473rd Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards - June 8, 2000
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION
ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON REACTOR SAFEGUARDS
MEETING: 473RD ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON REACTOR SAFEGUARDS
Two White Flint North, Room T2-B3
11545 Rockville Pike
Thursday, June 8, 2000
The Committee met, pursuant to notice, at 8:30
DANA A. POWERS, Chairman
GEORGE APOSTOLAKIS, Vice-Chairman
JOHN J. BARTON
MARIO V. BONACA
THOMAS S. KRESS
ROBERT L. SEALE
WILLIAM J. SHACK
JOHN D. SIEBER
ROBERT E. UHRIG
GRAHAM B. WALLIS. C O N T E N T S
INTRODUCTORY STATEMENT 242
HIGH-LEVEL GUIDELINES FOR
PERFORMANCE-BASED ACTIVITIES 247
STATEMENT OF LISA GUE, POLICY ANALYST 285
INDUSTRY INITIATIVES IN THE REGULATORY
SAFETY CULTURE 339. P R O C E E D I N G S
MR. POWERS: The meeting will now come to order.
This is the second day of the 473rd meeting of the Advisory
Committee on Reactor Safeguards.
During today's meeting, the Committee will
consider the following performance-based regulatory
initiative: use of industry initiatives on the regulatory
process and safety culture at operating nuclear power
plants. We will also discuss our upcoming visit to Davis
Bessie Nuclear Power Plant, and a meeting with the NRC
Region III personnel. You'll also have proposed plan and
assignments for reviewing license renewal guidance
documents, reconciliation of ACRS comments and
recommendation, and a discussion of future ACRS activities,
and the report of the Planning and Procedures Committee.
The meeting is being conducted in accordance with
the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act. Mr.
Sam Duraiswamy is the designated Federal official for the
initial portion of the meeting. We have received no written
statements or requests for time to make oral statements from
members of the public regarding today's session. A
transcript of portions of the meeting is being kept, and it
is requested that the speakers use one of the microphones,
identify themselves, and speak with sufficient clarity and
volume so they can be readily heard.
We begin this meeting by calling members'
attention to a interesting debate between our Vice Chairman
and a former member, Hal Lewis. It's obvious that our Vice
Chairman hasn't learned the futility of arguing with Hal.
But it does provide you an interesting view on revisionist
history of the word 1400, I hope.
MR. SEALE: It also demonstrates that Hal still
gets a kick out of arguing with anybody.
MR. POWERS: That's right.
MR. KRESS: I take exception to it being
revisionist history. I think the history was right on the
MR. POWERS: I think it's revisionist
history--putting the best spin on it. Things of the past.
I will also call members' attention to a list of major ACRS
activities in the coming year and some proposed assignments
for leadership on those various activities that we'll
discuss as we get into our planning for the future
Do any of the members have comments they would
like to make before the formal proceedings of today's
Seeing none, we'll turn to the first subject,
which is performance-based regulatory initiatives. Jack,
you're going to lead us through this?
MR. SIEBER: Yes, sir. And thank you, Mr.
Chairman. This morning's session revolves around the
high-level guidelines for performance-based activities,
which were initially issued January 24th of 2000; and most
recently issued after workshop and numerous public comments
on May 9th of 2000, including all the incorporated public
comments. That issue appeared in the Federal Register, and
we all got a copy of that. But I draw your attention to the
fact that they have--we have each received a hand-out which
is a reproduction of the Federal Register notice--the
important parts of it--so that you can actually read it, as
opposed to magnifying glasses and so forth.
MR. POWERS: Yeah, right.
MR. SIEBER: An item of interest here that there is
an Internet workshop going on today as we speak, and that
workshop may elicit further public comment. And actually,
that workshop will be open, I guess by telephone, until the
close of business tomorrow. And so the document that we
have to review today is essentially complete. It will not
be complete until such time as those public comments are
evaluated and incorporated, if any.
I would guess that since there was a tremendous
number of comments on the January draft, there probably will
not be too much more to say about it. But we have to wait
and see. Following the incorporation of those comments,
which hopefully will be soon, there will be a Commission
paper that will forward the guidelines to the Commission.
And I would suggest that we would need to look at the final
copy of the high-level guidelines, along with that
Commission paper. It would be good if we could get some
kind of schedule from the staff as to when that would occur,
so we can conduct that review and make our own comments as
Now, we will have a presentation from the staff,
and also we have been given notice that Mr. Biff Bradley of
NEI would like to make a presentation. And Ms. Lisa Gue, of
Public Citizen, would in addition like to make a
presentation, so we will save out sufficient time from our
schedule to allow these individuals to speak.
MR. POWERS: I am particularly interested in both
of those presentations because they seem to have slightly
different spins to the staff on their view towards these
MR. SIEBER: Right.
MR. POWERS: And I think that the--a view from NEI
probably can be accommodated. The public citizen in a
different view, and I'd like to understand that better.
MR. SIEBER: I would point out that if you look
through the packet that you were sent about 10 or 15 days
ago, there were two letters in that packet from Public
Citizen, which I think deserve reading.
With that, I'd like to introduce Jack Rosenthal,
who will introduce the speakers for the staff. Jack?
MR. ROSENTHAL: Thank you. I'm Jack Rosenthal,
Branch Chief of the Regulatory Effectiveness, Assessment,
and Human Factor Branch in the Office of Research. The
principal spokesperson is Prasad Kadambi, who is the team
leader for reg effectiveness within the Office of Research.
Ashok Thadani, the Office Director, asked that we always
relate our work whether orally or in writing to the agency's
goals. And this activity to make our regulations more
performance-based is under the general goal vector of making
our regulations more effective and efficient. And in our
budgeting, we have in that category.
It's an agency-wide effort, which you'll hear
about with participate. The lead is with RES, but NMSS and
OR have substantive roles in the agency effort. With that,
I'll turn it over to Prasad.
MR. POWERS: Jack, before you turn it over. I
wonder has the agency been able to identify metrics for
either efficiency or effectiveness?
MR. ELTAWILA: This is Farouk Eltawila. No the
agency has not provided that metrics yet.
MR. POWERS: Okay.
MR. KADAMBI: Thank you, Jack. Mr. Chairman,
members of the Advisory Committee. As was mentioned, the
topic for this morning's presentation is the high-level
guidelines for performance-based activities. What we mean
by high-level is the level of conceptualization and
generality in these proposed guidelines. The result is that
they apply to all three of the NRC's arenas of activity;
that is, reactors, materials, and waste.
This is an outline of the presentation I wish to
make this morning. The ACRS last heard from the staff on
this subject almost to the day about a year ago. The ACRS
also wrote a letter June 10th, which we'll refer to. And
this is roughly the third presentation that the staff is
making to the ACRS on this subject. And I think we're
developing a modest level of history in what I still think
is a fledgling initiative as we go forward.
We'll talk about the SRM and the direction from
the Commission, the actions taken for stakeholder input, and
I must express gratification at the level of interest shown
by stakeholders. They have devoted considerable time and
effort to this. We'll talk about the use of risk
information, and some considerable time probably on the
discussion of the high-level guidelines and staff's plans.
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: So this is not just an initiative
to define performance criteria in the absence of risk
information. This is everything. Is that what you're
MR. KADAMBI: Well, the presentation that I'm
making is primarily the performance-based initiative, but it
has been recognized, and the Commission has directed us to
make sure that we integrate the activity into the other
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: Is there any--somebody else who's
developing performance criteria when I have a PRA? Or you
are doing that as well?
