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Notice

Solicitation of Public Comments on the Implementation of the Reactor Oversight Process

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

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AGENCY:

Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION:

Request for public comment.

SUMMARY:

Over 5 years have elapsed since the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) implemented its revised Reactor Oversight Process (ROP). The NRC is currently soliciting comments from members of the public, licensees, and interest groups related to the implementation of the ROP. An electronic version of the survey questions may be obtained from http://www.nrc.gov/​NRR/​OVERSIGHT/​ASSESS/​rop2005survey.pdf. This solicitation will provide insights into the self-assessment process and a summary of the feedback will be included in the annual ROP self-assessment report to the Commission.

DATES:

The comment period expires on December 1, 2005. The NRC will consider comments received after this date if it is practical to do so, but is only able to ensure consideration of comments received on or before this date.

ADDRESSES:

Completed questionnaires and/or comments may be e-mailed to nrcrep@nrc.gov or sent to Michael T. Lesar, Chief, Rules and Directives Branch, Office of Administration (Mail Stop T-6D59), U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001. Comments may also be hand-delivered to Mr. Lesar at 11554 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland, between 7:30 a.m. and 4:15 p.m. on Federal workdays.

Documents created or received at the NRC after November 1, 1999, are available electronically through the NRC's Public Electronic Reading Room on the Internet at http://www.nrc.gov/​reading-rm.html. From this site, the public can access the NRC's Agencywide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS), which provides text and image files of the NRC's public documents. For more information, contact the NRC's Public Document Room (PDR) reference staff at 301-415-4737 or 800-397-4209, or by e-mail at pdr@nrc.gov.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Ms. Serita Sanders, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation (Mail Stop: OWFN 7A15), U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington DC 20555-0001. Ms. Sanders can also be reached by telephone at 301-415-2956 or by e-mail at SXS5@nrc.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Program Overview

The mission of the NRC is to license and regulate the Nation's civilian use of byproduct, source, and special nuclear materials to ensure adequate protection of public health and safety, promote the common defense and security, and protect the environment. This mission is accomplished through the following activities:

  • License nuclear facilities and the possession, use, and disposal of nuclear materials.
  • Develop and implement requirements governing licensed activities.Start Printed Page 61319
  • Inspect and enforce licensee activities to ensure compliance with these requirements and the law.

While the NRC's responsibility is to monitor and regulate licensees' performance, the primary responsibility for safe operation and handling of nuclear materials rests with each licensee.

As the nuclear industry in the United States has matured, the NRC and its licensees have learned much about how to safely operate nuclear facilities and handle nuclear materials. In April 2000, the NRC began to implement more effective and efficient inspection, assessment, and enforcement approaches, which apply insights from these years of regulatory oversight and nuclear facility operation. Key elements of the Reactor Oversight Process (ROP) include NRC inspection procedures, plant performance indicators, a significance determination process, and an assessment program that incorporates various risk-informed thresholds to help determine the level of NRC oversight and enforcement. Since ROP development began in 1998, the NRC has frequently communicated with the public by various initiatives: conducted public meetings in the vicinity of each licensed commercial nuclear power plant, issued FRNs to solicit feedback on the ROP, published press releases about the new process, conducted multiple public workshops, placed pertinent background information in the NRC's Public Document Room, and established an NRC Web site containing easily accessible information about the ROP and licensee performance.

NRC Public Stakeholder Comments

The NRC continues to be interested in receiving feedback from members of the public, various public stakeholders, and industry groups on their insights regarding the CY 2005 implementation of the ROP. In particular, the NRC is seeking responses to the questions listed below, which will provide important information that the NRC can use in ongoing program improvement. A summary of the feedback obtained will be provided to the Commission and included in the annual ROP self-assessment report.

This solicitation of public comments has been issued each year since ROP implementation in 2000. In previous years, the questions had been free-form in nature requesting written responses. Although written responses are still encouraged, there are specific choices to best describe your experience to enable us to more objectively determine your level of satisfaction.

Questions

In responding to these questions, please consider your experiences using the NRC oversight process.

Shade in the circle that most applies to your experiences as follows: (1) Very much (2) somewhat (3) neutral (4) somewhat less than needed (5) far less than needed.

If there are experiences that are rated as unsatisfactory, or if you have specific thoughts or concerns, please elaborate in the “Comments” section that follows the question and offer your opinion for possible improvements. If there are experiences or opinions that you would like to express that cannot be directly captured by the questions, document that in the last question of the survey.

Questions Related to Specific Reactor Oversight Process (ROP) Program Areas

(As appropriate, please provide specific examples and suggestions for improvement.)

(1) Does the Performance Indicator Program provide useful insights to help ensure plant safety?

12345

Comments:

(2) Does appropriate overlap exist between the Performance Indicator Program and the Inspection Program?

12345

Comments:

(3) Does NEI 99-02, “Regulatory Assessment Performance Indicator Guideline” provide clear guidance regarding Performance Indicators?

12345

Comments:

(4) Does the Inspection Program adequately cover areas important to safety and is it effective in identifying and ensuring the prompt correction of performance deficiencies?

12345

Comments:

(5) Is the information contained in inspection reports relevant, useful, and written in plain English?

12345

Comments:

(6) Does the Significance Determination Process yield an appropriate and consistent regulatory response across all ROP cornerstones?

12345

Comments:

(7) Does the NRC take appropriate actions to address performance issues for those plants outside of the Licensee Response Column of the Action Matrix?

12345

Comments:

(8) Is the information contained in assessment reports relevant, useful, and written in plain English?

12345

Comments:

Questions Related to the Efficacy of the Overall ROP

(As appropriate, please provide specific examples and suggestions for improvement.)

(9) Are the ROP oversight activities predictable (i.e., controlled by the process) and reasonably objective (i.e., based on supported facts, rather than relying on subjective judgement)?

12345

Comments:

(10) Is the ROP risk-informed, in that the NRC's actions and outcomes are appropriately graduated on the basis of increased significance?

12345

Comments:

(11) Is the ROP understandable and are the processes, procedures and products clear and written in plain English?

12345

Comments:

(12) Does the ROP provide adequate regulatory assurance when combined with other NRC regulatory processes that plants are being operated and maintained safely?

12345
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Comments:

(13) Is the ROP effective, efficient, realistic, and timely?

12345

Comments:

(14) Does the ROP ensure openness in the regulatory process?

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Comments:

(15) Has the public been afforded adequate opportunity to participate in the ROP and to provide inputs and comments?

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Comments:

(16) Has the NRC been responsive to public inputs and comments on the ROP?

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Comments:

(17) Has the NRC implemented the ROP as defined by program documents?

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Comments:

(18) Does the ROP minimize unintended consequences?

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Comments:

(19) Please provide any additional information or comments related to the Reactor Oversight Process.

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Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 14th day of October, 2005.

For the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Stuart A. Richards,

Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation, Division of Inspection Program Management, Inspection Program Branch.

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[FR Doc. E5-5796 Filed 10-20-05; 8:45 am]

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