United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Annual Freedom of Information Act Report Fiscal Year 2006

  1. Basic Information Regarding Report

    1. Name, title, address, and telephone number of person(s) to be contacted with questions about the report.

    2. Russell A. Nichols
      Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act Officer
      Mail Stop T-5 F11
      United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission
      Washington, DC 20555-0001
      Telephone: 301-415-7169 Fax: 301-415-5130

    3. Electronic address for report on the World Wide Web.

    4. http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/foia/foia-privacy.html

    5. How to obtain a copy of the report in paper form.
    6. Contact the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Public Document Room (PDR) located at One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike (first floor), Rockville, MD 20852-2738, telephone 301-415-4737 or 1-800-397-4209, e-mail PDR.Resource@nrc.gov or by fax at 301-415-3548. The mailing address is Public Document Room, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001.


  1. How to Make a FOIA Request

    1. Names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all individual agency components and offices that receive FOIA requests.

    2. Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act Officer
      Mail Stop T-5 F11
      U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
      Washington, DC 20555-0001
      Telephone: 301-415-7169 Fax: 301-415-5130
      E-mail: FOIA.Resource@nrc.gov
      Electronic submittal http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/foia/foia-submittal-form.html

    3. Brief description of agency's response-time ranges.

    4. 37% within 4 weeks
      60% within 6 weeks
      67% within 8 weeks

    5. Brief description of why some requests are not granted.

    6. To protect privacy (45%)

      To prevent compromise of a pending investigation or proceeding (9%)

      To protect the attorney-client privilege, attorney work products, or the agency's predecisional deliberative process (30%)

      To protect proprietary information (16%)


  1. Definitions of Terms and Acronyms Used in the Report

    1. Agency-specific acronyms or other terms.

      NRC-defined acronyms are available on the NRC Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/nuregs/staff/sr0544/r4/

    2. Basic terms, expressed in common terminology.
    1. Freedom of Information Act/Privacy Act request (FOIA/PA). A FOIA request is a request for access to records concerning a third party, an organization, or a particular topic of interest. A Privacy Act request is a request for records concerning oneself; NRC also treats such requests as FOIA requests. (All requests for access to records, regardless of which law is cited by the requester, are included in this report.)

    2. Initial request – a request to a Federal agency for access to records under the FOI Act.

    3. Appeal – a request to a Federal agency asking that it review at a higher administrative level a full denial or partial denial of access to records under the FOIA, or any other FOIA determination such as a matter pertaining to fees.

    4. Processed request or appeal – a request or appeal for which an agency has taken a final action on the request or the appeal in all respects.

    5. Multi-track processing – a system in which simple requests requiring relatively minimal review are placed in one processing track and more voluminous and complex requests are placed in one or more other tracks. Requests in each track are processed on a first-in/first-out basis. A requester who has an urgent need for records may request expedited processing (see below).

    6. Expedited processing – an agency will process a FOIA request on an expedited basis when a requester shows an exceptional need or urgency for the records warranting the agency to prioritize his or her request over other earlier requests.

    7. Simple request – a FOIA request that an agency using multi-track processing places in its fastest (non-expedited) track based on the volume and/or simplicity of records requested.

    8. Complex request – a FOIA request that an agency using multi-track processing places in a slower track based on the volume and/or complexity of records requested.

    9. Grant -- an agency decision to disclose all records in full in response to a FOIA request.

    10. Partial grant – an agency decision to disclose a record in part in response to a FOIA request, deleting information determined to be exempt under one or more FOIA’s exemptions; or an agency decision to disclose some records in their entirety, but to withhold others in whole or in part.

    11. Denial – an agency decision not to release any part of a record or records in response to a FOIA request (a) because all the information in the requested records is determined by the agency to be exempt under one or more of the FOIA’s exemptions, or (b) because of a procedural reason (such as no record is located in response to a FOIA request).

    12. Time Limits – the time period allocated in the FOIA for an agency to respond to a FOIA request (ordinarily 20 working days from proper receipt of a "perfected” FOIA request).

    13. Perfected request – a FOIA request for records that adequately describes the records sought, which has been received by the FOIA office of the agency or agency component in possession of the records, and for which there is no remaining question about the payment of applicable fees.

    14. Exemption 3 statute – a separate Federal statute prohibiting the disclosure of a certain type of information and authorizing its withholding under Subsection (b)(3) of the FOIA.

    15. Median number – the middle, not average, number. For example, for the set of 3, 7, and 14, the median number is 7.

    16. Average number – the number obtained by dividing the sum of a set of numbers by the quantity of numbers. For example, for 3, 7, and 14, the average number is 8 (the sum is 24, which is then divided by 3).