MR. KADAMBI: That is part of what we are trying to
By way of an overview, I believe that the staff is
fulfilling the Commission's directions up to now on the
matter of performance-based approaches. We are making
steady progress in this direction. It must be recognized
that the degree of progress is related to the resources
allocated. So it has been rather incremental progress, but
we are I believe meeting the Commission's direction. What
we now have developed are high-level guidelines, which you
mentioned. And what we plan to do is go through a
validation effort, and these represent I think significant
milestones in the progress towards what the Commission wants
We hope that we'll be able to validate and test
these guidelines over a range of regulatory issues, and gain
confidence in their use and identify key challenges which
may limit their application, recognizing that more
specialized guidelines would be set at a lower level than
the high-level guidelines.
The staff will eventually integrate the
performance-based activities into the mainstream of the
regulatory improvement activities.
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: Is it appropriate to ask you now
what is the overall objective of the performance criteria?
I mean, if I have the indicators that you will define, what
conclusion can I reach? What is it I'm trying to conclude?
MR. KADAMBI: Well, I believe that the general
objective is to make our regulatory activities as--and the
Commission has indicated what is meant by performance-based
in the white paper. And we are using that kind of a--sort
of a--direction of progress. I'm not sure that this point I
can define very clearly what the end point will look like in
terms of performance criteria as a generalized--you know,
something that we can define clearly at this point for all
three of the agency's arenas of activities for example.
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: But what you just said really
refers to the administrative part; that the agency wants to
do this, and the Commission has directed you to do it. I
think that's fine. But what I meant by objective is--I
received the information, okay, from the things that we're
monitoring. Now, what is it I'm trying to see that--for
example, one objective might be that indeed the facility
meets its licensing basis. That might be one objective. Or
I don't know what else. So what is the picture that I'm
trying to form in my mind by having this set, and receiving
the information, you know, from the performance or the
facility. Is this to make sure that what I license is the
way I thought it was. Or is there something else?
MR. KADAMBI: I would take as a given that
licensees are meeting their license conditions and the
licensing basis. What we observe is that a lot of the
licensing basis at this point is--has a lot of prescriptive
and some consider unnecessarily prescriptive elements to it.
So what I would see as the overall objective is if we can
decrease the level of prescriptiveness and increase the
level of performance-based application, then there will be
an overall increase in the effectiveness and efficiency,
which is one of the agency's goals.
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: But isn't it a little bit
contradictory to say that you start with the assumption that
they meet all the requirements, and then you collect
information, you know, from performance criteria. To do
what? I mean, why should you do that? If you assume that
they meet their commitments, then leave them alone. I mean,
that's a pretty drastic assumption.
I thought the whole idea of a performance-based
system was to form an opinion regarding how well they meet
their commitments. Otherwise, I don't see why you should
monitor anybody, if you assume that they already do.
MR. KADAMBI: Well, I mean, you know, this may be
something that we will explore a little more in-depth as we
get into the guidelines. But as a general concept, what I
would suggest is that some of the performance monitoring
that is being done now will help us define what new
performance criteria may be. You know, and what may be--
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: To achieve what? Why would you
MR. KADAMBI: To achieve greater effectiveness and
MR. WALLIS: If you're at a high level, I think it
would help me a great deal if you applied the high level,
and had some success. If you could say, here's an example
where we used our thought processes and our principals, and
we actually applied them to a particular area of the
regulations. And what we came up with is somehow better on
some scale than what we had before. So you've
actually--instead of philosophizing about what you might do,
by example. I know you're at the high level, but if you
stay at a high level too long, you may come up with just
words and waffle.
MR. BIRMINGHAM: My name is Joe Birmingham. I'm in
the Office of NOR. We don't exactly assume the licensees
are meeting the license requirements. We have ongoing ways
of inspecting to see that they are. And what we've been
getting are reports and inspections that tell us how
licensees are doing, and then what we do after that--once we
get a report or inspection, and we see a licensee is failing
or something, we then pursue an avenue of enforcement, which
ultimately is months, possibly a year, later in the
What we want to do is become more
performance-based, which is a more timely way of analyzing
how licensees are doing. We believe we can do this and
still maintain that the licensees are meeting their license
requirements, and in fact that we can help them focus their
efforts in areas where the need is the most, where the risk
is the most. An example might be in the radiation
protection area. We know that licensees have determined
that some of their greatest risk are in the high rad rather
than in the low rad areas. Therefore, they're concentrating
on performing better in the high rad areas. Based on this,
I think that, you know, going to a more performance-based
way of regulating these activities. They're--not all
activities can be performance-based, but those that can--we
can do it on a more timely and a more effective basis.
MR. SHACK: Yeah, and I think, George, this is not
just an oversight process. I mean, your licensing basis
would become a performance-based rule. So that instead of
your licensing basis, meaning you would have a process or
some description of doing thing, your licensing basis would
be meeting this performance measure.
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: Well, that's why I am here. I
mean, where is the staff going with this? Is that where
MR. SHACK: Well, it includes both kinds of things.
I mean, you know, but I think that you would make the
licensing basis performance-based, as well as making the
oversight process, which is where you were coming from,
MR. SIEBER: Well, I guess there's a couple of
questions here. I agree with Bill, in that there are two
aspects to it. One is the oversight process, and we already
have about 20 performance indicators that are being
monitored on a regular basis and reported as colors--you
know, green, white, red, what have you. And that's a
supplement to the inspection program. On the other hand,
you have rules, like the station blackout rule, where there
is a performance aspect to it. Your diesel generators have
to operate at a certain reliability in order to have the
risk profile that that particular sequence of events would
On the other hand, my question is, is it the
intent of the staff to add to the group of performance
indicators that they now monitor on a regular basis to
supplement the inspection program. Or, is it your intent to
say I'm going to look at risk based rules and incorporate
performance indicators as a part of satisfying the
requirements of that rule to assure that I meet the risk
goals? It's got to be one or the or both, and I'm not sure.
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: Yeah, that's what confuses me,
Jack, because if the objective is to make sure that the
current licensing basis is satisfied, then one way of doing
it is to go through each requirement and say, well, gee,
what performance indicator can I have for this one to assure
myself that they're meeting.
If, on the other hand--which means now, according
to what Dr. Shack said--I would also change the licensing
basis, then I might want to make sure that certain risk
criteria are satisfied, in which case now my approach would
be different. And, in fact, I may start changing the
licensing basis and maybe eliminating some requirements and
impose some others. But these are different objectives.
MR. SIEBER: Yes.
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: And when you talk about the
high-level approach, I think that has to be cleared up.
MR. KADAMBI: But I do hope that I will be able to
clear up some of these questions, but perhaps, you know,
what this points to is the fact that we do need to really go
one step further in an actual application mode before we can
really know how much value added comes from applying these
high-level guidelines. As Dr. Wallace said, you know, we
can't remain at a high level for very long. But right now,
that's where we are, and it's part of our plan to, you know,
make it into a practical application.
MR. WALLIS: No, no. There are two sides to this.
