NRC staff proposed to the Commission (see SECY-2019-067) certain changes to the Reactor Oversight Process (ROP) on June 28. Overall, these changes, if approved by the Commission, will result in a net reduction in the amount of time the NRC spends on planning and implementing certain inspections, and how it addresses the results of those inspections in the ROP. Proposed focus areas are as follows:

  1. Eliminate the minimum four-quarter requirement for consideration of greater-than-Green inspection findings
  2. Revise greater-than-Green–related performance indicator treatment
  3. Change the description of a White inspection finding from "low to moderate" safety significance to "low" safety significance, and change the description of a Yellow inspection finding from "substantial" to "moderate" safety significance
  4. Revise the sample sizes, which action is expected to reduce NRC inspection person-hours for several common inspections
  5. Revise the frequency of the Problem Identification & Reporting inspection from two three years
  6. Revise the Emergency Planning Significance Determination Process to focus more heavily on functions that have the greatest impact on public health and safety

The NRC on May 3 took the overdue step of withdrawing portions of certain power reactor security requirements—issued via three agency orders in the aftermath of the events of September 11, 2001, which were subsequently captured in agency regulations:

  • EA-02-026, “Order for Interim Safeguards and Security Compensatory Measures” (February 25, 2002)
  • EA-02-261, “Order for Compensatory Measures Related to Access Authorization” (January 7, 2003)
  • EA-03-039, “Order for Compensatory Measures Related to Training Enhancements on Tactical and Firearms Proficiency and Physical Fitness Applicable to Armed Nuclear power Plant Security Force Personnel” (April 29, 2003).

Say hello to CUI and get ready to say goodbye to SUNSI. The commissioners of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) have directed the staff to proceed with a rulemaking to implement the governmentwide Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) program. One impact of this rulemaking will be to eliminate one of our favorite acronyms: Sensitive Unclassified Non-Safeguards Information (SUNSI). But we are still at least a year away from an official change because the staff doesn’t plan to issue a final rule until 2021.

By way of background, the US National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) published the governmentwide CUI rule on September 14, 2016 (81 Fed. Reg. 63,324), seeking to standardize the current patchwork of more than 100 agency-specific policies for handling sensitive unclassified information requiring safeguarding or dissemination controls. That rule (32 CFR Part 2002) establishes specific handling, incident management, inspection, and oversight requirements for covered information. The NRC CUI program will eventually replace the agency’s current SUNSI program, and will retain safeguards information (SGI).

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is seeking public comment on two draft protective order templates intended for use in adjudicatory hearings related to the inspections, tests, analyses, and acceptance criteria (ITAAC) in combined licenses (COL) issued under 10 CFR Part 52.

By way of background, NRC regulations in 10 CFR Part 52 allow the NRC to issue COLs authorizing both construction and operation of a nuclear power plant in a single license. This approach is an alternative to the traditional two-step licensing process codified in 10 CFR Part 50 and is intended to facilitate early resolution of safety and environmental issues before construction begins.

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) staff recently published a paper, SECY-18-0035, with an update regarding its development of a Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) Program for the agency. The staff is still in the early stages of developing the program, which it plans to implement over the next three and a half years.

The US National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) published the CUI Rule on September 14, 2016 (81 Fed. Reg. 63,324), to implement Executive Order 13556, which President Barack Obama issued on November 4, 2010. The CUI Rule seeks to standardize the current patchwork of more than 100 agency-specific policies for handling sensitive unclassified information that requires safeguarding or dissemination controls. The NRC CUI Program will eventually replace the current Sensitive Unclassified Non-Safeguards Information (SUNSI) program, and will also include Safeguards Information (SGI).