United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Unanswered Questions at the 2013 Fuel Cycle Information Exchange

Questions

Topic: Status of 10 CFR 73 and 10 CFR 26 Rulemakings Comprehensive Security and Fatigue Rulemaking Effort and Importance of Physical Inventories—Robert Caldwell, NRC

  1. The work hours data voluntarily supplied by and discussed with the fuel cycle industry did not identify unacceptable trends or other data or information that would provide a regulatory basis for rulemaking. Does NRC have other data or event information relevant to fuel facilities that has not been shared with industry?

  2. Will the attractiveness portion of the Part 73 rulemaking consider potential use as a radiological dispersed device (i.e. dirty bomb) versus simply for use as an improvised nuclear device?

  3. You both mentioned NRC's involvement with outside entities and extensive international outreach. Considering that 1. Civilian nuclear power growth is expected outside the USA and that 2. The nuclear fuel industry is global in nature and very competitive, what is the level of importance the NRC is placing on these outreach programs in terms of budget and resources in order to support/encourage alignment in safety and security standards internationally?

Topic: Safety Culture: A Continuous Journey-Stephanie Morrow, NRC

  1. Are safety Culture assessments external? What elements are judged?

  2. How are you measuring the effectiveness of your safety culture outreach and education?

  3. From your slides it appears that grading of safety culture is expected. Has anyone graded safety culture and is there guidance for grading from the NRC staff? Will guidance be considered for grading?

  4. NRC has done a lot to encourage a strong safety culture among licensees. What is the NRC doing to improve or enhance its internal safety culture, and ensure that staff and managers can question decision without retribution?

Topic: Corrective Action Program Delivers more than Noncited Violations, and Discussing a Changing Schedule—Rodney Whitley, MOX Services

  1. Due to recent Federal budget decisions, have they impacted any enhancements to the CAP?

  2. The President's FY14 budget includes reduction in resources for MOX construction. Can you talk about the future of the MFFF program?

Topic: Construction at URENCO USA—Jay Laughlin, URENCO

  1. What are the challenges with ongoing enrichment production with construction in parallel?

Topic: Cumulative Effects of Regulation Panel; Stephen Cowne-LES

  1. Can you identify any NRC regulations, guidance, or inspections in which you feel additional clarity is needed to ensure consistent industry and regulator understanding of expectations?

Topic: Construction Lessons learned: An NRC perspective—Bill Gloersen and Dave Tiktinsky

  1. Does the NRC plan to use CROP (or elements of it) for fuel Facilities Construction?

Answers

  1. The work hours data voluntarily supplied by and discussed with the fuel cycle industry did not identify unacceptable trends or other data or information that would provide a regulatory basis for rulemaking. Does NRC have other data or event information relevant to fuel facilities that has not been shared with industry?

    The work hours data provided by industry showed that some fuel cycle facilities have scheduled extended work hours for security officers such that some officers have worked significantly above site averages. This data indicates that these persons could have been adversely impacted by acute and cumulative fatigue and potentially have decreased effectiveness. The data was reviewed at the group level, at the individual level, and compared to the current 10 CFR Part 26 work hour requirements (rolling average and individual limits). The NRC found that some of the facilities would be challenged to meet the requirements that were established to address fatigue for certain nuclear power plant personnel in 10 CFR Part 26. The staff indicated in its presentation that the NRC is taking a more holistic approach, reviewing fatigue studies, as well as how other industries address fatigue. In addition, NRC staff is looking at potential consequences from officer(s) failing to perform their duties at certain fuel cycle facilities. The staff is concerned with the inconsistent approach fuel cycle facilities have taken with addressing fatigue management, which could challenge officers' performance of their duties (i.e., licensee execution of their site security plan and meeting the requirements with 10 CFR Part 73).

    The current approach for managing fatigue at certain fuel cycle facilities is inconsistent with other NRC licensees that fall under fatigue requirements in 10 CFR Part 26 (e.g., security officers at nuclear power reactors), as well as other industries that have implemented fatigue requirements for personnel. . Finally, the staff is following the direction provided within SRM-COMSECY-04-003 and the progress report provided April 29, 2005, to the Commission that outlined the staff's next steps in this effort and as discussed at FCIX 2013.

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  2. Will the attractiveness portion of the Part 73 rulemaking consider potential use as a radiological dispersed device (i.e. dirty bomb) versus simply for use as an improvised nuclear device?

