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RIS 01-017: Preparation and Scheduling of Operator Licensing Examinations

August 22, 2001


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.


The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is issuing this regulatory issue summary (RIS) to inform addressees of the NRC staff's need for updated information on projected site-specific operator licensing examination schedules and estimated numbers of applicants planning to take operator licensing examinations and the NRC's generic fundamentals examinations (GFEs). This information will help the NRC to more effectively plan the use of its resources. This RIS requires no specific action or written response on the part of addressees. Any action on the part of addressees to collect and transmit the information noted herein is strictly voluntary.


On April 23, 1999, the NRC published a notice in the Federal Register (64 FR 19868) amending 10 CFR Part 55, "Operators' Licenses," to allow nuclear power facility licensees to prepare, proctor, and grade their own written examinations and prepare the operating tests. However, facility licensees that elect not to prepare their own examinations and operating tests must request in writing pursuant to 10 CFR 55.40(c) that the examination and operating tests be prepared by the NRC.

Regulatory Information Summary (RIS) 2000-14, "Preparation and Scheduling of Operator Licensing Examinations," issued September 6, 2000, requested that facility licensees submit proposed schedules of examinations that they intended to prepare and to estimate the number of applicants to be tested in both site examinations and GFEs in calendar years (CYs) 2001 through 2004. This RIS supercedes RIS 2000-14, and its objective is to update the schedule estimates for CYs 2002 through 2005.

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Summary of Issue

Facility-developed and NRC-developed examinations require significantly different resource commitments on the part of the NRC. Experience has shown that the NRC can review, approve, administer, and document a facility-prepared examination in approximately half the time that it takes to prepare the examination itself. This fact coupled with year-to-year fluctuations in the total number of examinations complicate the NRC's budgeting and scheduling activities. Consequently, the NRC has found it necessary to obtain updated data on power reactor facility licensees' initial operator licensing examination needs, including estimates of the number of applicants to be examined and the facility licensees' intentions regarding preparation of the examinations.

The NRC expects to solicit annually the voluntary reporting of updated information concerning operator licensing examinations through its generic communications program. This information will help the NRC budget and schedule its resources. The NRC regional offices will continue to coordinate specific examination dates with the training managers of affected facility licensees.

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Needed Information

The plant-specific information that is needed by the NRC for resource planning purposes is identified in Attachment 1 PDF Icon:

A. Proposed Examination Preparation Schedule:

Estimate the number of examinations you intend to prepare and estimate the number of examinations you will request the NRC to prepare during CYs 2002 through 2005. For examinations that are prepared by facility licensees, the NRC will assume that each examination includes the required outline, written examination(s), and operating test(s), unless otherwise specified (shared examination development is permitted and should be coordinated with the appropriate NRC regional office).

B. Initial Operator License Examinations:

For each desired examination, estimate the number of applicants to be tested and enter the proposed primary and alternate dates of examination. If you are requesting more than one examination per calendar year, split the applicable column or use additional forms, as necessary, to cover all the examinations through CY 2005.

C. Proposed Generic Fundamentals Examination Schedule:

Estimate the number of applicants who plan to take the GFE in CYs 2002 and 2003.

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Voluntary Response

Addressees that choose to submit the information identified in NRC Form 536 are asked to do so within 30 days of receipt of this RIS. Your response should be directed to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, ATTN: Document Control Desk, Washington, D C 20555-0001, and a copy of the response should be sent to the applicable regional office.

Backfit Discussion

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

Federal Register Notification

A notice of opportunity for public comment on this RIS was not published in the Federal Register because it pertains to an administrative aspect of the regulatory process that involves the voluntary submission of information on the part of addressees.

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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 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.). This voluntary information collection is covered by Office of Management and Budget (OMB) clearance number 3150-0131, which expires on July 31, 2002. The public reporting burden for this voluntary information collection (NRC Form 536) is estimated to average 1 hour per response, including the time for reviewing instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering and maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing the information collection. Send comments regarding this burden estimate to the Records Management Branch (T-6 E6), U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, D.C. 20555-0001, or by Internet electronic mail to records.archives@nrc.gov and to the Desk Officer, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, NEOB-10202 (3150-0131), Office of Management and Budget, Washington, DC 20503.

Public Protection Notification

If a means used to impose an information collection does not display a currently valid OMB clearance number, the NRC may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, the information collection.

If you have any questions about this matter, please contact one of the technical contacts listed below or the appropriate Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation project manager.

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  /RA Frank P. Gillespie Acting for/
David B. Matthews, Director
Division of Regulatory Improvement Programs
Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation
Technical contacts: David C. Trimble, NRR
E-mail: dct@nrc.gov
Richard J. Conte, RI
E-mail: rjc@nrc.gov
Michael E. Ernstes, RII
E-mail: mee@nrc.gov
David E. Hills, RIII
E-mail: deh@nrc.gov
Antony T. Gody, RIV
E-mail: atg@nrc.gov
  1. NRC Form 536, "Operator Licensing Examination Data" PDF Icon
  2. List of Recently Issued NRC Regulatory Issue Summaries

(ADAMS Accession Number ML01211029)

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Page Last Reviewed/Updated Friday, May 22, 2015