10 CFR § 2.1403 - Authority and role of the NRC staff.
(a) During the pendency of any hearing under this subpart, consistent with the NRC staff's findings in its review of the application or matter that is the subject of the hearing and as authorized by law, the NRC staff is expected to promptly issue its approval or denial of the application, or take other appropriate action on the matter that is the subject of the hearing. When the NRC staff takes its action, it must notify the presiding officer and the parties to the proceeding of its action. That notice must include the NRC staff's explanation why the public health and safety is protected and why the action is in accord with the common defense and security despite the pendency of the contested matter before the presiding officer. The NRC staff's action on the matter is effective upon issuance, except in matters involving:
(1) An application to construct and/or operate a production or utilization facility;
(2) An application for the construction and operation of an independent spent fuel storage installation located at a site other than a reactor site or a monitored retrievable storage facility under 10 CFR part 72; or
(i) The proceeding involves an application denied by the NRC staff or an enforcement action proposed by the staff; or
(ii) The presiding officer determines that the resolution of any issue in the proceeding would be aided materially by the NRC staff's participation in the proceeding as a party and orders the staff to participate as a party for the identified issue. In the event that the presiding officer determines that the NRC staff's participation is necessary, the presiding officer shall issue an order identifying the issue(s) on which the staff is to participate as well as setting forth the basis for the determination that staff participation will materially aid in resolution of the issue(s).
(2) Within fifteen (15) days of the issuance of the order granting requests for hearing/petitions to intervene and admitting contentions, the NRC staff shall notify the presiding officer and the parties whether it desires to participate as a party, and identify the contentions on which it wishes to participate as a party. If the NRC staff desires to be a party thereafter, the NRC staff shall notify the presiding officer and the parties, identify the contentions on which it wishes to participate as a party, and make the disclosures required by § 2.336(b)(3) through (5) unless accompanied by an affidavit explaining why the disclosures cannot be provided to the parties with the notice.
(3) Once the NRC staff chooses to participate as a party, it shall have all the rights and responsibilities of a party with respect to the admitted contention/matter in controversy on which the staff chooses to participate.