United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment
Home > NRC Library > Document Collections > NRC Regulations (10 CFR) >  Part Index > § 2.390 Public inspections, exemptions, requests for withholding.

§ 2.390 Public inspections, exemptions, requests for withholding.

(a) Subject to the provisions of paragraphs (b), (d), (e), and (f) of this section, final NRC records and documents, including but not limited to correspondence to and from the NRC regarding the issuance, denial, amendment, transfer, renewal, modification, suspension, revocation, or violation of a license, permit, order, or standard design approval, or regarding a rulemaking proceeding subject to this part shall not, in the absence of an NRC determination of a compelling reason for nondisclosure after a balancing of the interests of the person or agency urging nondisclosure and the public interest in disclosure, be exempt from disclosure and will be made available for inspection and copying at the NRC Web site, http://www.nrc.gov, and/or at the NRC Public Document Room, except for matters that are:

(1)(i) Specifically authorized under criteria established by an Executive order to be kept secret in the interest of national defense or foreign policy; and

(ii) Are in fact properly classified under that Executive order;

(2) Related solely to the internal personnel rules and practices of the Commission;

(3) Specifically exempted from disclosure by statute (other than 5 U.S.C. 552(b)), but only if that statute requires that the matters be withheld from the public in such a manner as to leave no discretion on the issue, or establishes particular criteria for withholding or refers to particular types or matters to be withheld.

(4) Trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a person and privileged or confidential;

(5) Interagency or intra-agency memorandums or letters which would not be available by law to a party other than an agency in litigation with the Commission;

(6) Personnel and medical files and similar files, the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy;

(7) Records or information compiled for law enforcement purposes, but only to the extent that the production of such law enforcement records or information:

(i) Could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings;

(ii) Would deprive a person of a right to a fair trial or an impartial adjudication;

(iii) Could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy;

(iv) Could reasonably be expected to disclose the identity of a confidential source, including a State, local, or foreign agency or authority, or any private institution which furnished information on a confidential basis, and, in the case of a record or information compiled by a criminal law enforcement authority in the course of a criminal investigation, or by an agency conducting a lawful national security intelligence investigation, information furnished by a confidential source;

(v) Would disclose techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions, or would disclose guidelines for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions if such disclosure could reasonably be expected to risk circumvention of the law; or

(vi) Could reasonably be expected to endanger the life or physical safety of any individual;

(8) Contained in or related to examination, operating, or condition reports prepared by, on behalf of, or for the use of an agency responsible for the regulation or supervision of financial institutions; or

(9) Geological and geophysical information and data, including maps, concerning wells.

(b) The procedures in this section must be followed by anyone submitting a document to the NRC who seeks to have the document, or a portion of it, withheld from public disclosure because it contains trade secrets, privileged, or confidential commercial or financial information.

(1) The submitter shall request withholding at the time the document is submitted and shall comply with the document marking and affidavit requirements set forth in this paragraph. The NRC has no obligation to review documents not so marked to determine whether they contain information eligible for withholding under paragraph (a) of this section. Any documents not so marked may be made available to the public at the NRC Web site, http://www.nrc.gov or at the NRC Public Document Room.

(i) The submitter shall ensure that the document containing information sought to be withheld is marked as follows:

(A) The first page of the document, and each successive page containing such information, must be marked so as to be readily visible, at the top, or by electronic watermark or other suitable marking on the body of the page, with language substantially similar to: ‘‘confidential information submitted under 10 CFR 2.390,’’ ‘‘withhold from public disclosure under 10 CFR 2.390,’’or ‘‘proprietary,’’ to indicate that it contains information the submitter seeks to have withheld.

(B) Each document or page, as appropriate, containing information sought to be withheld from public disclosure must indicate, adjacent to the information, or as specified in paragraph (b)(1)(i)(A) of this section if the entire page is affected, the basis (i.e., trade secret, personal privacy, etc.) for proposing that the information be withheld from public disclosure under paragraph (a) of this section.

(ii) The Commission may waive the affidavit requirements on request, or on its own initiative, in circumstances the Commission, in its discretion, deems appropriate. Otherwise, except for personal privacy information, which is not subject to the affidavit requirement, the request for withholding must be accompanied by an affidavit that--

(A) Identifies the document or part sought to be withheld;

(B) Identifies the official position of the person making the affidavit;

(C) Declares the basis for proposing the information be withheld, encompassing considerations set forth in § 2.390(a);

(D) Includes a specific statement of the harm that would result if the information sought to be withheld is disclosed to the public; and

(E) Indicates the location(s) in the document of all information sought to be withheld.

