United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Frequently Asked Questions About Training

This section provides the NRC staff's answers to the following questions related to training, as it relates to fitness-for-duty:

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Section 26.29 of the March 31, 2008, rule requires "the successful completion of training by passing a comprehensive examination that addresses the KAs" for certain individuals. The regulation goes on to read, "individuals shall complete refresher training on a nominal 12-month frequency," however, "individuals who pass a comprehensive annual examination that meets the requirements in paragraph (b) of this section may forgo the refresher training." Upon successful completion of the comprehensive examination, are individuals required to pass the comprehensive examination on an annual basis or do they receive only the refresher training on an annual basis? Is the comprehensive examination used for initial training only and refresher training done on an annual basis?

The intent of the training requirements, as they pertain to these questions, is to ensure that all individuals who are subject to the rule attain and retain the knowledge and abilities (KAs) specified in the rule. Individuals are required to demonstrate their initial attainment of the KAs by passing a comprehensive examination (CE) and their retention of the KAs by passing a CE at least annually thereafter. If individuals successfully pass the CE each year, refresher training is not required. However, if individuals do not pass the CE, then the rule requires remediation through refresher training.

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Section 26.29(c)(3) states that "Initial and refresher training may be delivered using a variety of media including, but not limited to, classroom lectures, required reading, video, or computer-based training systems. The licensee or other entity shall monitor the completion of training and provide a qualified instructor or designated subject matter expert (SME) to answer questions during the course of training." Would it be acceptable to provide to personnel the phone number and name of an available SME during training and testing?

Yes, it would be acceptable for the qualified instructor or designated subject matter expert to be available by telephone, provided that he/she is available during the period during which an individual is completing the training.

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10 CFR 26.29(c)(3) states, “Initial and refresher training may be delivered using a variety of media (including, but not limited to, classroom lectures, required reading, video, or computer-based training systems). The licensee or other entity shall monitor the completion of training and provide a qualified instructor or designated subject matter expert to answer questions during the course of training. ”Does the phrase "shall monitor the completion of training..." mean that a proctor is required during the training or testing or simply that the licensee shall have a method of ensuring that everyone has completed the training as required?

The licensee must have a method for ensuring that individuals who receive initial and refresher training complete the training. A proctor is not required to be in the presence of the individual taking and completing the test, as completion could be verified through other means (e.g., receipt of an electronic certificate of completion). However, if a method other than in-person verification of the trainees’ identities is used, the alternate method must include a means of verifying the trainees’ identities.

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Under the current rule, if an employee has a positive drug test they have to be seen by an SAE (Substance Abuse Expert). This SAE has to have a certain credential and has to take qualifying training. Is an SAP (Substance Abuse Professional) that is covered under the DOT 49 CFR Part 40 also an SAE? If an SAP is not a qualified SAE is there an organization that offers the training or can our organization put together a training so credentialed providers can take to become an SAE?

A SAP under 49 CFR Part 40 would be partially qualified to serve as an SAE under 10 CFR Part 26. However, although many of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s SAP and NRC’s SAE provisions are similar, an individual solely trained to be an SAP would not have knowledge of the specific requirements of Part 26 that differ from those contained in Part 40 (e.g., some of the basic knowledge and qualification training requirements in § 26.187(c) and (d) respectively). An organization may develop its own SAE training to satisfy these requirements. The NRC staff cannot recommend an SAE training provider.

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Does an instructor have to be available during computer-based FFD training? See § 26.29(c)(3) which states, in part, that initial and refresher training may be delivered using a variety of media and that the licensee or other entity shall monitor the completion of training and provide a qualified instructor or designated subject matter expert to answer questions during the course of training.

10 CFR 26.29(c)(3) requires licensees to “provide a qualified instructor or designated subject matter expert to answer questions during the course of training.” This provision applies to training using any media (including computer-based training). The requirement could be met, for example, by having a qualified instructor or designated subject matter expert available by telephone to answer questions. The qualified instructor or subject matter expert must be available whenever individuals are completing the training.

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Our local DHHS lab employs a Certifying Scientist that does not meet the degree requirements but has met the requirements for HHS for the past 18 years. Inspectors from the National Laboratory Certification Program have determined that his technical credentials, knowledge base, and scientific acumen are sufficient to execute the duties of certifying scientist and day-to-day supervisor. Does this meet the NRC intent of 10 CFR Part 26?

10 CFR 26.155(b)(2) states: “A certifying scientist shall be an individual with at least a bachelor's degree in the chemical or biological sciences, medical technology, or an equivalent field...” This requirement is different than that described in Section 11 of the HHS guidelines which, in part, describes that a certifying scientist must have a bachelor’s degree or equivalent.

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Is there regulatory or other information regarding the training providers for SAE qualification?

The NRC has no regulatory requirements for SAE trainers. Additionally, the NRC staff cannot recommend a training provider for SAE qualifications. An organization may develop its own SAE training program to satisfy the qualification training and continuing education requirements of the final rule located in § 26.187(d) and (e), respectively.

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Page Last Reviewed/Updated Tuesday, April 30, 2013