I would say performance-based regulation, where instead of
having a whole lot of prescriptive things, like
temperatures, pressures and so on, you have to meet some
objective, which is at a higher level and more general and
can be met in many ways. That would mean rewriting the
On the other level, performance-based enforcement
it seems to me just enforcing the prescriptive regulation in
another way, and may even impose extra work, because you're
now doing it in the prescriptive way and the performance
way. You know, that doesn't seem to help very much. The
first objective I thought was to look at the risks really
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: I thought so, too. But again,
the objective of doing the--
MR. WALLIS: That's tough. That's tough. You have
to look at one of those regulations, and say, what is the
real objective of this regulation. How do we define some
performance to replace what's in the regulation.
MR. KADAMBI: I believe ultimately that's where we
want to go.
MR. SIEBER: Well, it seems to me, though, that the
objectives with regard to the high-level guidelines as they
stand today are not clearly stated.
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: They're not.
MR. SIEBER: That would be my comment.
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: Let me give you the--
MR. KADAMBI: Well, I take that as something that
we would seek to correct--
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: One last comment on this. There
are two extremes. This Committee has heard some people from
the industry claim that the only business that the NRC has
is to make sure there are quantitative health objectives on
that. That could be one objective, to start with that.
The other extreme is to take every piece of
regulation and try to define some performance criteria for
every single one to make sure that it's met. There are two
extremes. Now, somewhere in between there, you probably
will end up being--
MR. KADAMBI: Well, I--I mean, I don't want to, you
know, jump the gun too much, but I believe it's very
important to keep this sense of a hierarchy--
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: Sure.
MR. KADAMBI: In mind, and that is incorporated
into the conceptual framework of the guidelines.
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: And my question is related to how
far down in the hierarchy you're going to.
MR. KADAMBI: Well, in fact, that was a question
that we asked for public comment on, and we did receive
comment, which I think to me makes sense, you know, that we
can deal with. So, anyway, going through the historical
background, I believe that the Commission has expressed a
firm commitment to, you know, taking this concept as much as
is feasible, recognizing that, you know, we are not where we
might want to be right now. The strategic plan mentions
performance-based approaches in each of the three arenas.
While significant progress was made in the risk-informed
initiatives, the initial focus of the performance-based
initiatives was in those issues not amenable to PRA, which
is the way sort of dealt with this in the SECY-98-132, about
which the ACRS also had a briefing.
The most paper was SECY-99-176, and frankly it was
not received favorably by the Commission because their plans
lacked specificity, and I believe the magnitude of progress
that the Commission perceived was considered insufficient.
But again, we are trying to do what we can right now to
correct that also.
The ACRS wrote a letter in June, on June 10, 1999,
in which the performance-based activities was one of the
subjects covered in this letter. And the ACRS suggested
that the diverse activities should be better focused.
The SRM for SECY-99-176 I believe clearly provides
the Commission's expectations, and most of the actions
described in this presentation I believe do meet those
I would like to quickly go over the SRM to
SECY-99-176. In the SECY itself, we wanted to learn some
lessons from ongoing performance-based activities before
developing the guidelines, but the Commission directed the
staff to, as it says, develop high-level guidelines to
identify and assess the viability of candidate
performance-based activities. Essentially, what the
Commission said advanced the schedule significantly.
We--this was considered. We were thinking of it as a
downstream activity. They said, no, just get it done. You
know, the original schedule was actually by February of
In addition, the SRM also said that we should get
input from stakeholders and the program offices. I believe
we are doing that. The guidelines should include a
discussion on how risk information might assist in the
development of performance-based initiatives. And I think
this goes to some of the questions that have been brought up
here. The guidelines should be provided to the Commission
for information, and that's our plan to do it. The schedule
is, by the way, August 21st to the Commission of the
commissioned paper. And the staff should periodically
update the Commission on its plans and progress in
identifying and developing performance-based initiatives.
We plan to do all these, and I believe the high-level
guidelines do accomplish what the ACRS had wanted as--I
would think develop a framework within which we could focus
some of the performance-based activities, which are going on
in all the offices.
Now, very quickly, for internal and external
stakeholder input, we created a performance-based regulation
working group, which includes NRR, NMSS, two of the
divisions in research. We now also have a result of public
comment a representative from the regions, and we plan to
include as, I'll discuss--describe later all the advisory
committees also as stakeholders in this. As was mentioned,
we issued Federal Register notices, publishing the comments.
We had a facilitated workshop on March 1st. The transcript
for this workshop is on the Web. We had people from UCS,
Public Citizen, utilities, radiopharmaceuticals
representatives, people from medical applications area, NEI,
and others participate in this workshop.
We had written comments from a range of external
and internal stakeholders. On May 9th, we published the
response to the comments, and the revised high-level
guidelines. And, as was mentioned, we are going through
another workshop today, which is an on-line workshop. And
we'll be looking to see what comes out of that.
In terms of the stakeholder input, I would say
that it was not necessarily unfavorable to the guidelines in
the sense that those who favored performance-based
approaches, seem to favor the guidelines. Those who were
opposed to performance-based approaches had significant
problems with the guidelines. But it seems like uniformly
there were some what I would characterize as implementation
and trust concerns. By implementation, I would--I mean
that, you know, the level of objectivity that would be
exercised in actually implementing these guidelines. And by
trust, I mean that some stakeholders had a concern whether
the NRC would in an even-handed application use the
guidelines to increase as well as decrease regulatory
requirements as justified.
MR. SEALE: Excuse me. In your internal
participation, how many of the people directly involved
would you appropriately characterize as being inspection
MR. KADAMBI: The representatives from NRR and NMSS
are primarily--Joe, you can correct me if I'm wrong--but I
believe in the rulemaking end of the offices.
MR. SEALE: Yeah, that's why I asked the question.
MR. KADAMBI: Well, I mean, the idea is that
through these representatives, you know, the other
activities in the office would also find, you know, a way to
be reflected in--
MR. SEALE: In several other activities in the
recent past, we've been impressed, or at least I've been
impressed by the more than proportional contribution to such
joint efforts that have been made by people who have an
MR. KADAMBI: Right, and that's the--
MR. SEALE: And I was wondering if this effort
might benefit from such participation as well?
MR. KADAMBI: Well, that's the reason primarily
that we got a regional representative. In fact, this was a
point that was made at the public workshop, and we
immediately took action to--
MR. SEALE: And this regional person is
specifically an inspector and not a senior reactor analyst
or something like that?
MR. KADAMBI: Well, I don't really know what Steve
Reynolds does, but Steve Reynolds from Region III is our
regional representative. And he certainly, you know, in our
discussions brings the--I think--the inspection perspective
into, you know, whatever we're trying to accomplish.
MR. SIEBER: I'd like to ask a question by way of
stating a very short hypothetical situation. Let's say, for
example, the NRC and the industry wanted to take a
deterministic rule and make it a risk-informed rule. And,
as part of doing that, they wanted to have performance
indicators that would determine and assure that the
parameters that go into the PRC gave the right risk profile
for that sequence. And after the rule was imposed and the
data was [sic] was collected, some licensees data showed
that they weren't meeting the objectives, would that not
result in an increase in effort, work, and requirements on
the utility to meet that risk profile?
MR. KADAMBI: Well, I think if we found that, you
know, the risk profile was not meeting the performance
objectives, that's when we would take action. And, you
know, maybe that goes into the next slide where I--
MR. SIEBER: Yeah, well, I guess there's a
conclusion that comes of that is that it is not a good
expectation to believe that moving to risk-informed and
performance-based regulations automatically results in a
lowering of requirements. I don't believe that, and I can
see it going both ways.
