Board Mission and Functions
The Board's mandate is provided by its enabling statute, 42 U. S. C.
2286, which directs the Board to:
- Review and evaluate the content and implementation of the standards relating to the
design, construction, operation, and decommissioning of defense nuclear facilities of the
DOE and recommend to the Secretary of Energy those specific measures that should be
adopted to ensure that public health and safety are adequately protected.
- Investigate any event or practice at a DOE defense nuclear facility which the Board
determines has adversely affected or may adversely affect public health and safety.
- Review the design and construction of new DOE defense nuclear facilities.
- Analyze facility design and operational data.
- Provide a meaningful opportunity for public participation in the recommendation process.
Through these functions, the Congress intended that the Board accomplish the following
goals (see Senate Report 100-232, 1987):
- Assure and enhance the safety of operations of DOE's defense nuclear facilities by
providing independent advice to the Secretary of Energy, and critical expertise, technical
vigor, and a sense of vigilance within the Department at all levels.
- Be instrumental in helping DOE develop appropriate and operationally meaningful safety
standards, and ensuring the transition of these standards into clear and consistent
requirements for DOE management and contractors.
- Substantially raise the technical expertise of the Department.
- Assist and monitor the continued development of DOE's internal Environment, Safety, and
- Above all, identify the nature and consequence of any significant potential threats to
public health and safety, elevate such issues to the highest levels of authority, and
inform the public.