(iii) In addition, an affidavit accompanying a withholding request based on paragraph (a)(4) of this section must contain a full statement of the reason for claiming the information should be withheld from public disclosure. This statement must address with specificity the considerations listed in paragraph (b)(4) of this section. In the case of an affidavit submitted by a company, the affidavit shall be executed by an officer or upper-level management official who has been specifically delegated the function of reviewing the information sought to be withheld and authorized to apply for its withholding on behalf of the company. The affidavit shall be executed by the owner of the information, even though the information sought to be withheld is submitted to the Commission by another person. The application and affidavit shall be submitted at the time of filing the information sought to be withheld. The information sought to be withheld shall be incorporated, as far as possible, into a separate document. The affiant must designate with appropriate markings information submitted in the affidavit as a trade secret, or confidential or privileged commercial or
financial information within the meaning of § 9.17(a)(4) of this chapter, and such information shall be subject to
disclosure only in accordance with the provisions of § 9.19 of this chapter.

(2) A person who submits commercial or financial information believed to be privileged or confidential or a trade secret shall be on notice that it is the policy of the Commission to achieve an effective balance between legitimate concerns for protection of competitive positions and the right of the public to be fully apprised as to the basis for and effects of licensing or rulemaking actions, and that it is within the discretion of the Commission to withhold such information from public disclosure.

(3) The Commission shall determine whether information sought to be withheld from public disclosure under this paragraph:

(i) Is a trade secret or confidential or privileged commercial or financial information; and (ii) If so, should be withheld from public disclosure.

(4) In making the determination required by paragraph (b)(3)(i) of this section, the Commission will consider:

(i) Whether the information has been held in confidence by its owner;

(ii) Whether the information is of a type customarily held in confidence by its owner and, except for voluntarily submitted information, whether there is a rational basis therefor;

(iii) Whether the information was transmitted to and received by the Commission in confidence;

(iv) Whether the information is available in public sources;

(v) Whether public disclosure of the information sought to be withheld is likely to cause substantial harm to the competitive position of the owner of the information, taking into account the value of the information to the owner; the amount of effort or money, if any, expended by the owner in developing the information; and the ease or difficulty with which the information could be properly acquired or duplicated by others.

(5) If the Commission determines, under paragraph (b)(4) of this section, that the record or document contains trade secrets or privileged or confidential commercial or financial information, the Commission will then determine whether the right of the public to be fully apprised as to the bases for and effects of the proposed action outweighs the demonstrated concern for protection of a competitive position, and whether the information should be withheld from public disclosure under this paragraph. If the record or document for which withholding is sought is deemed by the Commission to be irrelevant or unnecessary to the performance of its functions, it will be returned to the applicant.

(6) Withholding from public inspection does not affect the right, if any, of persons properly and directly concerned to inspect the document. Either before a decision of the Commission on the matter of whether the information should be made publicly available or after a decision has been made that the information should be withheld from public disclosure, the Commission may require information claimed to be a trade secret or privileged or confidential commercial or financial information to be subject to inspection under a protective agreement by contractor personnel or government officials other than NRC officials, by the presiding officer in a proceeding, and under protective order by the parties to a proceeding. In camera sessions of hearings may be held when the information sought to be withheld is produced or offered in evidence. If the Commission subsequently determines that the information should be disclosed, the information and the transcript of such in camera session will be made publicly available.

(c) The Commission either may grant or deny a request for withholding under this section.

(1) If the request is granted, the Commission will notify the submitter of its determination to withhold the information from public disclosure.

(2) If the Commission denies a request for withholding under this section, it will provide the submitter with a statement of reasons for that determination. This decision will specify the date, which will be a reasonable time thereafter, when the document will be available at the NRC Web site, http://www.nrc.gov. The document will not be returned to the submitter.

(3) Whenever a submitter desires to withdraw a document from Commission consideration, it may request return of the document, and the document will be returned unless the information--

(i) Forms part of the basis of an official agency decision, including but not limited to, a rulemaking proceeding or licensing activity;

(ii) Is contained in a document that was made available to or prepared for an NRC advisory committee;

(iii) Was revealed, or relied upon, in an open Commission meeting held in accordance with 10 CFR part 9, subpart C;

(iv) Has been requested in a Freedom of Information Act request; or

(v) Has been obtained during the course of an investigation conducted by the NRC Office of Investigations.

(d) The following information is considered commercial or financial information within the meaning of § 9.17(a)(4) of this chapter and is subject to disclosure only in accordance with the provisions of § 9.19 of this chapter.

(1) Correspondence and reports to or from the NRC which contain information or records concerning a licensee's or applicant's physical protection, classified matter protection, or material control and accounting program for special nuclear material not otherwise designated as Safeguards Information or classified as National Security Information or Restricted Data.

(2) Information submitted in confidence to the Commission by a foreign source.

(e) Submitting information to NRC for consideration in connection with NRC licensing or regulatory activities shall be deemed to constitute authority for the NRC to reproduce and distribute sufficient copies to carry out the Commission's official responsibilities.

(f) The presiding officer, if any, or the Commission may, with reference to the NRC records and documents made available pursuant to this section, issue orders consistent with the provisions of this section and § 2.705(c).

[72 FR 49477, Aug. 28, 2007; 72 FR 49152, Aug. 28, 2007; 75 FR 73937, Nov. 30, 2010]

1 Such records and documents do not include handwritten notes and drafts.

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Thursday, July 25, 2013