  1. Exemption 3 Statutes

    1. List of Exemption 3 statutes relied on by agency during current fiscal year.

      1. Brief description of type(s) of information withheld under each statute.
      2. 41 U.S.C. 253b(m)(1), Contractor Proposals
        42 U.S.C. 2167, Unclassified Safeguards Information
        42 U.S.C. 2161-2165, Restricted or Formerly Restricted Data
      3. Statement of whether a court has upheld the use of each statute. If so, then cite example.
      4. 41 U.S.C.253b(m)(1) - Hornbostel v. U.S. Department of Interior, 305F Supp. 2d21 (D.D.C. 2003)
        42 U.S.C. 2167 - Va. Sunshine Alliance v. NRC, 509 F. Supp. 863 (D.D.C. 1981), aff’d, 669 F.2d 788 (D.C. Cir. 1981)
        42 U.S.C. 2161-2165 - Meeropol v. Smith, No. 75-1121 (D.D.C., February 29, 1984)


V. Initial FOIA/PA Access Request
 
  A. Numbers of initial requests.
    1. Number of requests pending as of
end of preceding fiscal year (09/30/2005)
    80  
    2. Number of requests received during
current fiscal year
    320  
    3. Number of requests processed during
current fiscal year
    364  
    4. Number of requests pending as of
end of current fiscal year (09/30/2006)
    36  
               
  B. Disposition of initial requests.        
    1. Number of total grants   141    
    2. Number of partial grants   108    
    3. Number of denials   14    
      a. number of times each FOIA exemption used (counting each exemption once per request)
        (1) Exemption 1     3  
        (2) Exemption 2     34  
        (3) Exemption 3     5  
        (4) Exemption 4     31  
        (5) Exemption 5     57  
        (6) Exemption 6     36  
        (7) Exemption 7(A)     17  
        (8) Exemption 7(B)     0  
        (9) Exemption 7(C)     49  
        (10) Exemption 7(D)     2  
        (11) Exemption 7(E)     3  
        (12) Exemption 7(F)     0  
        (13) Exemption 8     0  
        (14) Exemption 9     0  
                 
    4.   Other reasons for nondisclosure (total)   101    
      a. no records     33  
      b. referrals     2  
      c. requests withdrawn     27  
      d. fee-related reason     23  
      e. records not reasonably described     2  
      f. not a proper FOIA request for some other reason     1  
      g. not an agency record     4  
      h. duplicate request     0  
      i.

other (no response to identity verification (2), no response to release authorization (2), lack of response (4), referral (1)

    9  
                 

VI. Appeals of Initial Denials of FOIA/PA Requests  
 
  A. Numbers of appeals.  
    1. Number of appeals received during fiscal year   10  
    2. Number of appeals processed during fiscal year   11  
 
  B. Disposition of appeals.  
    1. Number completely upheld   2    
    2. Number partially reversed   3    
    3. Number completely reversed   2    
      a. number of times each FOIA exemption used
(counting each exemption once per appeal)
 
        (1) Exemption 1   0    
        (2) Exemption 2   1    
        (3) Exemption 3   0    
        (4) Exemption 4   2    
        (5) Exemption 5   2    
        (6) Exemption 6   0    
        (7) Exemption 7(A)   1    
        (8) Exemption 7(B)   0    
        (9) Exemption 7(C)   1    
        (10) Exemption 7(D)   0    
        (11) Exemption 7(E)   1    
        (12) Exemption 7(F)   0    
        (13) Exemption 8   0    
        (14) Exemption 9   0    
 
    4. Other reasons for nondisclosure (total)   4    
      a. no records     1  
      b. referrals     0  
      c. requests withdrawn     2  
      d. fee-related reason     0  
      e. records not reasonably described     0  
       f. not a proper FOIA request for some other reason     0  
      g. not an agency record     0  
      h. duplicate request     0  
      i. other (fee waiver denial)     1  
 

VII. Compliance with Time Limits/Status of Pending Requests
  FY 2006 median day calculations are based on working days.
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  A. Median processing time for requests processed during the year.
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  1. Simple requests (Track A).
   
  1. number of requests processed
  2. median number of days to process
  327
13
 
  2. Complex requests (Tracks B & C).
   
  1. number of requests processed
  2. median number of days to process
  35
230
 
  3. Requests accorded expedited processing.
   
  1. number of requests processed
  2. median number of days to process
  2
7
 
  B. Status of pending requests.
spacer
    1. Number of requests pending as of end of current fiscal year: 36
  Track A
Track B
26
10
 
    2. Median number of days that such requests were pending as of that date:
  Track A
Track B
12
77
 

VIII. Comparisons with Previous Year(s)
  Calculations are based on working days.
      FY 05 FY 06 % Change
FY 05 to FY 06
  A. Number of requests received

371 320
-13%
  B. Number of requests processed

345 364
6%
  C. Median number of days requests were pending as of end of fiscal year      
94 15 -84%
  D. Other statistics significant to agency      
Expedited Processing -- Received       34       20  

Granted       14      2  
  E.

Other agency efforts to improve timeliness of FOIA performance and to make records available to the public:

   

The NRC FOIA Web site lists all FOIA requests that were completed during the year by subject.

   

NRC provided training on the FOIA process to various staff offices emphasizing specific office needs.

NRC uses several internal agency service levels to enhance the agency’s processing timeliness. Offices are provided with status reports of open cases to heighten management awareness.