MR. KADAMBI: I certainly see it going both ways,
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: Now, if, again, if we're dealing
with the licensing basis, why would we care about risk?
That's not part of the licensing basis. Why would we impose
performance criteria requirements that are based on risk
profiles, when the risk profile was not part of the
licensing basis. So, you see, that's why it's very
important to make it very clear up front what the objective
of the whole effort is.
MR. WALLIS: Well, it seems to me that if you're
going to have performance-based, you've got to have a scale
for measuring performance. The only scale which is more or
less universal is risk.
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: Yes, but the legal problem there
is that it's not part of the licensing basis, so we have to
somehow define the objective in a way that allows that.
MR. SIEBER: I think that this is why they made
moving to risk-informed regulation an option. If you accept
and elect to do that, then that becomes part of your
licensing basis. Or, that's one way to interpret it.
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: Well, not so far. I don't think
MR. SIEBER: Okay.
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: I don't think that any PRA or IPE
has been incorporated into the licensing basis--
MR. SIEBER: Not yet.
MR. MARKLEY: No, but if you look at a licensing
submittal, if it was approved based on risk, then that part
of it is linked in an informal way.
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: That is correct. But this
are--these are, you know, specific isolated instances.
MR. MARKLEY: Right.
MR. SIEBER: Well, that could be another
problem--is establishing that chain.
MR. MARKLEY: But the performance-based is also
voluntary as well, according to the guideline, correct?
MR. KADAMBI: Yeah, I would think unless we find a
reason to increase the set of regulatory requirements that
addresses the safety issue and then subject to the backward
rule, we would impose it, you know, mandatorily if that is
justified by the regular process that the staff has in
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: So, again, are we trying, then,
to develop performance criteria for the two tiers that
presumably we will have. One will be the risk-informed and
the other the present one? Or are you using risk
information wherever you find it?
MR. KADAMBI: The short answer, Dr. Apostolakis, is
I don't know. But I hope as we go forward on this, we will
be able to better define what the course might be.
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: But if we're talking about
high-level requirements, though, these are the kinds of
questions that it seems to me have to be resolved before we
proceed to the specific cases that Dr. Wallace asked for. I
mean, these are really important questions, high-level
MR. KADAMBI: Well, anyway, if I can--
MR. WALLIS: I think you want to do that. You
would think look at something. I mean, I'm sort of
imagining suppose that I were to replace the LOCA rules by
performance-based. It's very difficult, because no one has
LOCAs, so you can't say, I happen to have LOCAs, therefore,
it's a good plan. You've got to go back to initiating
events or something way down the chain, which is a very
small measure of overall performance really. So you'd
probably fall back on prescriptive regulation.
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: Oh, in some cases, for sure,
MR. KADAMBI: I think that's true that in some
cases, you know, prescriptive regulations really make the
most sense, so that's part of what might fall out of the
discussion that will happen when we go to apply the
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: By the way, do you have a
definition of performance?
MR. KADAMBI: In fact, I don't. All I can say is
I've participated in many discussions where that has been
one of the most difficult questions. That, depending on the
context, it can have many different characteristics.
MR. WALLIS: So your study might end up concluding
there's no measure of performance; therefore, this whole
performance-based idea is a fantasy?
MR. KADAMBI: If what you are suggesting is that
one has to develop a definition of performance that applies
across the board, that may well be the case.
MR. WALLIS: Or you're going to have to develop
MR. KADAMBI: Correct. May I add we believe that's
MR. ROSENTHAL: Perhaps my pragmatism will come
through. The--clearly, where risk-informed--the reactor
oversight process we believe is the most risk-informed,
performance-based approach. And that was done well in
advance of these formal guidelines. We have another major
activity at the NRC, and that's to risk inform regulations
that you've been briefed on separately. We have this
initiative to come up with some guidelines which will
hopefully be a--some unifying principles and something to
check our work against to make things more
performance-based. We have clearly an obligation to link or
coordinate all these efforts together. But we're clearly
not doing a hierarchical process where we're starting out
the guidelines, and, you know, clipping through them. So
why do this effort now? Because we moved ahead with the
reactor revised oversight process. We're moving forward
with risk informing the regulations. We're moving ahead on
individual regulations in areas from QA and fire protection
and fitness--I mean, just all over the place. And this
provides some sort of unifying, at least thought processes,
to test our ideas.
So pragmatically, it's a good time to do this.
MR. BIRMINGHAM: I'd like to also say in those
individual areas--emergency preparedness, radiation
protection, fire protection--we find that the definition of
performance varies in that it has to be very specific to the
attitude, you know, to the context. And a general, we
probably could develop a general definition of performance.
In fact, Prasad had a paper developed that talked about how
do you measure performance. But we find that it has to be
specific to the context or to the activity that it's being
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: See, Jack, the reactor oversight,
the revised reactor oversight process has defined the
cornerstones as something that the staff cares about. So
they have defined some high-level objectives. But there is
also the problem of objectives there. I mean, if you
recall, there was an ACRS letter where there were
differences of opinion as to the thresholds, and I think
that stems from the fact that the objective, the overall
objective, has not been clearly stated. And I think we have
to do this here to avoid controversies of this type in the
future. What exactly are we trying to do to assure
ourselves that something is satisfied? What is that
something? And you have several ideas, you know, meeting
the current basis, changing the current basis to meet
something else. What is it?
MR. BARTON: Something measurable and calculable.
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: As long as it's measurable or
calculable, we will accept it.
MR. WALLIS: Unless there's something that actually
happens. Not having a ability to fight, Greg, it's not very
measurable. It could be something measurable.
MR. SHACK: I mean, just take a good example. In
the steam generators, you know, your performance measure is
thou shall not have a tube at the end of the cycle that has
a strength less than three delta--you know, three times the
pressure across it. And if the licensee comes to the end of
the cycle, and he's got a tube that doesn't meet three delta
P, he's--you know, he's in violation of his performance
measure. He's in trouble. He's going to have to--you know,
he's going to have maybe do extra inspections. He's going
to have to be more conservative. But, you know, he has a
clear performance measure that he has to meet.
MR. WALLIS: Sounds prescriptive to me.
MR. SHACK: Yeah, no, it's a performance measure.
MR. WALLIS: But it's also prescriptive.
MR. SHACK: Yeah, but in the sense that it
prescribes a performance measure, yes.
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: No, but the question is why that
measure and not something of the higher level?
MR. SHACK: That's a different question.
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: No, it's not. It's not. Because
setting up the criteria is exactly that question. I mean, I
can always give--have well-defined performance objectives,
but the question is why this and not that?
MR. SHACK: Well, we've had this discussion before
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: Yeah, I know.
MR. SHACK: Criteria. How you pick the criteria is
one subject. Whether having a performance-based rule is a
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: But I thought that the high-level
objectives that we are discussing today is how to pick them?
MR. SHACK: No, because I think he's been careful
to distinguish that in some cases, he will have, you know, I
think everybody agrees that the most desirable performance
measures are those directly linked to risk. The question
is, is it useful to have performance-based measures in other
cases that you can't link so directly to risk?
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: Yeah, yeah. That's exactly the
MR. SHACK: And he's saying yes. And he's giving
you guidance for both cases.
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: Where is the guidance? I missed
MR. WALLIS: Well, we're going to get to it.
MR. KADAMBI: Mr. Chairman, may I ask how much time
do I have?
MR. POWERS: I think you've certainly got another
15 minutes. Right.
