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§ 2.709 Discovery against NRC staff.

(a)(1) In a proceeding in which the NRC staff is a party, the NRC staff will make available one or more witnesses, designated by the Executive Director for Operations or a delegee of the Executive Director for Operations, for oral examination at the hearing or on deposition regarding any matter, not privileged, that is relevant to the issues in the proceeding. The attendance and testimony of the Commissioners and named NRC personnel at a hearing or on deposition may not be required by the presiding officer, by subpoena or otherwise. However, the presiding officer may, upon a showing of exceptional circumstances, such as a case in which a particular named NRC employee has direct personal knowledge of a material fact not known to the witnesses made available by the Executive Director for Operations or a delegee of the Executive Director for Operations, require the attendance and testimony of named NRC personnel.

(2) A party may file with the presiding officer written interrogatories to be answered by NRC personnel with knowledge of the facts, as designated by the Executive Director for Operations, or a delegee of the Executive Director for Operations. Upon a finding by the presiding officer that answers to the interrogatories are necessary to a proper decision in the proceeding and that answers to the interrogatories are not reasonably obtainable from any other source, the presiding officer may require that the NRC staff answer the interrogatories.

(3) A deposition of a particular named NRC employee or answer to interrogatories by NRC personnel under paragraphs (a)(1) and (2) of this section may not be required before the matters in controversy in the proceeding have been identified by order of the Commission or the presiding officer, or after the beginning of the prehearing conference held in accordance with § 2.329, except upon leave of the presiding officer for good cause shown.

(4) The provisions of § 2.704(c) and (e) apply to interrogatories served under this paragraph.

(5) Records or documents in the custody of the Commissioners and NRC personnel are available for inspection and copying or photographing under paragraph (b) of this section and § 2.390.

(6)(i) The NRC staff shall, except to the extent otherwise stipulated or directed by order of the presiding officer or the Commission, provide to the other parties within 45 days after the issuance of a prehearing conference order following the initial prehearing conference specified in § 2.329 and without awaiting a discovery request:

(A) Except for those documents, data compilations, or other tangible things for which there is a claim of privilege or protected status, all NRC staff documents, data compilations, or other tangible things in possession, custody, or control of the NRC staff that are relevant to disputed issues alleged with particularity in the pleadings, including any Office of Investigations report and supporting exhibits, and any Office of Enforcement documents, data compilations, or other tangible things regarding the order. When any document, data compilation, or other tangible thing that must be disclosed is publicly available from another source, such as the NRC Web site, http://www.nrc.gov, or the NRC Public Document Room, a sufficient disclosure would be the location, the title, and a page reference to the relevant document, data compilation, or tangible thing; and

(B) A list of all documents, data compilations, or other tangible things otherwise responsive to paragraph (a)(6)(i)(A) of this section for which a claim of privilege or protected status is being made, together with sufficient information for assessing the claim of privilege or protected status of the documents.

(ii) The duty of disclosure under this section is continuing. A disclosure update must be made every month after initial disclosures on a due date selected by the presiding officer, unless the parties agree upon a different due date or frequency. The disclosure update shall be limited to documents subject to disclosure under this section and does not need to include documents that are developed, obtained, or discovered during the two weeks before the due date. Disclosure updates shall include any documents subject to disclosure that were not included in any previous disclosure update. The duty to update disclosures relevant to a disputed issue ends when the presiding officer issues a decision resolving that dispute issue, or at such other time as may be specified by the presiding officer or the Commission.

(7) When any document, data compilation, or other tangible thing that must be disclosed is publicly available from another source, such as at the NRC Web site, http://www.nrc.gov, and/or the NRC Public Document Room, a sufficient disclosure would identify the location (including the ADAMS accession number, when available), the title and a page reference to the relevant document, data compilation, or tangible thing.

(b) A request for the production of an NRC record or document not available under § 2.390 by a party to an initial licensing proceeding may be served on the Executive Director for Operations or a delegee of the Executive Director for Operations, without leave of the Commission or the presiding officer. The request must identify the records or documents requested, either by individual item or by category, describe each item or category with reasonable particularity, and state why that record or document is relevant to the proceeding.

(c) If the Executive Director for Operations, or a delegee of the Executive Director for Operations, objects to producing a requested record or document on the ground that it is not relevant or it is exempted from disclosure under § 2.390 and the disclosure is not necessary to a proper decision in the proceeding or the document or the information therein is reasonably obtainable from another source, the Executive Director for Operations, or a delegee of the Executive Director for Operations, shall advise the requesting party.

(d) If the Executive Director for Operations, or a delegee of the Executive Director for Operations, objects to producing a record or document, the requesting party may apply to the presiding officer, in writing, to compel production of that record or document. The application must set forth the relevancy of the record or document to the issues in the proceeding. The application will be processed as a motion in accordance with § 2.323 (a) through (d). The record or document covered by the application must be produced for the in camera inspection of the presiding officer, exclusively, if requested by the presiding officer and only to the extent necessary to determine:

(1) The relevancy of that record or document;

(2) Whether the document is exempt from disclosure under § 2.390;

(3) Whether the disclosure is necessary to a proper decision in the proceeding; and

(4) Whether the document or the information therein is reasonably obtainable from another source.

