United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Clarification on Release of OI Reports Associated With Conferences Involving Discrimination

[Federal Register: October 8, 1997 (Volume 62, Number 195)]
[Page 52577-52578]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]


[NUREG-1600, Revision 1]

Policy and Procedure for Enforcement Actions; Enforcement Conference Procedures

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Policy statement: amendment.

SUMMARY: The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is revising its "General Statement of Policy and Procedure for NRC Enforcement Actions" to clarify procedures associated with enforcement conferences based on reports of the NRC Office of Investigations associated with discrimination.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This action is effective on October 8, 1997.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: James Lieberman, Director, Office of Enforcement, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555, (301) 415-2741.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Commission's "General Statement of Policy and Procedure for NRC Enforcement Actions" (Enforcement Policy or Policy) was first issued on September 4, 1980. Since that time, the Enforcement Policy has been revised on a number of occasions. On June 30, 1995 (60 FR 34381), the Enforcement Policy was revised in its entirety and was also published as NUREG-1600. The Policy primarily addresses violations by licensees and certain non-licensed persons.

On March 24, 1997 (62 FR 13906), the NRC published changes to the Enforcement Policy concerning predecisional enforcement conferences based on findings of discrimination. The changes permitted limited participation in those conferences by the complainant. The Statement of Consideration for those changes provided that "normally" Office of Investigations (OI) reports involving discrimination will be made public. However, the actual Policy change in the eighth paragraph of Section V. Predecisional Enforcement Conferences, stated that they "will be made" public. In this revision, the word "may" has now been substituted to more accurately reflect those cases in which it is not appropriate to make the OI report public. Also, additional language in this paragraph is being added to clarify that the purpose of the complainant's participation in a conference is to provide information to the NRC to assist it in its enforcement deliberations.

Paperwork Reduction Act

This policy statement does not contain a new or amended information collection requirement subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.). Existing requirements were approved by the Office of Management and Budget, approval number 3150-0136. The approved information collection requirements contained in this policy statement appear in Section VII.C.

Public Protection Notification

The NRC may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act

In accordance with the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996, the NRC has determined that this action is not a major rule and has verified this determination with the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs of OMB.

Accordingly, the eighth paragraph of Section V of the NRC Enforcement Policy is amended to read as follows:

General Statement of Policy and Procedure for NRC Enforcement Actions

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V. Predecisional Enforcement Conferences

* * * * *

For a case in which an NRC Office of Investigations (OI) report finds that discrimination as defined under 10 CFR 50.7 (or similar provisions in Parts 30, 40, 60, 70, or 72) has occurred, the OI report may be made public, subject to withholding certain information (i.e., after appropriate redaction), in which case the associated predecisional enforcement conference will normally be open to public observation. In a conference where a particular individual is being considered potentially responsible for the discrimination, the conference will remain closed. In either case (i.e., whether the conference is open or closed), the employee or former employee who was the subject of the alleged discrimination (hereafter referred to as "complainant") will normally be provided an opportunity to participate in the predecisional enforcement conference with the licensee/employer. This participation will normally be in the form of a complainant statement and comment on the licensee's presentation, followed in turn by an opportunity for the licensee to respond to the complainant's presentation. In cases where the complainant is unable to attend in person, arrangements will be made for the complainant's participation by telephone or an opportunity given for the complainant to submit a written response to the licensee's presentation. If the licensee chooses to forego an enforcement conference and, instead, responds to the NRC's findings in writing, the complainant will be provided the opportunity to submit written comments on the licensee's response. For cases involving potential discrimination by a contractor or vendor to the licensee, any associated predecisional enforcement conference with the contractor or vendor would be handled similarly. These arrangements for complainant participation in the predecisional enforcement conference are not to be conducted or viewed in any respect as an adjudicatory hearing. The purpose of the complainant's participation is to provide information to the NRC to assist it in its enforcement deliberations.

* * * * *

                             Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 3rd day of October 1997.

                             For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

                             John C. Hoyle,
                             Secretary of the Commission.

[FR Doc. 97-26690 Filed 10-7-97; 8:45 am]


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