MR. KADAMBI: I see. Well, then I'm going to have
to zip through these because I think you do have other
speakers also on the agenda.
Well, the Commission asked us to discuss how risk
information might assist in the development of
performance-based initiatives. And our preliminary cut
right now is to categorize areas--these are three categories
of areas where risk information may assist in the
development of performance-based initiatives. That is, risk
information may provide the basis for undertaking an
initiative. And under that, it could be a safety
enhancement. It could be a reduction of unnecessary burden,
and it could be the sort of things that are going on under
options two and three and the risk-informed initiatives.
Risk information could be used in the metrics and
thresholds or regulatory response. This is the framework
for the revised reactor oversight program. And the third is
the category of areas where one could classify as not
amenable to PRA.
But what is common about this I believe is that
risk information helps determine what is important. And
performance-based considerations form the basis for assuring
that the systems, functions, or whatever else provide the
requisite level of performance. So it is in that sense that
risk- and performance-based initiatives I believe come
Now we go to the guidelines themselves, and if you
don't mind--you know, I'd rather use the sheets in front of
you on the guidelines if there are--if one wants to look at
the actual wording of the guidelines, because this wording
was arrived at with some discussion and, you know, it could
be important what it actually says.
Now, first of all, the high-level guidelines are a
starting point, and they don't represent, in my mind, a
roadmap of how to get from here to there. It's a way to get
started on, you know, what might be possible, and how
worthwhile is it to undertake a performance-based
initiative. The other point is that there is a high degree
of context specificity that should be expected during the
application of these guidelines. So, although they are at a
high level, really you need to define the regulatory issue
in some level of detail before we can really get much out of
the guidelines, I believe.
Now, the guidelines themselves are divided into
three categories, and they are the viability, the
assessment, what we call guidelines to assess
performance-based regulatory improvement, and the guidelines
to assure consistency with regulatory principles.
The guidelines to assess viability are directly
out of the Commission's white paper. They are the four
measurable, calculable attributes--the objective criteria,
which would constitute the demarcation between what is
acceptable and what is not acceptable. And then the two--
MR. WALLIS: These are other questions in the white
MR. KADAMBI: Yes.
MR. WALLIS: They're not the result of your work?
MR. KADAMBI: No, these are the result of the
Commission's white paper.
MR. WALLIS: I see.
MR. KADAMBI: But they--they meet the needs for
high-level guidelines, and so we've chosen to use them.
MR. WALLIS: Chosen. What is the--why has the
staff had to commission this white paper?
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: Would you say again?
MR. WALLIS: What did the staff add? I mean,
you're just repeating what's in the Commission's white
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: I think that part of the matter
is the next viewgraph, where you talk about consistent, the
appearance with overriding goals. Everything else we have
seen before I believe. So if you go to--I mean--
MR. KADAMBI: Okay, I'll go to the next slide.
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: That's really where a lot of my
questions are directed. No, the next one. So under roman
III. First of all, there is an A, and I don't see a B
anywhere. Is there a B someplace?
MR. KADAMBI: No, there isn't. This is just to
keep a consistent notation.
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: So this is really where I guess
my questions, you know, belong.
MR. KADAMBI: Certainly.
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: I would expect to see more
guidance, because the rest of it really has been discussed
in the past and so one. What does it mean to assist them
with regulatory principles? I mean, how far down will you
go? How do you decide these things? That's where you need
guidelines in my view.
MR. KADAMBI: Well, I--I guess the structure that
we have offered over here in the guidelines is that, you
know, the questions that you ask are part of the kind of
inquiry that these guidelines would lead us into, and then,
at the end of it, we would, you know, make sure that we're
consistent with the overriding Commission's goals.
Now, there's no reason why this could not, and, in
fact, if we expect that it will be an iterative process
whereby, you know, we would begin at some point; and perhaps
it will be with, you know, the Commission's goals; and then
allow the guidelines to lead us through a process where we
would see where it is in the hierarchy. And, for example,
the kind of hierarchy we may think about or, you know, would
it be the component train system or release or dose where
you would apply the performance criterion. And it may be a
different type of regulatory requirement that attaches at
those, once you define that kind of performance criterion.
You know, and that's the reason why in the
regulatory framework itself, you know, we would consider the
regulations in the Code of Federal Regulations. We would
consider regulatory guides and new regs and standard review
plan, technical specifications, inspection guidance. You
know, depending on where it is that, at least in my mind, I
would say the unnecessary prescriptiveness occurs, which is
what is the situation that needs to be corrected as it were.
MR. WALLIS: Can I call in on this A, 3-A?
MR. KADAMBI: Sure.
MR. WALLIS: Now, I think the overall objective of
what you're doing sounds very good. But this doesn't tell
me anything. This is just eliciting what I say is invoking
the names of the saints. I mean, these are phrases which
everyone uses to justify anything they're doing. It doesn't
tell me anything about actually making something happen.
And that's where you've got to go. You've got to
show you've got some vision or creativity or some view of
how you're going to make something happen.
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: Are you planning to develop
guidance as to how one can be consistent and coherent with
overriding goals? How one will handle defensing that
uncertainties? I mean, this is really the issue here: A, B,
C, D, E. You do this, you do this, you do that. Is that
part of your plan?
MR. KADAMBI: The short answer is yes. We do plan
on doing it. We are not there yet, and what it requires is
for us to be dealing in a specific arena with a more
specific regulatory issue before we can get to that level of
the guideline as it were.
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: So you will do a few--several
case studies perhaps, to gain more insights?
MR. KADAMBI: Right.
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: That's what--and this will be
released by August?
MR. KADAMBI: That's right. What we call them are
the validation and testing of the guidelines. I mean, you
can as well call them case studies. That's the proposed
plan. You know, what I would say is that we're planning to
really apply these to new initiatives, but, in the meantime,
in order to gain confidence in the guidelines, we would plan
to validate and test the guidelines on either ongoing
activities or, you know, I don't know if even hypothetical
situations can be generated where we can test these.
But what we need to do as the next step, and this
is what we would offer the Commission as part of our
immediate plan is what--how we would validate and test them,
and what we are doing to integrate this into the regulatory
improvement activity, a big part of which is the
risk-informed initiative. So--
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: So when will this happen? By
August? You said that it is a--
MR. KADAMBI: The obvious time frame is for the
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: Which will not have the case
MR. KADAMBI: I hope by then that we are able to
conduct case studies. The commissioned paper may report on
these. But to cut to the conclusions, you know, we do have
a paper that's due August 21st, and in that paper, we will
describe how we have met each of the elements of the
Commission's SRM. And, by then, if we are able to have
conducted some of these case studies or validation
exercises, we will also report on that, and we will
certainly inform the advisory committees.
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: How many committees do you have?
MR. KADAMBI: Well, all three of the committees I
believe will be--
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: ACNW is involved?
MR. KADAMBI: ACNW as well as ACMUI.
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: ACNW, they are very familiar with
the term performance assessment. Is that what you mean by
MR. KADAMBI: Well, I can't answer that yet,
because I'm not sufficiently familiar with what they're
talking about right now.
MR. POWERS: Let me ask a couple of questions about
a slide you skipped over--that was your guidelines to assess
performance-based regulatory improvement. It may be similar
in nature to Professor Apostolakis' questions. You have a
variety of items listed down here. It says, ensure adequate
safety margins. Is there going to be guidance that gives me
some idea of what an adequate safety margin is?
