is using AI to alter its approach on some nonregulated activities.

Caroline Nihill

Written by Caroline Nihill

Caroline Nihill is a reporter for FedScoop in Washington, D.C., covering federal IT. Her reporting has included the tracking of artificial intelligence governance from the White House and Congress, as well as modernization efforts across the federal government. Caroline was previously an editorial fellow for Scoop News Group, writing for FedScoop, StateScoop, CyberScoop, EdScoop and DefenseScoop. She earned her bachelor’s in media and journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill after transferring from the University of Mississippi.

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