In addition to providing general public access to material released under the FOIA, in FY 2006 the NRC placed more than 49,115 of its official agency records in its Agencywide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS). These documents are available electronically for public inspection in the NRC Public Document Room or from the Publicly Available Records System (PARS) component of ADAMS. ADAMS is accessible from the NRC Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html (the NRC Library). NRC's extensive voluntary release program has resulted in 2.9 million documents made publicly available either in paper, microfiche, or electronic format.

IX.

Costs/FOIA Staffing

 
  A. Staffing levels.  
 
    1. Number of full-time FOIA personnel

5
    2. Number of personnel with part-time or occasional FOIA duties (in total work-years)

3
    3. Total number of personnel (in work-years)

8
 
  B. Total costs (including staff and all resources).
 
    1. FOIA processing (including appeals)

$ 1,060,923
    2. Litigation-related activities (estimated)

$             0
    3. Total costs

$ 1,060,923
    4. Comparison with previous year:
(4% increase from FY 2005)

$ 1,016,677

X. Fees
 
  A. Total amount of fees collected by agency for processing requests. $28,450
 
  B. Percentage of total costs.

2.7%

XI. FOIA Regulations
 
 

10 CFR Part 9 (Available at NRC's Web site at
www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/cfr/part009/index.html)

   
  Fee Schedule (FY 2006)
 
  Search and Review:
  SES/Commissioners (ES-4) $84.48/hr $1.40/min  
  Professional (GG-13/6) $50.16/hr $0.83/min  
  Clerical (GG-7/7) $24.45/hr $0.40/min  
 
  Duplication: $0.20 per page
 
  Minimum fee: $15.00 (NRC does not charge a fee if the total fee is less than $15.00)
 
XII. Report on FOIA Executive Order Implementation
 
A. On December 27, 2006, NRC forwarded a modified FOIA Improvement Plan to the Department of Justice (DOJ). The modification changed two items in NRC's original plan.

 
  1. The original plan called for NRC to complete a computer-based FOIA training module in FY 2006. The modified plan changed the completion date to December 31, 2007.

  2. The original plan called for NRC to provide FOIA rotational assignment opportunities to the NRC staff. The modified plan does not include this action.

 
B. NRC completed the following actions as outlined in our initial FOIA Improvement Plan.
  Improvement Area 1: "Hire an additional full-time contractor to assist with processing records in response to FOIA requests in FY 2007."

Improvement Area 2 : "Develop a process and begin acknowledging requests through e-mail, no later than August 31, 2006."
"Complete test of onscreen redaction software and identify best business practices for using it, no later than January 31, 2007."

Improvement Area 4: "Complete development of the specific plan for expedited processing, no later than October 31, 2006."
  "Provide the expedited process plan and educate FOIA coordinators and senior management FOIA officials, no later than November 30, 2006."

Improvement Area 5: "Update the FOIA guide on the NRC FOIA Web site and the annual end of year report to DOJ to include examples of the NRC record categories for each FOIA exemption used by NRC, no later than September 30, 2006."
 
C. N/A
 
D. N/A
 
E. Exemption 1
Exempts from public disclosure records that are specifically authorized under criteria established by an Executive Order to be kept secret in the interest of national defense or foreign policy, and that are properly classified pursuant to such Executive Order.
 
Exemption 2
Exempts from public disclosure internal personnel rules and policies of an agency.
 
Exemption 3
Exempts from public disclosure by statute indicated: Sections 141 - 145 of the Atomic Energy Act, which prohibits the disclosure of Restricted Data or Formerly Restricted Data; Section 147 of the Atomic Energy Act, which prohibits the disclosure of Unclassified Safeguards Information; and 41 U.S.C. 253(b) prohibits the disclosure of contractor proposals in the possession and control of an executive agency unless the proposal is incorporated in the final contract.
 
Exemption 4
Exempts from public disclosure trade secrets, commercial, or financial Information that is confidential business (proprietary).
 
Exemption 5
Exempts from public disclosure inter-agency or intra-agency memoranda or letters which would not be available by law to a party in litigation with the agency.
 
Exemption 6
Exempts from public disclosure personnel and medical files and similar files, the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.
 
Exemption 7
Exempts from public disclosure records or information compiled for law enforcement purposes, but only to the extent that the production of such law enforcement records or information (A) could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings, (B) would deprive a person of a right to a fair trial or an impartial adjudication, (C) could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, (D) could reasonably be expected to disclose the identity of a confidential source, including a State, local, or foreign agency or authority or any private institution which furnished information on a confidential basis, and, in the case of a record or information compiled by a criminal law enforcement authority in the course of a criminal investigation or by an agency conducting a lawful national security intelligence investigation, information furnished by a confidential source, (E) would disclose techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions, or would disclose guidelines for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions if such disclosure could reasonably be expected to risk circumvention of the law, or (F) could reasonably be expected to endanger the life or physical safety of any individual.
 
F.
  1. The date range for requests pending was from July 3, 2006 to January 31, 2007.

  2. NRC has no ongoing consultations with other agencies.

 
G. The electronic version of NRC’s “FOIA Improvement Plan - Modified” can be found on our Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/foia/executive-order.html and on that page select “FOIA Improvement Plan - Modified.”
Page Last Reviewed/Updated Monday, October 28, 2013