    The material attractiveness portion of the 10 CFR Part 73 rulemaking efforts is not considering use of material in a radiological dispersal device at this time. The NRC and LANL are focusing the development of the attractiveness approach on the capability of the adversary, defining the quantities of special nuclear material (SNM) available to an adversary at Category I, II, and III facilities, and determining the relative cost, time, feasibility and efficiency with which an adversary may process acquired SNM to a weapon useable form. The staff will also be developing security measures to address radiological risks associated with SNM, especially for Category III quantities.

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  3. You both mentioned NRC's involvement with outside entities and extensive international outreach. Considering that 1. Civilian nuclear power growth is expected outside the USA and that 2. The nuclear fuel industry is global in nature and very competitive, what is the level of importance the NRC is placing on these outreach programs in terms of budget and resources in order to support/encourage alignment in safety and security standards internationally?

    As noted in the presentation, regarding the 10 CFR Part 73 rulemaking effort on material attractiveness and the 10 CFR Part 26 rulemaking efforts for fatigue for certain fuel cycle facilities, the NRC is focused on stakeholder outreach and obtaining comments from all stakeholders, including international stakeholders. In addition, the staff requirements memoranda concerning material attractiveness and the cumulative effects of regulation share a common theme in that the Commission has directed the staff to engage a broad range of stakeholders during rulemaking efforts. The staff is committed to, and has dedicated the necessary resources to accomplish its outreach goals to support these rulemaking efforts. As part of the NRC's international outreach, it is supporting the US Government's efforts to bring the material attractiveness concept to the global community and to help in efforts to enhance nuclear security throughout the world. The NRC has set up a web page regarding activities for both these efforts, and will continue to list its outreach activities.

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  4. Are safety Culture assessments external? What elements are judged?

    Safety culture assessments are typically performed by external parties to ensure independence and objectivity. Assessments may consist of a variety of data collection methods, such as surveys, interviews, focus groups, document reviews, and behavioral observations. Assessments can also vary in terms of the elements being evaluated, and are most often structured around a safety culture framework, such as the NRC's safety culture policy statement traits, to assess specific employee attitudes and behaviors, and the programs and processes that support the organization's safety culture.

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  5. How are you measuring the effectiveness of your safety culture outreach and education?

    The Office of Enforcement (OE) plans to begin assessing outreach by benchmarking with other organizations, both regulatory agencies and private companies, to understand what they are doing to communicate safety culture expectations. The benchmarking will provide a foundation for understanding whether our outreach activities and educational tools are consistent with other organizations and if we have areas for potential improvement.

    Second, OE plans to develop a feedback survey to get direct feedback on whether licensees are aware of the policy statement, if they are familiar with our outreach activities and educational tools (like the posters, brochures, case studies), and if they have suggestions for conducting additional outreach. The first stage of the evaluation focuses on the materials communities. i.e., FSME, NMSS, and Agreement States, who decide to participate at an early stage. These entities will be included in the development of the survey to ensure best focus questions for their particular areas.

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  6. From your slides it appears that grading of safety culture is expected. Has anyone graded safety culture and is there guidance for grading from the NRC staff? Will guidance be considered for grading?

    There is no expectation for grading safety culture, and the NRC staff has not published guidance on grading safety culture. In fact, the policy statement makes it clear that "[T]he performance of individuals and organizations can be monitored and trended and, therefore, may be used to determine compliance with requirements and commitments and may serve as an indicator of possible problem areas in an organization's safety culture. NRC will not monitor or trend values. These will be the organization's responsibility as part of its safety culture program."

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  7. NRC has done a lot to encourage a strong safety culture among licensees. What is the NRC doing to improve or enhance its internal safety culture, and ensure that staff and managers can question decision without retribution?

    The NRC's open and collaborative work environment (OCWE) is one of the pillars that support the NRC's approaches to its internal safety culture and the mission to protect public health and safety. In an effort to strengthen the focus on the critical role that management plays in an OCWE, the agency has engaged in a number of new initiatives. This includes the addition of topics to the Executive Leadership Seminar Series for NRC managers, which, in turn, have been adapted into courses taught at NRC's Professional Development Center. For example, "Civility: Building a Better Workplace," "Communicating with Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace," and "Crucial Conversations: How to Have Difficult Workplace Conversations" are offered for managers and staff to help to further develop an environment where employees feel free to raise concerns.

