Security Clearance Process

Spotlighting the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Security Program

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is the government agency in charge of ensuring the safe use of radioactive materials used to benefit civilization, e.g., nuclear power plants. As you might imagine, the NRC Personnel Security Program runs a tight ship to ensure its’ cleared employees, contractors, and licensees are reliable and trustworthy. The NRC grants “Q”, “L(H)”, or “L” level security clearances for those that need access to nuclear facilities and/or DOE classified information.

Their background investigation and security clearance processes are similar to the DoD, however, the requirements for granting interim (temporary waiver) access are much more stringent, as are self-reporting requirements. Although they follow the guidance for self-reporting found in Security Executive Directive (SEAD) 3, they have additional reporting requirements specific to the NRC. The NRC also does not accept anyone coming in for a classified visit if the visitors only have an interim clearance. Per the NRC Personnel Security Program handbook NRC employees whose clearance is suspended get indefinitely suspended from work until the final determination is made on whether to revoke or reinstate the clearance.

Considering the material and information anyone working for the NRC has access to, it is perfectly logical to have a higher level of personal conduct standards to ensure their employees and contractors are of the highest integrity and trustworthiness. This helps prevent them from potentially being targeted by foreign entities or criminals looking for an easy way to obtain nuclear related information or technology.