Examination Schedule and Results

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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 Operator Licensing Examination Performance Trends between Fiscal Years 2013 – 2022 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.

Reactor operator pass rates have remained consistent over the past decade (Figure 9), whereas senior reactor operator pass-rates have steadily increased (Figure 10), which is primarily caused by better SRO performance on the operating test portion of the examination (Figure 8). Many factors may cause a change in applicant performance, including changes to examination standards (NUREG-1021) and to the facility licensee’s initiative to have more selective and stringent training programs. Yet the performance of the RO and SRO applicants have still displays relatively consistent characteristics. For ROs, in recent years, their overall pass-rate is generally around 90% or better (Figure 9) and their average grades are between 84% and 92% (Figure 1).

For SROs, Figure 2 and Figure 3 show that SRO applicants perform slightly better on the overall written examination (i.e., driven by the reactor operator section) than they perform on SRO-only section of the examination by a few percentage points. Figure 5 and Figure 6 indicate that the overall SRO written examination pass-rate is driven by the SRO-only section pass-rate.

The operating test pass-rate is approximately 98% to 100% for RO license applicants (Figure 7) and approximately 96% to 100% for SRO license applicants (Figure 8).

For each FY, Figures 11 and 12 show 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, over 90% of written examinations result in two or fewer failures.

Figure 13 shows the number of written examinations authored by NRC (N) or the facility licensee (F) per FY and shows the pass-rates based on examination author.

Figure 14 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.

As shown in Figure 15, since 2007, RO and SRO license applicants fail the written examination portion more commonly than the operating test.

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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.

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