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RIS 99-006: Voluntary Submission of Performance Indicator Data

December 1, 1999

Addressees

All holders of operating licenses for nuclear power reactors, except those who have permanently ceased operations and have certified that fuel has been permanently removed from the reactor vessel.

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Intent

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is issuing this regulatory issue summary (RIS) to document the agreement between the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) and the NRC for power reactor licensees to voluntarily submit to the NRC in January 2000, in electronic format, a historical report of selected reactor facility performance attributes, i.e., performance indicator (PI) data, for their respective reactor facilities. This voluntary exercise is part of a joint effort between the NRC and the power reactor industry to improve the NRC's reactor oversight process. This RIS requires no action or written response on the part of an addressee.

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Background Information

The NRC is currently revising its reactor oversight process to respond to issues identified during internal staff reviews, as well as to concerns expressed by congressional committees, the nuclear industry and public interest groups.

The revised reactor oversight process uses PI information, along with the results from its reactor inspection program, to provide the basis for NRC staff to assess plant performance and establish the appropriate regulatory response. PIs provide objective measures of the performance of plant systems and licensee programs on a periodic basis. The use of PI information is a basic element of the revised reactor oversight program and is expected to result in an overall reduction in NRC burden on reactor licensees.

The revised reactor oversight process, including the reporting of PI information, is being tested in a pilot program that began in June 1999 at nine reactor sites; the revised reactor oversight process is scheduled to be implemented at all operating power reactor facilities (except D.C. Cook and Browns Ferry 1 as discussed below) beginning in April 2000.

PIs are defined in NEI 99-02 [Draft Revision D], "Regulatory Assessment Performance Indicator Guideline." The NRC anticipates that the reporting of PIs under the revised NRC reactor oversight process will improve the objectivity and efficiency of the process. In order to effectively implement this revised reactor oversight process, a one-time historical report of PI data is needed from reactor licensees in January 2000. Licensees may also continue to support the NRC's reactor oversight process through voluntary, quarterly reporting of PI information beginning in April 2000.

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Summary of Issue

The NRC has solicited public participation while considering improvements to its reactor oversight process, including the enhanced use of PIs. In this regard, the NRC met with industry representatives more than 10 times in 1998 and biweekly in 1999, and held a number of public meetings (including a public workshop September 28-October 1, 1998, and public Commission briefings on April 2 and November 2, 1998, and January 20 and March 6, 1999). Additional public workshops on the revised reactor oversight process, including PIs, were conducted on April 12-15 and May 17-20, 1999.

Industry's initial initiatives to improve NRC's oversight process included a proposal that licensees submit PI data to enhance objectivity of the process. Based on this proposal, the performance indicator portion of the revised oversight process was designed to use PI data submitted by licensees. The efficacy of the performance indicator portion of the revised reactor oversight process is contingent upon addressees providing historical PI data for their respective reactor facilities in accordance with the guidance contained in NEI 99-02. The NRC has accepted this industry document for addressee use in reporting of historical PI data. The NRC is asking that this information be transmitted in electronic format to the e-mail address noted below to reduce burden on addressees and the NRC.

NEI has informed the NRC that reactor licensees have expressed their support for the revised reactor oversight process and intend to participate. Nevertheless, addressee reporting of the historical PI data is voluntary. It is noted, however, that those licensees who are participating in the NRC's Revised Reactor Oversight Process Pilot Program have already reported historical PI data for their reactor facilities, and the NRC does not expect D.C. Cook or Browns Ferry 1 to participate in this voluntary exercise because of the extended period of time they have been shutdown.

The NRC anticipates that the voluntary reporting of PI data will contribute to a more objective assessment of plant performance and to an overall reduction of burden on licensees as a consequence of the offsetting reduction in NRC inspection under the revised reactor oversight process. A separate RIS will be issued later to affirm the nuclear power industry's continued support of the NRC's revised reactor oversight process through voluntary, quarterly reporting of PI data. This follow-on RIS will be issued before the first scheduled quarterly submittal of PI data in April 2000, and will incorporate any additional lessons learned from the pilot program and endorse the final version of NEI 99-02.

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Voluntary Action

It is suggested that addressees conform to the guidance contained in this RIS for the voluntary reporting of historical PI data to minimize burden on themselves and the NRC. The historical PI data should be provided as an attachment to an e-mail addressed to <pidata.resource@nrc.gov>, on or before January 21, 2000. Addressees should follow the reporting guidance stated in NEI 99-02 [Draft Revision D] in preparing this information.

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Backfit Discussion

This RIS requires no action or written response. Any action on the part of addressees to collect and transmit historical PI data in accordance with the guidance contained in this RIS is strictly voluntary and, therefore, is not a backfit under 10 CFR 50.109. Consequently, the staff did not perform a backfit analysis.

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Federal Register Notification

A notice of opportunity for public comment on this RIS was not published in the Federal Register because the NRC has worked closely with NEI, industry representatives, members of the public, and other stakeholders since early 1998 on the development of NRC's revised reactor oversight program, including the collection of PI data. The NRC has solicited public comments on its intent to collect PI data in five Federal Register notices (dated January 22, April 19, May 26, July 19, and August 11, 1999) and at numerous public meetings.

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Paperwork Reduction Act Statement

This RIS contains a voluntary information collection that is subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (22 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.). 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. The collection of this information is covered by OMB Clearance 3150-0195 which expires on October 31, 2002.

If there are any questions about this matter, please contact the person listed below.

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  Original signed by

David B. Matthews, Director
Division of Regulatory Improvement Programs
Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation

Technical Contact: Donald E. Hickman, NRR
301-415-8541
E-mail: Donald.Hickman@nrc.gov
Attachment: List of Recently Issued NRC Regulatory Issue Summaries

(ADAMS Accession Number ML993300030)

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