(e) Upon a determination by the presiding officer that the requesting party has demonstrated the relevancy of the record or document and that its production is not exempt from disclosure under § 2.390 or that, if exempt, its disclosure is necessary to a proper decision in the proceeding, and the document or the information therein is not reasonably obtainable from another source, the presiding officer shall order the Executive Director for Operations, or a delegee of the Executive Director for Operations, to produce the document.

(f)(1) In the case of requested documents and records including Safeguards Information referred to in Sections 147 and 181 of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended exempt from disclosure under § 2.390, the presiding officer may issue an order requiring disclosure to the Executive Director for Operations or a delegee of the Executive Director for Operations, to produce the documents or records (or any other order issued ordering production of the document or records) if—

(i) The presiding officer finds that the individual seeking access to Safeguards Information to participate in an NRC adjudication has the requisite ‘‘need to know,’’ as defined in 10 CFR 73.2;

(ii) The individual has undergone an FBI criminal history records check, unless exempt under 10 CFR 73.22(b)(3) or 73.23(b)(3), as applicable, by submitting fingerprints to the NRC Office of Administration, Security Processing Unit, Mail Stop T–6E46, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555–0001, and otherwise following the procedures in 10 CFR 73.57(d) for submitting and processing fingerprints. However, before a final adverse determination by the NRC Office of Administration on an individual’s criminal history records check is made, the individual shall be afforded the protections provided by 10 CFR 73.57; and

(iii) The NRC Office of Administration has found, based upon a background check, that the individual is trustworthy and reliable, unless exempt under 10 CFR 73.22(b)(3) or 73.23(b)(3), as applicable. In addition to the protections provided by 10 CFR 73.57 for adverse determinations based on criminal history records checks, the Office of Administration must take the following actions before making a final adverse determination on an individual’s background check for trustworthiness and reliability. The Office of Administration will:

(A) For the purpose of assuring correct and complete information, provide to the individual any records, in addition to those required to be provided under 10 CFR 73.57(e)(1), that were considered in the trustworthiness and reliability determination;

(B) Resolve any challenge by the individual to the completeness or accuracy of the records described in § 2.709(f)(1)(iii)(A). The individual may make this challenge by submitting information and/or an explanation to the Office of Administration. The challenge must be submitted within 10 days of the distribution of the records described in § 2.709(f)(1)(iii)(A), and the Office of Administration must promptly resolve any challenge.

(iv) Individuals seeking access to Safeguards Information to participate in an NRC adjudication for whom the NRC Office of Administration has made a final adverse determination on trustworthiness and reliability may submit a request to the Chief Administrative Judge for review of the adverse determination. Upon receiving such a request, the Chief Administrative Judge shall designate an officer other than the presiding officer of the proceeding to review the adverse determination. For purposes of review, the adverse determination must be in writing and set forth the grounds for the determination. The request for review shall be served on the NRC staff and may include additional information for review by the designated officer. The request must be filed within 15 days after receipt of the adverse determination by the person against whom the adverse determination has been made. Within 10 days of receipt of the request for review and any additional information, the NRC staff will file a response indicating whether the request and additional information has caused the NRC Office of Administration to reverse its adverse determination. The designated officer may reverse the Office of Administration’s final adverse determination only if the officer finds, based on all the information submitted, that the adverse determination constitutes an abuse of discretion. The designated officer’s decision must be rendered within 15 days after receipt of the staff filing indicating that the request for review and additional information has not changed the NRC Office of Administration’s adverse determination.

(2) The presiding officer may include in an order any protective terms and conditions (including affidavits of nondisclosure) as may be necessary and appropriate to prevent the unauthorized disclosure of Safeguards Information.

(3) When Safeguards Information protected from disclosure under Section 147 of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended, is received and possessed by anyone other than the NRC staff, it must also be protected according to the requirements of § 73.21 and the requirements of § 73.22 or § 73.23 of this chapter, as applicable.

(4) The presiding officer may also prescribe additional procedures to effectively safeguard and prevent disclosure of Safeguards Information to unauthorized persons with minimum impairment of the procedural rights which would be available if Safeguards Information were not involved.

(5) In addition to any other sanction that may be imposed by the presiding officer for violation of an order issued pursuant to this paragraph, violation of a provision for the protection of Safeguards Information from unauthorized disclosure that is contained in an order may be subject to a civil penalty imposed under § 2.205.

(6) For the purpose of imposing the criminal penalties contained in Section 223 of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended, a provision for the protection of Safeguards Information from unauthorized disclosure that is contained in an order issued pursuant to this paragraph is considered to be issued under Section 161b of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended.

(g) A ruling by the presiding officer or the Commission for the production of a record or document will specify the time, place, and manner of production.

(h) A request under this section may not be made or entertained before the matters in controversy have been identified by the Commission or the presiding officer, or after the beginning of the prehearing conference held under § 2.329 except upon leave of the presiding officer for good cause shown.

(i) The provisions of § 2.705 (c) and (e) apply to production of NRC records and documents under this section.

[73 FR 63568, Oct. 24, 2008; 77 FR 46597, Aug. 3, 2012]

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Thursday, July 25, 2013