Examination Schedule and Results

On this page:

The operator licensing examination schedule and the results of the initial operator licensing examinations are found below.

The operator licensing examinations are administered in each of the four (4) NRC regions, at the respective facility licensee. The location and frequency of the operator licensing examination are determined by the facility licensee's need and NRC's examination standards.

Title 10, Part 55, of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR Part 55) requires that applicants for reactor operator (RO) and senior reactor operator (SRO) licenses must pass both a written examination and an operating test (both initially and for requalification). The SRO applicant must score an 80% or better on the overall written examination (100 questions) and a 70% or better on the SRO-only portion of the written examination (25 questions) and pass the operating test. The RO applicants must score an 80% or better on the written examination (75 questions) and pass the operating test.

The following 15 graphs illustrate the results of the initial operator licensing examinations (applicants taking retake exams are excluded). The graphs provide historical data of the performance of reactor operator (RO) and senior reactor operator (SRO) license applicants in both the written examination and the operating test. The graphs are presented based on the fiscal year (FY) in which the examination was administered for each of the last 10 FYs.

As can be seen from the first 10 graphs listed, in general, the performance of the RO and SRO license applicants has slightly increased over the past 10 years. This is caused by a number of factors which may include, but are not limited to, changes to standards and the facility licensees' initiative to have more selective and stringent training programs. Yet, the performance of the RO and SRO applicants over the past 10 years still displays several relatively consistent characteristics. For RO license applicants, the overall pass-rate is approximately 84% or greater, with the averages trending from around 94% to 98%. For SRO license applicants, the overall pass-rate is approximately 85% or greater, with the averages trending from around 93% to 96%. The overall written examination grades are approximately 87% to 91% for RO license applicants (93% to 98% pass-rate) and approximately 87% to 90% for SRO license applicants (94% to 98% pass-rate). Additionally, graphs 6 and 8 show SRO license applicants tend to score better on the overall written exam than they do on the SRO-only portion by approximately 3 percentage points over the past 10 fiscal years (i.e., for average examination grades, SRO-only ranged from approximately 84% to 87% whereas SRO-overall ranged from 87% to 90%). The operating test pass-rate is approximately 98% to 100% for RO license applicants and approximately 96% to 99% for SRO license applicants.

The two RO and SRO Written Examination Performance Trend graphs summarize the written examination performance history over the past 10 years for RO and SRO license applicants. For each FY, the chart shows the percentage of the total number of examinations that had zero failures, one failure, two failures, etc. The charts illustrate that 70% or more of the RO and SRO written examinations over the past 10 years have had zero failures. Overall, the majority of written examinations result in two or fewer failures (i.e., all 10 years show over 90% of the examinations have had two or less failures).

The two Historical Performance graphs summarize (1) the likelihood of a failure on a particular portion of the examination and (2) provide a comparison of applicant performance based on the author (i.e., NRC or facility licensee) of the examination. As shown in graph 13, RO and SRO license applicants fail the written examination portion more commonly than the operating test – approximately 4.9% of applicants fail the written examination and 1.5% fail the operating test. As shown in graph 14, applicants perform relatively consistently no matter the initial licensing exam author (note: NRC-developed examinations are much less common, so data is limited).

Graph 15, “Failure Rates,” provides written examination failure rate, operating test failure rate, and the overall failure rate for SRO and RO applicants combined over the past 10 fiscal years.

  1. RO Overall Pass-Rates
  2. SRO Overall Pass-Rates
  3. RO Written Examination Average Grades
  4. RO Written Examination Pass-Rates
  5. RO Operating Test Pass-Rates
  6. SRO Written Examination Average Grades
  7. SRO Written Examination Pass-Rates
  8. SRO-Only Written Examination Average Grades
  9. SRO-Only Written Examination Pass-Rates
  10. SRO Operating Test Pass-Rates
  11. RO Written Examination Performance Trend
  12. SRO Written Examination Performance Trend
  13. Historical Performance – Failures of Written Exams vs Op Tests
  14. Historical Performance – NRC- vs Facility-Developed Exams
  15. Failure Rates

To top of page

Operator Licensing Examination and Biennial Requalification Inspection schedule

See the biennial requalification inspection, operator licensing examination. and on-site validation schedule combined in one document.

All the schedules are in portable document format (PDF). See our Plugins, Viewers, and Other Tools page for more information.

To top of page

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Thursday, April 14, 2022