MR. KADAMBI: Well, the adequacy of the safety
margin has to be based on the analysis methodology and the
assumptions that go into it, and, of course, the uncertainty
MR. POWERS: It has all of those things?
MR. KADAMBI: It includes all those things.
MR. POWERS: Alright. Suppose I have all of those
things. And I have an analysis methodology. I have a
result that comes out of that. I have an uncertainty on
that result. Now, how do I decide whether the margin is
adequate or not?
MR. KADAMBI: That is where the particular--
MR. POWERS: Let's say the number is 12.
MR. KADAMBI: Regulatory issue has to--
MR. POWERS: The number is 12. The uncertainty on
that number is--has a--the square root of the variance is 3.
Now, what is an adequate margin.
MR. KADAMBI: It depends on whether this is a
transportation issue, you know, whether you're talking about
transporting a package of radioactive materials.
MR. POWERS: Okay, you're transporting--
MR. KADAMBI: Whether it's a reactor.
MR. POWERS: We're transporting a package of
MR. KADAMBI: Okay, then I can give you, you know,
my off the cuff assessments right now.
MR. POWERS: That's fine.
MR. KADAMBI: That's all. I would say one has to
consider the level of risk associated with this package of
material and what this number 12 means relative to the risk
to the public from--
MR. POWERS: Okay, so you do not, then, make any
use of my number 12 rule--or the uncertainty that I have?
MR. KADAMBI: Well, I mean, the number 12 may mean
that this transportation meets the regulatory requirement or
it does not meet the regulatory requirements. I mean, one
would have established what is the acceptance criterion
ahead of time, and you would compare this number 12 with the
MR. POWERS: Okay. For understanding, let's say
the acceptance criteria, and is 10.
MR. KADAMBI: Is it good to be more or bad to be
MR. POWERS: It's good to be more.
MR. KADAMBI: Then the regulatory requirement is
MR. POWERS: Twelve is good enough, and it doesn't
matter that my--the square root of the variance is three?
MR. KADAMBI: I--
MR. POWERS: Suppose the square root of the
variance is 12?
MR. ROSENTHAL: You know, we did have a fair amount
of discussion, recognizing that it would be very, very
context specific, because, you know, you have to think of
this not only in terms of your DMB criteria, the 95-95
level, but you also have to think about if you were
developing a rule on fitness for duty. I mean, you know,
will you allow one drunk in the control room, but not two?
And I--if I'm being rude, I apologize in advance. I didn't
mean to be snippy. But rather, we use that as an example of
just how context-specific these considerations require.
MR. POWERS: Except that you're planning all these
problems, and you're not giving me anything on anything.
Okay. I mean, you're telling me, I can find cases where it
would be difficult to use a mean and the square root of the
variance for any kind of decision, because it would be
difficult to calculate those. But I can find cases where I
can do those sorts of things, and I don't have any guidance
on either one of them. I still don't know what an adequate
safety margin is for any case, let alone the difficult case.
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: At the plant level, I mean,
typically when you have goal sets and criteria, it meant
that if the licensee, for example, failed to meet the
criterion, margin meant that you do not have an immediate
safety concern; that you had enough time to recover from it.
MR. POWERS: If that is the case. And this
particular entry is superfluous because that's covered in
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: Okay.
MR. POWERS: So, I--that--and I think there's a
redundancy in here that has not resulted in the
Let me ask you another question: on your item B,
you say increase public confidence. And it says an
assessment would be made to determine if the emphasis on
results and objective criteria can increase public
confidence. Can you tell me what you mean there?
MR. KADAMBI: Well--
MR. POWERS: I mean, it seems to me the answer is
unequivocally yes on this.
MR. KADAMBI: I think it ought to be yes, but I'm
not sure that we can be confident that having objective
criteria and the ability to measure, let's say, for example,
in a waste application.
MR. POWERS: Well, what's the word can in here. I
mean, it says, yes, in principle--it seems to me that in
principle it is possible given the right alignment of the
moons and the suns and things like that that some--this
thing could, indeed, increase public confidence. Isn't what
you what you know is if it does or doesn't?
MR. KADAMBI: Well, I, hopefully it's a little bit
lower than that level of moons and the stars, but what this
should drive us to is at least ask the question how it
affects public confidence. And if there is a way to
structure the regulatory requirement in such a way that it
does increase public confidence, that is what the staff
should be thinking about when it looks at this set of
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: I think that you're entering a
territory that's minefield. Who is the public? Whose
confidence are you talking about? I'm not sure we want to
get into that too much, but I mean, I don't know. I mean,
what if one stakeholder disagrees? Have you increased
public confidence? I don't know. I mean, I always have
problems with this public stuff. I don't understand who the
public is. Well, anyway, I think we are running out of
MR. KADAMBI: Well, these are--yeah, these are
MR. WALLIS: Can I make a statement here. I'm
trying to verbalize it. It seems to me that you have a
wonderful opportunity to be creative and innovative and bold
and visionary and all that, and something about the way in
which you have to operate in a regulatory agency, with all
its baggage, seems to me making it difficult. And I don't
know what it is, but I wish somehow you could sort of get
free from all the shackles and actually go out and do
something that was exciting. I don't know how to make it
happen, but there's got to be somewhere that can happen in
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: The problem, Graham, is that you
can't do that.
MR. WALLIS: You can't do that?
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: You can't just ignore, you know,
50 years of regulations.
MR. WALLIS: I know that. But someone, at some
level, has to do that; otherwise, nothing eventually happens
which is new.
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: That's correct. Yeah.
MR. WALLIS: And it doesn't have to be presented
because you're in a public forum and all that kind of
stuff--need to be careful what you say. But, at some level,
there's got to be a way in which that sort of activity
happens in this agency it seems to me.
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: What would be the platonic
MR. SIEBER: Are there any other questions or
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: There are but they will not be
MR. SIEBER: Okay. Thank you. According to our
schedule, we are to hear from Biff Bradley of NEI. Is he
here? I don't see him.
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: No, he's not.
MR. SIEBER: Anybody from NEI who is to speak? If
not, we have a request from Lisa Gue of Public Citizen, who
would like to address the committee. And, Lisa, if you
would come up here, please. Thank you very much.
MR. KADAMBI: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
MR. POWERS: You may want to turn that thing off.
Lisa, this is your first opportunity, I believe, to speak
before the Advisory Committee. And we traditionally ask our
rookie speakers to give us a little background on themselves
before they give us their prepared presentation.
MS. GUE: Okay. Well, good morning. I have just
recently began in the position of policy analyst with Public
Citizen's Critical Mass, Energy, and Environment Program.
And I've previously been working in another campaign of the
same group within Public Citizen, the Campaign on Food
So I do thank you for allowing me to comment today
on the proposal for high-level guidelines for
performance-based regulation. As I mentioned, I am
representing Public Citizen's Critical Mass, Energy, and
Environment Program. And Public Citizen is a non-profit
research, lobbying, and litigation organization founded by
Ralph Nader in 1971. As you may be aware, and with
reference to the comments and questions about who the public
is, in this case, we advocated for consumer protection and
for government and corporate accountability, supported by
our 150,000 members throughout the country.
I'd like to begin by noting that it's
disappointing that, as of yet, our previous comments in
opposition to the proposed guidelines have generally been
dismissed. The process for public participation, which
would purport to be open and responsive, has, in fact, only
been able to integrate comments which can be incorporated
within the basic paradigm of a performance-based regulatory
Our more fundamental concerns with the framework
itself have been systematically excluded from consideration.
