United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Centralization of Quality Assurance Program Review Responsibility in the Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation

                                 UNITED STATES
                         NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION
                     OFFICE OF NUCLEAR REACTOR REGULATION 
                         WASHINGTON, D.C. 20555-0001 

                              September 27, 1996


NRC ADMINISTRATIVE LETTER 96-03:  CENTRALIZATION OF QUALITY ASSURANCE PROGRAM
                                  REVIEW RESPONSIBILITY IN THE OFFICE OF
                                  NUCLEAR REACTOR REGULATION 


Addressees

All holders of operating licenses or construction permits for nuclear power
reactors.

Purpose

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is issuing this administrative
letter to inform addressees of its decision to relocate responsibility for
reviewing licensees' quality assurance program (QAP) descriptions from the
regional offices to the Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation (NRR).  This
change in QAP description review responsibility has been promulgated in order
to centralize the evaluation process associated with licensee submittals made
under the provisions of 10 CFR 50.54(a) of Title 10 of the Code of Federal
Regulations (10 CFR).  This administrative letter does not transmit or imply
any new or altered requirements, nor does it affect established staff
positions.  No specific action or written response is required.

Background

Previous NRC policy regarding the review of QAPs, described or referenced in
the Safety Analysis Report, directed NRR to perform the initial preoperational
license evaluations of QAP descriptions.  Subsequent to the issuance of the
operating license, the responsibility for reviewing of QAP descriptions was
assigned to the regional offices [see "Statement of Considerations" for 10 CFR
50.54(a) rule change].  Accordingly, each region issued unique administrative
controls for the processing of licensee submittals and maintained separate
files pertaining to these QAP descriptions.  However, recent consolidation
efforts within the NRC have resulted in the decision to centralize the agency
reviews associated with the evaluation of QAP description changes submitted
under the provisions of 10 CFR 50.54(a).  

Discussion

Current implementation plans for the centralization of QAP reviews involve a
phased approach for the assumption of evaluation responsibilities under the 
Division of Reactor Controls and Human Factors, Quality Assurance and
Maintenance Branch (HQMB).  This process will involve the transfer of review
responsibilities from the regions to HQMB in accordance with the following
schedule:


9609230237.                                                            AL 96-03
                                                            September 27, 1996
                                                            Page 2 of 2


  Region I   -    October 1, 1996
  Region II  -    October 1, 1996
  Region III -    November 1, 1996
  Region IV  -    December 1, 1996

As a result of the transfer process, HQMB will perform the reviews of those
QAP submittals received subsequent to the established transition date.  QAP
submittals that have been received in the regions prior to the transfer date
will normally be reviewed by the cognizant regional staff, and the associated
correspondence will be forwarded to licensees from the respective regional
offices.  For those submittals that are reviewed by HQMB, the corresponding
acceptance letters will be forwarded to licensees through the appropriate NRR,
Division of Reactor Projects Directorate.  However, the HQMB reviews of QAP
description changes will continue to be coordinated with the regional offices. 

Addressees are reminded that under the provisions of 10 CFR 50.54(a), QAP
description changes must be submitted as specified in 10 CFR 50.4, must
include all pages affected by that change and must be accompanied by a
forwarding letter identifying the change, the reason for the change, and the
basis for concluding that the revised program incorporating the change
continues to satisfy the criteria of Appendix B of 10 CFR Part 50 and the
Safety Analysis Report QAP description commitments previously accepted by the
NRC.  A line-in/line-out version of the proposed QAP description change would
assist the staff in the complete understanding of the proposed QAP description
change.  Additionally, for submittals that involve conversion to the Improved
Standard Technical Specifications, a detailed "roadmap" that correlates the
relocation of technical specification (TS) administrative controls to the QAP
description including identification of any TS administrative controls that
have been altered or deleted can substantially expedite the NRC review.  


                                    signed by

                              Thomas T. Martin, Director
                              Division of Reactor Program Management
                              Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation 

Contact:  Robert M. Latta, NRR
          (301) 415-1023
          Email:  rml1@nrc.gov
Page Last Reviewed/Updated Thursday, November 13, 2014