Generic Fundamentals Examinations for Reactor Operators
|NUREG-1021 Rev. 12 is effective for all examinations administered on or after March 17, 2022. There are no more GFEs scheduled.
From October 1, 1989, until March 16, 2022 (last examination administered in September 2021), the generic fundamentals examination (GFE) was included as the first in a series of examinations administered by the NRC to reactor operator (RO) and senior reactor operator (SRO) license applicants at U.S. nuclear power plants under the regulatory authority of the NRC. The examination was a 50-question, multiple-choice written exam covering three (3) broad categories of nuclear power plant fundamentals: components (22), reactor theory (14), and thermodynamics (14). The examination was composed of 40 questions taken directly from the NRC's GFE question bank for the applicable vendor type, 5 questions that were derived from existing bank questions by making one or more significant modifications, and 5 questions that were new.
The GFEs for BWRs and PWRs were administered two to four times per year. Refer to Examination Standard (ES) section ES-205 of NUREG-1021 Revision 11 for the procedures and policies that pertained to the GFE in the final years it was offered.
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Past Generic Fundamentals Examinations
Questions used on past GFEs have been compiled into question banks for each reactor type. The NRC delays the posting of GFEs from the two (2) most recent exam dates.
Generic Fundamentals Examination Performance
The performance of the RO and SRO license applicants (examinees) on the GFE has been relatively consistent since the inception of the GFE program in 1989. Since that time, there have been a total of approximately 13,000 GFE examinees. The mean (average) score on both the BWR and PWR examinations has been approximately 91%, with the performance on the PWR GFE being slightly greater. The pass rate on both the BWR and PWR examinations has been approximately 96%, with the pass rate on the PWR GFE being slightly greater.
The performance on a particular GFE question item has shown to be dependent on the origin of the question. Specifically, performance on newly developed questions, significantly modified questions, and questions taken directly from the NRC's GFE question bank has been significantly different. Performance on questions taken directly from the NRC's GFE question bank has been approximately 94-95%; performance on significantly modified questions has been in the mid-to-high 80s; and performance on newly developed questions has been in the low-to-mid 70s. This characteristic has been consistent since the data started being recorded in 2001.
For more information about the Generic Fundamentals Examination see General Information
Page Last Reviewed/Updated Thursday, March 31, 2022