Nevertheless, I want to reiterate that Public Citizen has
grave concerns about the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's
proposed high-level guidelines for performance-based
regulations, not least in terms of how they would affect the
regulation of nuclear waste.
We have also submitted written comments detailing
our concerns with performance-based regulations as they
relate to reactor safety. And unfortunately, my colleague,
Jim Riccio, who submitted those comments, is unable to
attend today. But please take them into consideration,
I will focus my comments on the implications for
waste management. We feel that it's important for this
Committee to take into account these considerations, given
that the proposed guidelines would inform all Commission
regulations concerning the entire nuclear cycle.
Maintaining safeguards in the transport and
storage of nuclear waste requires the NRC to take a more
proactive approach to waste management than the proposed
guidelines would suggest. Once a waste storage cannister or
a transportation cask leaks, public health and environmental
safety are already threatened. There is no margin of safety
to protect the public if part of the already flawed system
fails. In this respect, a performance-based approach is
clearly inadequate, since it can only respond to failure,
not predict or prevent it.
As well, the many uncertainties associated with
waste management make it difficult to adequately assess the
risks involved, including the entire range of probable and
improbable events affecting the control of radioactive
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: Excuse me. Didn't the staff say
that when they set the performance guideline, one of the
criteria is that there would be no immediate safety concern
if the criterion is not met? So, in that case, having a
cask leak could not be acceptable. I mean, that
cannot--there could not be a criterion related to that
because you will have an immediate safety concern. So, it
seems to me the staff has covered your concerns. They would
impose prescriptive requirements at a much lower level
before, in fact, it leaks. So I don't understand where the
MS. GUE: Well, I agree that that is the concern;
that as soon as--that at the larger scale, a
performance-based method would seem to beg the question in
that way. And I guess to us it seems difficult to imagine
how, again, in terms specifically of waste management, how
performance-based criteria could be established in a
meaningful way that would not immediately threaten public
safety as soon as they are violated. It seems difficult to
envision how the bright line on the margin of safety can be
applied to risk--or to waste management scenarios.
MR. POWERS: So let's take an example from the
reactor field that might be applicable here. Dr. Shack
pointed out that you've got a criterion on a steam generator
tube that says at the end of the cycle, the strength of this
tube cannot be less than three times the delta pressure that
it experiences during operation. Assuming it hasn't leaked,
but it has got a criterion such that, based on a variety of
information, says it has some probability of leaking if we
ran it in the next cycle. But right now, it hasn't. And
that seems to have met the requirement that no catastrophic
failure has occurred, to find out that the tube has failed.
MR. SHACK: And, if, in fact, the tube is only 2.5
times delta P, the probability that you're going to actually
have a failure is still very, very small, so there is, you
know, there is a margin built into the performance
MS. GUE: Again, my comments are focused more
specifically on the effect for this--of this approach, on
the waste side of the scenario. And I realize that's not
the specific focus of your committee. And yet, as I began,
we do feel it is important for your committee to consider
these implications, and that these are high-level guidelines
being proposed; and that the reactors do inevitably generate
And I think I was just about to get into another
relevant aspect that I think applies to that scenario, which
is that the many uncertainties in terms of dealing with
waste and perhaps also with reactor safety make it perhaps
difficult to adequately, to target what the risky situations
are before we have experience in them causing failure. And
so, in general, we fear that this general outlook will set a
precedent, a dangerous precedent that results more in
responding to failure than ensuring safety.
MR. POWERS: It seems to me that if I was thinking
about a very, very uncertain situation, from my ability to
quantify and characterize all of the threats, I would be
tending toward a more performance-based criteria and away
from a prescriptive base, because I don't think I could
prescribe everything that threatened a system. But I'd want
to back up a little bit and take a more holistic view and
say, here are your performance criteria. Don't threaten the
integrity of the barriers here. Or install multiple
barriers so that if one of them does fail, it's okay. I've
got another barrier to prevent then. I mean, it seems to me
that performance is not inconsistent with a highly uncertain
situation that you probably have in particular things like a
waste repository, or even a transportation situation.
MS. GUE: Of course, it's not our intention to
suggest that we disagree that the overall performance should
be towards safety. It's just in terms of what the
implications of these guidelines would be for--at a high
level for the regulatory outlook that's adopted. And from
our reading of the proposals, it would seem that this
relaxes the regulatory conservatism that we feel is
necessary to guarantee as much as possible the safety; and
that once again, while we can say that safety is the--you
know, is at the end of the day, the performance criteria; in
order to guarantee that--just to identify that as a
performance criteria is not enough to be able to guarantee
it, I guess. And in this case, excessive conservatism would
be a virtue.
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: Now, let me see if I understand.
I believe what you're--the message you are sending us is
that you're concerned that when the time comes to implement
these things, maybe some of the conservatisms would be
eliminated, and some of the criteria would be set at a level
which you find unacceptable. But in principle, because the
staff really spoke at a very high level earlier, you don't
seem to disagree with the principles they have set, like,
you know, no immediate safety concern if the criterion is
not met. They have objective criteria and so on. It's the
future implementation that seems to be of concern to you. I
mean, am I understanding it correctly? Because, you know,
principles are principles.
MS. GUE: Well, I think as you yourself pointed out
in some aspects of the previous presentation that, you know,
these words are very nice to have, but the comments that I'd
like to put forward have to also address what kind of
precedent they would be setting; what kind of orientation
they would be putting the regulatory structures towards.
Of course, I'm not going to tell you that I
disagree or that Public Citizen disagrees with the objective
of safety. At the same time, reading some of the language
in terms of lessening some of the regulatory burden,
allowing the agency, or the licensees to focus attention on
certain safety concerns, where it can be most efficient--it
seems clear that the objectives, as they are being stated,
are coming, of course, out of a specific direction. And we
do have concerns with that. And so perhaps by implication
those are concerns with the general objectives of these
MR. KRESS: It sounds to me like you're questioning
what seems to be a basic assumption in this process, and
that assumption is that one can actually find performance
indicators that are directly related to the safety and the
risk of an activity. That seems to me like what you're
questioning; that such indicators are such a loose
connection to real safety and hazard that they don't cover
all the aspects or all the objectives that you might be
interested in preserving. Was that a way to interpret it?
MS. GUE: That's certainly one element of our
concern. I think a related element is that we tend to be
best able to articulate these safety criteria after we have
experience of their failure. And given, in some cases, the
newness of the scenarios that we're dealing with--again, the
many uncertainties involved, I just need to restate the need
for conservatism and the need to not only--to not be content
with evaluating eventual outcomes in instances where the
eventual outcome can already be a threat to public safety.
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: I think the basic position of
Public Citizen, which has been articulated by Mr. Riccio in
the past and today by you, is that this whole initiative of
risk-informing the regulation and developing
performance-based criteria is motivated by the industry's
desire to become more efficient, and, you know, to save
money. And the public safety is not a concern here. I
think that's a fundamental position that Public Citizen has.
And today, you know, you're addressing this particular
issue, but, again, coming from that perspective. And last
time we heard this was when we talk about technical
specifications, when there was a letter from Mr. Riccio that
I read that expressed that basic point of view. Is that
correct? That before--
MS. GUE: Yes, that's true. It's our perspective
representing our membership that public safety concerns
should be central and integral to any policy direction.
