In November 2020, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) issued its annual audit plan, which includes an audit concerning transparency (i.e., the public trust and confidence) in the NRC’s regulatory activities.  The audit will examine the NRC’s practice of allowing “drop-in” visits, by senior executives of licensees, especially during times when the NRC staff could be evaluating and deciding on regulatory matters that directly affect the interests of those licensees.
In 2017, the OIG conducted a related audit that also focused upon the public’s trust and confidence in the NRC.  That audit examined the NRC’s procedure that governed its evaluation of 10 CFR §2.206 enforcement petitions. The OIG found that the NRC staff had not issued a single enforcement order, as the result of 38 enforcement petitions that it had received in the prior three fiscal years, ending in 2016. The OIG concluded that, the lack of such actions could adversely affect the public’s perspective on the effectiveness of the agency’s 10 CFR 2.206 petition process. Both audits are discussed herein, via examples that illustrate the NRC’s implementation of its policy of transparency, in theory and practice.