    The NRC understands the ongoing need to reinforce the value of raising concerns and differing views as a way of overcoming perceptions that engaging in differing views processes could result in negative consequences. For example, the NRC Team Player award recognizes individuals who have supported an OCWE by exhibiting positive behaviors in promptly raising, fairly considering, and respecting differing views. In addition, the NRC's Management Directives addressing the agency's Open Door Policy, Non-Concurrence Process, and Differing Professional Opinions programs specifically prohibit retaliation against individuals who engage in these processes. Employees have a number of avenues available within the agency for bringing up issues regarding possible retaliation for raising concerns or differing views.

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  8. Due to recent Federal budget decisions, have they impacted any enhancements to the CAP?

    There has been no impact to our CAP enhancements due to any budgetary discussions. We continue to see improvements in our performance and the process.

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  9. The President's FY14 budget includes reduction in resources for MOX construction. Can you talk about the future of the MFFF program?

    The President's proposed budget did set a lower ear mark for the project, however that budget is not approved, nor is the Senate or House budgets for 2014. The project was given budget planning direction by DOE for 2014 and the project is making plans to comply with that contractual direction. It is our expectation that the budget questions will be resolved such that the project will continue construction and successfully dispose of plutonium in a safe and effective manner that is in the best interest of our country.

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  10. What are the challenges with ongoing enrichment production with construction in parallel?

    We have a number of Items Relied on for Safety that are applied to allow construction while operating. We provide jersey barriers around any of our areas that contain UF6. For anyone to bring a construction related vehicle into the area, they have to go through our administrative controls which includes additional spotters, etc. We also have IROFS to control the placement of cranes or any other equipment that could potentially fall over and land on a building where we have UF6. We have had to coordinate operations schedules to support construction's need for a crane in various locations during the project. Probably one of our bigger impacts is processing the construction work plans through our work control system to ensure we can identify potential challenges of the planned work on any of our operating equipment or processes. Our work control systems also include reviews of work and any potential challenges to our security equipment, or more importantly, any of our classified information systems or areas. Another challenge is bringing new systems or equipment online and integrating them with our operating systems. We generally process a temporary modification for the tie in to ensure we have the correct reviews on potential impacts. After the system or equipment is tied in, we will then finalize the added systems through our design and configuration control programs.

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  11. Can you identify any NRC regulations, guidance, or inspections in which you feel additional clarity is needed to ensure consistent industry and regulator understanding of expectations?

    The post-Fukushima go beyond most licensees design-bases requirements, yet these reviews and inspections have not been codified by rulemaking.

    The Safety Culture Policy Statement has not been formally promulgated to fuel cycle licensees and there certainly has been no rulemaking, yet some inspectors have already started looking at safety culture and providing observations to licensees.

    Reg Guide 3.74 has taken 70.72 beyond the original intent by requiring changes to a SAR to be prior approved by the NRC. The original 70.72 focused on nuclear safety and IROFS. Now RG 3.74 broadens the NRC's prior-approval authority without rulemaking.

    Specifically for URENCO USA, NRC Criticality Safety reviewers have not fully accepted the Safe-By-Design approach even though the original license allows such of an approach. More criticality safety examples specific to LES can be given upon request.

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  12. Does the NRC plan to use CROP (or elements of it) for fuel Facilities Construction?

    While the fuel facility construction inspection program (FFCIP) may not have a construction reactor oversight process (cROP) as described in Inspection Manual Chapter (IMC) 2506, the FFCIP does incorporate most of the cROP elements. For example, the FFCIP elements for the Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility (MFFF) include developing and maintaining programs in the areas of construction inspection, construction assessment and enforcement, construction experience 1, principal systems, structures, and components (PSSCs) construction verification, quality assurance, vendor oversight inspection, and operational readiness review2 . Similar to the cROP, the construction inspection program (CIP) for the MFFF conducts periodic assessments of applicant performance, in addition to the annual assessment, where the inspection program can be supplemented if applicant performance warrants the change. IMC 2630 is currently under revision and includes or will include, with the exception of the construction experience program, additional information on the programs described in the diagram below. The development and maintenance of the MFFF (CIP) is a joint effort by the NMSS program office and the RII Division of Construction Projects. It should also be noted that due to the variances in the regulatory requirements for the construction of a plutonium fuel fabrication facility versus a uranium enrichment facility, the respective FFCIP IMCs are different. A diagram of the MFFF CIP is provided below to show the similarities between the cROP and the MFFF CIP.

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1 Although the MFFF CIP does not have a formal construction experience program, the MFFF CIP does use the existing infrastructure and resources established for NRO's international and domestic reactor construction experience (ConE) program. As appropriate, the MFFF CIP provides construction experience data to the ConE program.

2 The Operational Readiness Review program is currently under development in IMC 2630.

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Thursday, November 07, 2013