The OIGʼs responsibility for detecting and preventing fraud, waste, and abuse within the NRC includes investigating possible violations of criminal statutes relating to NRC programs and activities, investigating misconduct by NRC employees, interfacing with the Department of Justice (DOJ) on OIG-related criminal matters, and coordinating investigations and other OIG initiatives with federal, state, and local investigative agencies and other OIGs. Investigations may be initiated as a result of allegations or referrals from private citizens, licensee employees, NRC employees, Congress, other federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, OIG audits, the OIG Hotline, and IG initiatives directed at areas bearing a high potential for fraud, waste, and abuse.
Because the NRCʼs mission is to protect the health and safety of the public, one of the Investigation unitʼs main focuses and use of resources is investigation of alleged NRC staff misconduct that could adversely impact the agencyʼs handling of matters related to health and safety. These investigations typically include allegations of —
- Misconduct by high ranking NRC officials and other NRC officials, such as managers and inspectors, whose positions directly impact the public health and safety;
- Failure by NRC management to ensure that health and safety matters are appropriately addressed;
- Failure by the NRC to appropriately transact nuclear regulation publicly and candidly and to openly seek and consider the publicʼs input during the regulatory process;
- Conflict of interest by NRC employees with NRC contractors and licensees involving such matters as promises of future employment for favorable or inappropriate treatment and the acceptance of gratuities; and,
- Fraud in the NRC procurement program involving contractors violating Government contracting laws and rules.
Other reactive cases involving criminal and other wrongdoing by NRC employees and contractors, as well as proactive initiatives, are also pursued as resources allow.
The investigative process usually begins with the receipt of an allegation of misconduct, fraud or mismanagement. Investigations are opened in accordance with OIG priorities and general guidelines and in consideration of prosecutorial guidelines that may be established by the local U.S. Attorneys for the Department of Justice (DOJ).
Some allegations result in investigations, while others are retained as the basis for audits, referred to NRC management, or, if appropriate, referred to another law enforcement agency.
Upon completion of an investigation, an investigative report is prepared summarizing the facts disclosed during the investigation. The investigative report is distributed to prosecuting attorneys, as appropriate, and to agency officials who may have an official interest in the results of the investigation.
At the conclusion of any court action, the OIG advises the agency of the court results. For those investigations that do not result in a judicial action but are handled administratively by the agency, the OIG monitors any corrective or disciplinary action that may be taken by the agency.
As a complement to the investigation function, the OIG also conducts a limited number of Event Inquiries. These Inquiries are investigative efforts that examine an event or issue without focusing specifically on individual conduct. These reports identify institutional weaknesses or regulatory lapses that led to or allowed a problem to occur.
Report suspected fraud, waste, or abuse to the OIG Hotline.
Learn more about the Frequently Asked Questions About the OIG Hotline.