United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment
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§ 10.28 Conduct of hearing.

(a) The Hearing Examiner shall conduct the hearing in an orderly, impartial and decorous manner. Technical rules of evidence may be relaxed so that a full evidentiary record may be made based on all material and relevant facts. Hearsay evidence may for good cause shown be received at the discretion of the Hearing Examiner and accorded such weight as the circumstances warrant.

(b) The proceedings shall be open only to duly authorized representatives of the staff of the NRC, the individual, his or her counsel or representative, and such persons as may be officially authorized by the Hearing Examiner. Witnesses shall not testify in the presence of other witnesses except that the Hearing Examiner may, at his or her discretion, allow for expert witnesses to be present during testimony relevant to their own testimony.

(c) Witnesses, including the individual, shall be examined under oath or affirmation by the party who called them and may be cross-examined by the other. The Hearing Examiner shall rule on all evidentiary matters, may further examine any witness, and may call for additional witnesses or the production of documentary or other physical evidence if, in the exercise of his or her discretion, such additional evidence is deemed necessary to the resolution of an issue.

(d) If it appears during the hearing that Restricted Data or national security information may be disclosed, the Hearing Examiner shall assure that disclosure is made only to persons authorized to receive it.

(e) The Hearing Examiner may, at any time during the hearing, permit the Hearing Counsel to amend the notification letter to add or modify allegations to be considered. In the event of such an amendment to the notification letter, the individual shall be given an opportunity to answer the amended allegations. If the changes are of such a substantial nature that the individual cannot answer the amended allegations without additional time, the Hearing Examiner shall grant such additional time as he or she deems necessary.

(f) The Hearing Examiner may receive and consider evidence in the form of depositions or responses to interrogatories upon a showing that the witness is not available for good reason such as death, serious illness or similar cause, or in the form of depositions, interrogatories, affidavits or statements with agreement of the parties. The Hearing Examiner may take official notice at any stage of the proceeding, where appropriate, of any fact not subject to reasonable dispute in that it is either (1) generally known within the United States or (2) capable of accurate and ready determination by resort to sources whose accuracy cannot reasonably be questioned. A party is entitled upon timely request to an opportunity to be heard as to the propriety of taking such official notice. In the absence of prior notification the request may be made after notice is taken.

(g) Hearing Counsel shall examine and cross-examine witnesses and otherwise assist the Hearing Examiner in such a manner as to bring out a full and true disclosure of all facts, both favorable and unfavorable, having a bearing on the issues before the Hearing Examiner. In performing these duties, the Hearing Counsel shall avoid the attitude of a prosecutor and shall always bear in mind that the proceeding is an administrative hearing and not a trial.

(h) Hearing Counsel shall not participate in the deliberations of the Hearing Examiner, and shall express no opinion to the Hearing Examiner concerning the merits of the case. Hearing Counsel shall also, during the course of the hearing, advise the individual of his or her rights under these procedures when the individual is not represented by counsel or other representative.

(i) The individual shall be afforded an opportunity to cross-examine persons who have made oral or written statements adverse to the individual relating to a controverted issue except that any such statement may be received and considered by the Hearing Examiner without affording such opportunity in either of the following circumstances:

(1) The head of the department or agency supplying the statement certifies that the person who furnished the information is a confidential informant who has been engaged in obtaining intelligence information for the Government and that disclosure of the informant's identity would substantially harm the national interest or would endanger the well-being of the informant.

(2) The Commission has determined, after considering the information furnished by the investigative agency concerning the reliability of the person who furnished the information and the accuracy of the statement concerned, that the statement appears to be reliable and material, and that failure of the Hearing Examiner to receive and consider such statement would, in view of the fact that access authorization and/or employment clearance is being sought, be substantially harmful to the national security and that the person who furnished the information cannot appear to testify due to death, serious illness, or similar cause.

(j)(1) Whenever the procedure under paragraph (i)(1) of this section is used, the individual shall be given a summary of the information which shall be as comprehensive and detailed as the national security permits.

(2) Whenever the procedure under paragraph (i)(2) is used, the individual shall be provided the identity of the person and the information to be considered.

(3) In both paragraph (i) (1) and (2) procedures, appropriate consideration shall be accorded to the fact that the individual did not have an opportunity to cross-examine such informant or person.

(k) Records provided by investigative agencies that were compiled as a regular or routine procedure by the business or agency from which obtained, or other physical evidence other than investigative reports, may be received and considered subject to rebuttal without authenticating witnesses, provided that the investigative agency furnished such information to the NRC pursuant to its responsibilities in connection with assisting the NRC in determining the individual's eligibility for access authorization and/or employment clearance.

(l) Records compiled in the regular course of business, or other physical evidence other than investigative reports, relating to a controverted issue which, because they are classified, may not be inspected by the individual, may be received and considered provided that:

(1) The Commission has made a determination that such records or other physical evidence appears to be material;

(2) The Commission has made a determination that failure to receive and consider such records or other physical evidence would, in view of the fact that access authorization and/or employment clearance is being sought, be substantially harmful to the national security; and

(3) To the extent that national security permits, a summary or description of such records or other physical evidence is made available to the individual. In every such case, information as to the authenticity and accuracy of such physical evidence furnished by the investigative agency shall be considered.

(m) If the Hearing Examiner determines that additional investigation of any material information is required, he or she shall request in writing that the Director, Office of Administration, arrange for the investigation and shall specify those issues upon which more evidence is requested and identify, where possible, any persons or sources that might provide the evidence sought.

(n) A written transcript of the entire proceeding must be made by a person possessing appropriate NRC access authorization and/or employment clearance and, except for portions containing Restricted Data or National Security Information, or other lawfully withholdable information, a copy of the transcript will be furnished the individual without cost. The transcript or recording will be made part of the applicant's or employee's personnel security file.

[47 FR 38676, Sept. 2, 1982, as amended at 52 FR 31609, Aug. 21, 1987; 54 FR 53316, Dec. 28, 1989; 64 FR 15643, Apr. 1, 1999]

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Thursday, July 25, 2013