The Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI) is mandated to: 

undertake research and development activities in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, to institute regulations on the said uses and to carry out the enforcement of said regulations to protect the health and safety of radiation workers and the general public.

The Institute through the years: 

1958 - Republic Act No. 2067 (Science Act of 1958) created the Philippine Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC). At the initiative of PAEC, the Congress enacted R.A. 3589 amending R.A. 2067. 

1968 - Republic Act No. 5207 (Atomic Energy Regulatory and Liability Act of 1968) was enacted by the Congress to establish the comprehensive nuclear regulatory function of PAEC. 

1974 - Presidential Decree No. 606 issued on December 13, 1974 constituted PAEC as an independent and autonomous body transferring the same from the National Science Development Board (NSDB) to the Office of the President (OP). 

1977 - With the creation of the Ministry of Energy (MOE) under Presidential Decree 1206 dated October 6, 1977, PAEC was transferred to the control and supervision of the MOE from the Office of the President. 

1980 - Executive Order No. 613 dated August 15, 1980 transferred PAEC from MOE back to the Office of the President. 

1981 - Executive Order No. 708 which was promulgated on July 27, 1981 attached PAEC to the Office of the Prime Minister. 

1984 - On March 17, 1984, Executive Order No. 784 reorganized NSDB to National Science and Technology Authority (NSTA) and placed PAEC under its administrative supervision. Executive Order No. 980 dated August 29, 1984 converted PAEC from a single-headed agency into a multi-headed agency composed of a Chairman and four Associate Commissioners forming the Board of Commissioners. 

1987 - In Executive Order No. 128 dated January 30, 1987, the NSTA was reorganized to the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and PAEC became the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI) headed by a Director and assisted by a Deputy Director.