United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Avoidance of Mischaracterization of Effect of Certain Communications to Licensees

HPPOS-057 PDR-9111210236

Title: Avoidance of Mischaracterization of Effect of

Certain Communications to Licensees

See the memorandum from H. K. Shapar to H. R. Denton (and

others) dated February 5, 1981. Included with this

document is a second and similar memorandum written by W.

J. Dircks to Chairman Hendrie and Commissioners Gilinsky,

Bradford, and Ahearne dated March 9, 1981. These two memos

emphasize that staff positions are not binding requirements

unless formally issued as regulations or set forth in

orders. NUREG guidance and acceptance criteria documents

should not be viewed as requirements.

In several letters to licensees and in NUREG guidance and

acceptance criteria documents reviewed by OELD, the actions

requested of licensees or the guidance and criteria

contained in staff documents were set forth as

"requirements." Staff positions communicated to licensees

are not binding requirements unless formally issued as

regulations, set forth in orders, or are decisions of an

appropriate commission adjudicatory body. Less formal

methods of communicating staff positions often produce

voluntary licensee action leading to the desired result.

Licensees and the public must be accurately informed as to

when something is a requirement and when the NRC is merely

setting forth guidance, establishing criteria, or asking

licensees voluntarily to do something. To avoid confusion,

guidance, criteria and requests should not contain language

that states or implies that these staff documents are

requirements.

Regulatory references: Regulatory Guides, NUREG Documents

Subject codes: 12.7, 12.19

Applicability: All

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Thursday, March 29, 2012