United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Criteria in NUREG Are Not Substitutes for Regulations

HPPOS-074 PDR-9111210181

See the letter from R. C. DeYoung to Ira Myers, M.D., dated August 10, 1983, and the incoming request from Dr. Ira Myers (State Health Officer, Alabama Department of Public Health) dated June 9, 1983.

NUREG-0654 contains criteria that the NRC will use in evaluating if a licensee meets regulatory requirements. The criteria in a NUREG are not substitutes for the regulations and compliance is not a requirement.

The State of Alabama requested a formal binding interpretation of 10 CFR 50.47 (b) by the General Counsel. Specifically, the State wanted to know whether the provisions of NUREG-0654 were binding regulation or advisory guidance. Given the lack of dispute about the "guidance" nature of the document, an official interpretation was not needed in order to confirm the NRC's view on this subject. In order for a nuclear power plant to continue operations or to receive an operating license, the regulations require that the NRC find emergency preparedness provides reasonable assurance that adequate protective measures can and will be taken in the event of a radiological emergency.

Section 50.47 of 10 CFR establishes standards that must be met by the onsite and offsite emergency response plans in order for the NRC staff to make a positive reasonable assurance finding.

Guidance to licensees and applicants, as well as to offsite organizations, on methods acceptable to the NRC staff for complying with the Commission's emergency planning regulations for nuclear power reactors is provided in NUREG-0654 / FEMA-REP-1, "Criteria for Preparation and Evaluation of Radiological Emergency Response Plans and Preparedness in Support of Nuclear Power Plants," Revision 1.

This document was published in November 1980 to provide specific acceptance criteria for complying with the standards set forth in Section 50.47 of 10 CFR. The criteria in NUREG-0654 / FEMA-REP-1 have been endorsed in Regulatory Guide 1.101, "Emergency Planning and Preparedness for Nuclear Power Reactors," Revision 2, dated October 1981.

The criteria in NUREG-0654 / FEMA-REP-1, as well as the criteria in any NUREG document, were issued to establish criteria that the NRC staff intends to use in evaluating if an applicant / licensee meets the applicable regulatory requirements. The criteria in a NUREG document are not a substitute for the regulations, and compliance is not a requirement. However, the use of methods or criteria different from those set forth in NUREG documents will be acceptable only if such methods or criteria clearly provide a proper basis for determining that the regulatory requirements have been met.

Regulatory references: Regulatory Guide 1.101, NUREG-0654

Subject codes: 12.6, 12.19

Applicability: Reactors

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Monday, June 08, 2015