U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Recommending Third Party Assistance to Licensees
Title: Recommending Third Party Assistance to Licensees
See the memorandum from J. M. Taylor to T. T. Martin (and
others) dated July 15, 1993. This memo, which included an
enclosure entitled "Guidance for Recommending Third Party
Assistance to Licensees," concerns the recommendation of
consultants and contractors to licensees by NRC employees.
To be responsive to licensees requesting assistance in
getting help in solving programmatic problems, inspectors
have provided aid by recommending consultants who could
provide quality work. The NRC staff and management had
informally decided that by recommending multiple
consultants they were avoiding any potential conflict of
interest. The issue was reviewed by the General Counsel in
consultation with the Office of Government Ethics and
concluded that an NRC employee is prohibited from
recommending the services of any particular person or
organization for a project under NRC regulatory
jurisdiction. Providing such a recommendation violated 5
CFR 2635.702. This regulation prohibits Federal employees
from using public office for endorsement of any product,
service, or enterprise.
As an agency, however, the NRC has an obligation to provide
assistance in helping licensees solve problems where the
health and safety of the public are involved. With this in
mind, guidance was issued to assist the Regions in
developing office specific procedures for providing third
party assistance to licensees. The procedures to be
developed by the Regions should address cases where
programmatic problems are involved and identify regional
and national sources of assistance to licensees (see Case 1
below). Examples of sources include the Nuclear News
Buyers Guide or other industry reference documents, another
licensee who has solved a similar problem, or an
appropriate professional society such as the Health Physics
Society, the American Association of Physicists in
Medicine, and the Society for Nuclear Medicine. The
procedures should also address those cases where an
immediate referral may be necessary (see Case 2 below).
Once procedures are developed, their implementation should
be discussed at courses on Fundamentals of Inspection and
inspector counterpart meetings.
Case 1: An NRC employee receives a request for third party
assistance from a licensee.
1. The employee should notify NRC management as soon
2. Following consultation with management, the
employee may refer the licensee to any of the following
a. The current version of the Nuclear News Buyers
Guide. If not otherwise available to the licensee, a copy
of the Buyers Guide can be obtained by contacting the
Accounting Department of the American Nuclear Society, 555
N. Kensington Ave., La Grange Park, IL 60525.
b. After consultation with office / regional management,
a licensee may be referred to another licensee that has
solved a similar problem. When providing the name of a
referral licensee, special care must be taken to avoid the
perception of conflict of interest and that the referred
licensee is not under an OI investigation for misconduct.
c. An appropriate professional society such as the
American Society for Mechanical Engineers or the Health
Physics Society. [Note: Regions may want to keep a list of
local society chapters for referral purposes.]
d. For materials or medical licensees, the NRC
employee may recommend the following professional groups as
a reference source (the following list is not inclusive and
may be added to after confirmation the professional group
is willing to assist third party sources): American Academy
of Health Physics, 8000 West Park Drive, McLean, VA 22102,
Phone No. (703) 790-1745.
American Association of Physicists in Medicine, 335 E. 45th
St., New York, NY 10017, Phone No. (212) 661-9404. [Note:
Moving to Washington, DC area in late 1993.]
Society of Nuclear Medicine / American College of Nuclear
Physicians, Government Relations, 1101 Connecticut Ave. NW,
Washington, DC 20036, Phone No. (202) 429-5120.
American College of Medical Physicists, 1891 Preston White
Dr., Reston, VA 22091, Phone No. (703) 648-8966.
Case 2: An immediate health or safety issue exists and it
is not practical to take the kind of action detailed in
1. The NRC employee may refer the licensee to an
appropriate equipment manufacturer.
2. After consultation and approval from NRC
management, the NRC employee may refer the licensee to one
or more qualified consultants or contractors who can
provide prompt safety assistance. [Note: If the issue is
so immediate that it is not practical to consult with NRC
management, the employee should make the referral first,
and then inform NRC management.] Special care should
always be taken providing recommendations concerning
consultants with whom the recommending staff has a personal
or long standing relationship.
3. Following the action, the NRC employee must
document the event and the justification for the action and
provide a copy to the EDO.
Regulatory references: 5 CFR 2635.702
Subject codes: 12.19