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§ 2.322 Special assistants to the presiding officer.

a) In consultation with the Chief Administrative Judge, the presiding officer may, at his or her discretion, appoint personnel from the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board Panel established by the Commission to assist the presiding officer in taking evidence and preparing a suitable record for review. The appointment may occur at any appropriate time during the proceeding but must, at the time of the appointment, be subject to the notice and disqualification provisions as described in § 2.313. The special assistants may function as:

(1) Technical interrogators in their individual fields of expertise. The interrogators shall study the written testimony and sit with the presiding officer to hear the presentation and, where permitted in the proceeding, the cross-examination by the parties of all witnesses on the issues of the interrogators' expertise. The interrogators shall take a leading role in examining the witnesses to ensure that the record is as complete as possible;

(2) Upon consent of all the parties, special masters to hear evidentiary presentations by the parties on specific technical matters, and, upon completion of the presentation of evidence, to prepare a report that would become part of the record. Special masters may rule on evidentiary issues brought before them, in accordance with § 2.333. Appeals from special masters' rulings may be taken to the presiding officer in accordance with procedures established in the presiding officer's order appointing the special master. Special masters' reports are advisory only; the presiding officer retains final authority with respect to the issues heard by the special master;

(3) Alternate Atomic Safety and Licensing Board members to sit with the presiding officer, to participate in the evidentiary sessions on the issue for which the alternate members were designated by examining witnesses, and to advise the presiding officer of their conclusions through an on-the-record report. This report is advisory only; the presiding officer retains final authority on the issue for which the alternate member was designated; or

(4) Discovery master to rule on the matters specified in § 2.1018(a)(2).

(b) The presiding officer may, as a matter of discretion, informally seek the assistance of members of the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board Panel to brief the presiding officer on the general technical background of subjects involving complex issues that the presiding officer might otherwise have difficulty in quickly grasping. These briefings take place before the hearing on the subject involved and supplement the reading and study undertaken by the presiding officer. They are not subject to the procedures described in § 2.313.

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