United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Information Notice No. 88-78: Implementation of Revised NRC-Administered Requalification Examinations

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

                               September 22, 1988


Information Notice No. 88-78:  IMPLEMENTATION OF REVISED NRC-ADMINISTERED 
                                   REQUALIFICATION EXAMINATIONS 


Addressees: 

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

Purpose: 

This information notice is being provided to inform addressees of the NRC 
staff's intention to implement a revised requalification examination program 
beginning in October 1988.  It is expected that recipients will review the 
information for applicability to their facilities and consider actions, as 
appropriate.  However, suggestions contained in this information notice do not
constitute NRC requirements; therefore, no specific action or written response
is required. 

Background: 

The regulation 10 CFR Part 55, which became effective on May 26, 1987, pro-
mulgated a requirement that each holder of an operator's license in a nuclear 
power facility pass "a comprehensive requalification written examination and 
operating test administered by the Commission during the term of a six-year 
license."  The initial program to implement this regulation experienced dif-
ficulty because of a number of deficiencies that were made known to the NRC 
staff.  In September 1987, the staff suspended all NRC-administered requali-
fication examinations to evaluate the feedback received from the field and to 
consider appropriate revisions to the program.  The program now has been 
revised and field tested at one site in each of the five regions.  Having in-
corporated corrections of the known deficiencies of the previous program and 
also the lessons from field testing at the five sites, full-scale resumption 
of the NRC-administered requalification examination will begin in October 
1988.  

Discussion: 

The requalification examinations conducted by the NRC will consist of the 
following: 

1.   Operating Test

     a.   Crew Evaluations:  Evaluations of crew performance will be performed
          in the simulator.  Individual operator weaknesses will be flagged 
          for followup evaluation during the plant walkthrough. 
          
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     b.   Individual Evaluations:  The NRC will observe plant walkthroughs 
          during which operators will be expected to successfully implement 
          job performance measures for selected tasks.  Operators also will be
          expected to demonstrate understanding of the job performance 
          measures by satisfactorily answering performance-based questions 
          related to the tasks.

2.   Written Examination

     The written examination will be administered in an open-reference format,
     which allows the use of available reference materials, and will consist 
     of the following two sections:

     a.   Plant Operations:  This section will be administered in a simulator 
          or an equivalent device.  Questions will be based on the status of 
          the "frozen" simulator (or the equivalent device).  The operator 
          will be able to refer to simulator indications and reference 
          materials present in the simulator in responding to test questions.

     b.   Limits and Controls:  This section will be conducted in a simulator 
          or a classroom.  Questions will be asked about plant procedures and 
          administrative controls.  A complete set of reference materials used
          to operate the plant will be available during the written 
          examination.

Before the examination is administered, all aspects of the examination will be
reviewed by facility representatives to ensure that examination questions, 
scenarios, and job performance measures are performance based and technically 
correct.  This revised process will result in an examination that accurately 
reflects the ability of operators to satisfactorily perform licensed duties. 

The staff fully intends to continue to improve the process on the basis of the
feedback received so as to maximize operational safety.  Addressees may wish 
to provide a copy of this information notice to each licensed operator and 
senior operator at their facilities.

No specific action or written response is required by this information notice.
If you have any questions about this matter, please contact the technical 
contact listed below or the Regional Administrator of the appropriate regional
office. 




                              Charles E. Rossi, Director 
                              Division of Operational Events Assessment 
                              Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation 

Technical Contact:  L. A. Wiens, NRR 
                    (301) 492-3171 

Attachment:  List of Recently Issued NRC Information Notices
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