United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

§ 2.1018 Discovery.

(a)(1) Parties, potential parties, and interested governmental participants in the high-level waste licensing proceeding may obtain discovery by one or more of the following methods:

(i) Access to the documentary material made available pursuant to § 2.1003;

(ii) Entry upon land for inspection, access to raw data, or other purposes pursuant to § 2.1020;

(iii) Access to, or the production of, copies of documentary material for which bibliographic headers only have been submitted pursuant to § 2.1003(a);

(iv) Depositions upon oral examination pursuant to § 2.1019;

(v) Requests for admissions pursuant to § 2.708;

(vi) Informal requests for information not made electronically available, such as the names of witnesses and the subjects they plan to address; and

(vii) Interrogatories and depositions upon written questions, as provided in paragraph (a)(2) of this section.

(2) Interrogatories and depositions upon written questions may be authorized by order of the discovery master appointed under paragraph (g) of this section, or if no discovery master has been appointed, by order of the presiding officer, in the event that the parties are unable, after informal good faith efforts, to resolve a dispute in a timely fashion concerning the production of information.

(b)(1) Parties, potential parties, and interested governmental participants, pursuant to the methods set forth in paragraph (a) of this section, may obtain discovery regarding any matter, not privileged, which is relevant to the licensing of the likely candidate site for a geologic repository, whether it relates to the claim or defense of the person seeking discovery or to the claim or defense of any other person. Except for discovery pursuant to §§ 2.1018(a)(2) and 2.1019 of this subpart, all other discovery shall begin during the pre-license application phase. Discovery pursuant to §§ 2.1018(a)(2) and 2.1019 of this subpart shall begin after the issuance of the first pre-hearing conference order under § 2.1021 of this subpart, and shall be limited to the issues defined in that order or subsequent amendments to the order. It is not ground for objection that the information sought will be inadmissible at the hearing if the information sought appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.

(2) A party, potential party, or interested governmental participant may obtain discovery of documentary material otherwise discoverable under paragraph (b)(1) of this section and prepared in anticipation of, or for the hearing by, or for another party's, potential party's, or interested governmental participant's representative (including its attorney, surety, indemnitor, insurer, or similar agent) only upon a showing that the party, potential party, or interested governmental participant seeking discovery has substantial need of the materials in the preparation of its case and that it is unable without undue hardship to obtain the substantial equivalent of the materials by other means. In ordering discovery of these materials when the required showing has been made, the presiding officer shall protect against disclosure of the mental impressions, conclusions, opinions, or legal theories of an attorney or other representative of a party, potential party, or interested governmental participant concerning the proceeding.

(c)(1) Upon motion by a party, potential party, interested governmental participant, or the person from whom discovery is sought, and for good cause shown, the presiding officer may make any order that justice requires to protect a party, potential party, interested governmental participant, or other person from annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, or undue burden, delay, or expense, including one or more of the following:

(i) That the discovery not be had;

(ii) That the discovery may be had only on specified terms and conditions, including a designation of the time or place;

(iii) That the discovery may be had only by a method of discovery other than that selected by the party, potential party, or interested governmental participant seeking discovery;

(iv) That certain matters not be inquired into, or that the scope of discovery be limited to certain matters;

(v) That discovery be conducted with no one present except persons designated by the presiding officer;

(vi) That, subject to the provisions of § 2.390 of this part, a trade secret or other confidential research, development, or commercial information not be disclosed or be disclosed only in a designated way; or

(vii) That studies and evaluations not be prepared.

(2) If the motion for a protective order is denied in whole or in part, the presiding officer may, on such terms and conditions as are just, order that any party, potential party, interested governmental participant or other person provide or permit discovery.

(d) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, and unless the presiding officer upon motion, for the convenience of parties, potential parties, interested governmental participants, and witnesses and in the interest of justice, orders otherwise, methods of discovery may be used in any sequence, and the fact that a party, potential party, or interested governmental participant is conducting discovery, whether by deposition or otherwise, shall not operate to delay any other party's, potential party's, or interested governmental participant's discovery.

(e) A party, potential party, or interested governmental participant who has made available in electronic form all material relevant to any discovery request or who has responded to a request for discovery with a response that was complete when made is under no duty to supplement its response to include information thereafter acquired, except as follows:

(1) To the extent that written interrogatories are authorized pursuant to paragraph (a)(2) of this section, a party or interested governmental participant is under a duty to seasonably supplement its response to any question directly addressed to (i) the identity and location of persons having knowledge of discoverable matters, and (ii) the identity of each person expected to be called as an expert witness at the hearing, the subject matter on which the witness is expected to testify, and the substance of the witness' testimony.

(2) A party, potential party, or interested governmental participant is under a duty seasonably to amend a prior response if it obtains information upon the basis of which (i) it knows that the response was incorrect when made, or (ii) it knows that the response though correct when made is no longer true and the circumstances are such that a failure to amend the response is in substance a knowing concealment.

(3) A duty to supplement responses may be imposed by order of the presiding officer or agreement of the parties, potential parties, and interested governmental participants.

(f)(1) If a deponent of a party, potential party, or interested governmental participant upon whom a request for discovery is served fails to respond or objects to the request, or any part thereof, the party, potential party, or interested governmental participant submitting the request or taking the deposition may move the presiding officer, within five days after the date of the response or after failure to respond to the request, for an order compelling a response in accordance with the request. The motion shall set forth the nature of the questions or the request, the response or objection of the party, potential party, interested governmental participant, or other person upon whom the request was served, and arguments in support of the motion. For purposes of this paragraph, an evasive or incomplete answer or response shall be treated as a failure to answer or respond. Failure to answer or respond shall not be excused on the ground that the discovery sought is objectionable unless the person, party, potential party, or interested governmental participant failing to answer or respond has applied for a protective order pursuant to paragraph (c) of this section.

(2) In ruling on a motion made pursuant to this section, the presiding officer may make such a protective order as it is authorized to make on a motion made pursuant to paragraph (c) of this section.

(3) An independent request for issuance of a subpoena may be directed to a nonparty for production of documents. This section does not apply to requests for the testimony of the NRC regulatory staff under § 2.709.

(g) The presiding officer, under § 2.322, may appoint a discovery master to resolve disputes between parties concerning informal requests for information as provided in paragraphs (a)(1) and (a)(2) of this section.

(h) Discovery under this section of documentary material including Safeguards Information referred to in Sections 147 and 181 of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended, will be according to the provisions in § 2.1010(b)(6)(i) through (b)(6)(vi).

[54 FR 14944, Apr. 14, 1989, as amended at 56 FR 7797, Feb. 26, 1991; 63 FR 71740, Dec. 30, 1998; 69 FR 2266, Jan. 14, 2004; 73 FR 63570, Oct. 24, 2008; 77 FR 46587, Aug. 3, 2012]

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Thursday, July 25, 2013