United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Information Notice No. 90-01: Importance of Proper Response to Self-Identified Violations by Licensees

                                UNITED STATES
                        NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION
                 OFFICE OF NUCLEAR MATERIALS AND SAFEGUARDS
                           WASHINGTON, D.C.  20555

                              January 12, 1990


Information Notice No. 90-01:  IMPORTANCE OF PROPER RESPONSE TO 
                                   SELF-IDENTIFIED VIOLATIONS BY 
                                   LICENSEES 


Addressees: 

All holders of NRC materials licenses. 

Purpose: 

This information notice is intended to assist licensees in properly 
responding to self-identified violations of regulatory requirements.  It is 
expected that recipients will review this information notice, distribute it 
to management and staff involved with licensed activities, including 
responsible radiation safety staff, and consider actions, as appropriate, to 
assure compliance.  This information notice does not constitute any new NRC 
requirements, and no specific written response is required. 

Description of Circumstances: 

In several past cases, licensees have attempted to conceal self-identified 
violations from NRC, rather than reporting them or recording them to permit 
review during an NRC inspection. 

Discussion: 

NRC expects a high standard of compliance by its licensees and requires that 
licensees provide NRC accurate and complete information and that required 
records will also be complete and accurate in all material respects.  
Licensees should be aware of the importance placed by NRC on licensee 
programs for self detection, correction and reporting of violations or 
errors related to regulatory requirements.  The General Statement of Policy 
and Procedures for NRC Enforcement Actions in Appendix C to 10 CFR Part 2 
underscores the importance of licensees responding promptly and properly to 
self-identified violations in two ways.  

First, in accordance with its exercise of discretion, NRC will not generally 
issue a Notice of Violation for a non-repetitive Severity Level IV or V 
violation that is self-identified, properly corrected and reported (if 
required).  For those self-identified licensee violations of a higher 
Severity Level which do result in a Notice of Violation with the potential 
for elevated enforcement, NRC will generally give credit for the licensee's 
performance in identifying, reporting and correcting the violation in making 
an enforcement decision.  



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                                                            IN 90-01 
                                                            January 12, 1990
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For example, if a licensee failed to conduct a required daily dose 
calibrator constancy check, but identified the error, noted it in a record 
and informed NRC during the next inspection, NRC would not normally cite the 
incident as a violation if categorized at a Severity Level IV. 

On the other hand, NRC will generally take stronger action against licensees 
who conceal self-identified violations, including civil penalties and orders 
to modify, suspend or revoke licenses.  In addition, the matter may be 
referred to the Department of Justice for consideration of criminal 
prosecution.  As an example, a licensee was found to have not performed a 
substantial number of required daily dose calibrator constancy checks and, 
in addition, its Radiation Safety Committee (RSC) had not met as required 
for a considerable length of time.  The licensee had also falsified records 
to make it appear that the constancy checks and RSC meetings were taking 
place.  In addition to citing these violations, NRC issued civil penalties 
in this case which were increased by 100% over the base civil penalty for 
violations of this type, due to the number and duration of falsified 
records. 

It is suggested that when a licensee identifies a violation involving an 
NRC-required record, the licensee should make a dated notation indicating 
identification, either on the record itself or other appropriate 
documentation retrievable for NRC review.  The record with the 
self-identified violation noted should not be altered in any way to mask the 
correction.  The licensee should determine the cause of the violation, 
correct the root cause of the violation, and document such findings in an 
appropriate manner.  Licensees should also assure that if a report of the 
violation is required, the report is submitted to NRC in a timely manner.  
These actions will be considered by NRC in making any enforcement decision, 
and generally lead to lesser or no civil penalty. 

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 appropriate NRC regional office. 




                                   Richard E. Cunningham, Director 
                                   Division of Industrial and 
                                     Medical Nuclear Safety 
                                   Office of Nuclear Material Safety 
                                     and Safeguards 

Technical Contact:  George Pangburn, NMSS 
                    (301) 492-0628 

1.  List of Recently Issued NMSS Information Notices 
2.  List of Recently Issued NRC Information Notices 
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