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: I want to ask another question
before we run out of time. This issue of public
participation puzzles me, and I'd like to understand a
little better how you see it. You sort of complained
earlier that you made a lot of comments, and the staff
dismissed them. So what is public participation? I mean,
why can't the staff dismiss them? I mean, is public
participation--does it mean that the staff will have to
accept what you are telling them, or accept maybe 20
percent? I mean, how do we decide that we have had a
successful stakeholder participation in the process, when,
you know, there are so many interests and different views
and so on. I don't know myself, but I'm curious how you see
this process. I mean, if the staff rejects your positions
then they have not really listened to the public?
MS. GUE: I certainly agree with you that having
public participation in a meaningful way is a very difficult
objective to achieve and to articulate in a clear way. But
to the extent that these processes are being labeled as
participatory, our complaint, the complaint that I
articulated was actually not so much that, or not only I
guess, but our input was rejected by the staff, but that it
was categorically deemed out of order, if you will. In
looking over the Federal Register notice that contained the
staff response to public comment, in several places it was
noted that other comments at a more fundamental level were
also noted, but since they didn't respond to the specific
detail of implementation or the specific detail of how of
wording or whatever the specifics were, they couldn't be
incorporated. So I guess there is a veneer of public
participation, but it already, but it was already within the
context taken for granted that the public was, in general,
in favor of a performance-based approach. And it was only a
matter of, and the public was only invited to participate to
the extent that they had comments on how those guidelines
should look, rather than looking--taking first thing first,
and looking, in fact, is a performance-based approach itself
in the public interest. I don't know if you see the
distinction that I'm making?
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: No, yeah. It appears to me that
your complaint is really that you did not receive any
logical arguments why your positions were rejected. They
were just dismissed. Is that really? I mean, you would--
MS. GUE: Right. Because that's--
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: You would have accepted perhaps a
logical argument as to why this particular recommendation
cannot be accepted. But just to be dismissed off-hand--
MS. GUE: Right, that.
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: Is something that is a little
offensive. Is that it?
MS. GUE: Not only offensive, but also I would say
patronizing to the extent that we are being asked to
support, to give witness to a process to be labeled
participatory, when, in fact, the very sense in which
participation is invited begs the question.
And I guess just to pick up again and this relates
to some of the comments that I've just made. And as I was
assessing the risk-informed aspect of this discussion, is
just to summarize, then, a performance-based regulatory
structure can never be truly risk-informed, but is subject
to failure based on the opportunity for undefined
assumptions, statistical manipulation to disguise potential
impacts, and even the limits of human imagination to
conceive of all potentially risky scenarios.
Furthermore, it seems irresponsible to base
nuclear safety standards on a probabilistic analysis of
risk. The probability of any particular accident may be
minute, but the potential consequences devastating.
Therefore, risk assessment must not be used to justify the
relaxation of regulatory conservatism.
Similarly, we are alarmed that the proposed
guidelines would allow licensees to evaluate and prioritize
safety concerns according to measures of economic
efficiency. It is inappropriate to take such a utilitarian
approach toward public health and safety. To be viable, the
nuclear industry must demonstrate its ability to protect
comprehensively against both probable and improbable risks.
Otherwise, it should be shut down.
Having participated in the workshop process,
Public Citizen maintains the position that regulatory
conservatism is desirable to ensure that nuclear materials
remain isolated from the biosphere. It seems necessary to
point out that prescriptive regulations do not prevent
licensees from acting creatively to exceed prescribed
On the other hand, what is being referred to as
flexibility in the proposed guidelines for performance-based
standards is likely to result in the industry cutting
corners in an effort to meet minimum performance criteria
with as little cost as possible.
The staff response to these concerns about safety
has been to make semantic changes to the proposed
guidelines. These superficial amendments, however, do not
address adequately our concerns, which relate to the fact
that the fundamental orientation of performance-based
regulation is not to emphasize safety.
With the prospect of a high-level dump at Yucca
Mountain currently under consideration, the public can only
fear what this regulatory approach will mean for the
transportation campaign and the waste site if it is
The NRC is mandated to protect public safety.
Yet, this proposal for a performance-based regulations would
shift the regulatory emphasis away from safety concerns and
place it instead on cost reduction. Compromising safety
guarantees in the name of economic efficiency will certainly
do nothing to promote public confidence in the NRC's
policies and procedures. Indeed, reduced regulatory burden
for the nuclear industry effectively amounts to an increased
and unmeasurable burden of risk for the environment and
With respect to waste regulations, the drive for
performance-based standards is yet another instance of the
nuclear industry seeking to shirk responsibility for the
waste it has created and continues to create. The push to
license Yucca Mountain as a permanent repository, the move
to allow designing and building of storage casks before they
are certified, the plan to make it easier for licensees to
change their procedures, the search for the cheapest method
to decommission plants, and the push to recycle radioactive
materials into the marketplace all show that the NRC is
willing to grant the industry's wish to dump its
responsibility on the public.
The nuclear industry is not clamoring to be more
creative in order to better protect the people and the
environment around reactors and dumps and along nuclear
transportation routes. The industry wants a bail-out to
escape the burden of dealing with its own mess, and the
proposed guidelines for performance-based regulations
further this agenda.
Finally, and as I've already stated, the process
surrounding consideration of the proposed guidelines, by
which public comments have been categorically ignored, has
in itself weakened public confidence in the NRC's
willingness and ability to pursue a publicly informed
regulatory option that protects public health and the
These proposed high-level guidelines for
performance-based activities make it clear that the NRC is
ready to subjugate these safety concerns to the economic
interests of the nuclear industry.
MR. POWERS: Thank you. Do any members have any
MS. GUE: Thank you for the opportunity to present.
MR. POWERS: Thank you. In view of there are no
further comments, I will recess us until 16 after the hour.
MR. POWERS: Let's come back into session. We're
going to turn now to the topic of use of industry
initiatives in the regulatory process. Mr. Barton, you can
guide us through this thicket of controversy.
MR. BARTON: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The purpose of this session this morning is to
hear presentations by representatives of the NRC staff and
Nuclear Energy Institute regarding a proposed commissioned
paper concerning guidelines to ensure industry initiatives
will be treated and evaluated in a consistent, predictable
The guidelines being proposed contain substantial
detail and reflect the staff's recommended approach for
including industry initiatives in the regulatory process.
The staff, working with stakeholders, have developed the
proposed guidelines for considering industry initiatives in
the regulatory process. These initiatives, as successfully
implemented, would preclude the need for regulatory action.
At this time, I'll turn it over to NRC staff and
Dick Wessman to take the lead.
MR. WESSMAN: Thank you, sir. I'm Dick Wessman,
Deputy Director of the Division of Engineering at NRR, and
with me, on my left, is Gene Carpenter. If you look at the
view graphs, you see two names on there--Gene Carpenter and
Bob Herman, and they have been principal staff who have
worked on this initiative over the course of the past year
We delivered, or the EDO delivered to the
Commission, SECY-00-116 to the Commission on the 30th of
May. So that SECY dealing with this subject is now pending
before the Commission, and my understanding is it would be
publicly available within the allotted working day period
What we want to do is describe the approach and
the guidelines that are in that particular SECY in more
detail and share our views with you and hear your views on
this particular approach. We're treating it as an
information briefing and are not seeking a letter from the
ACRS on the subject.
Before I pass it to Gene, I would point out that
this whole activity has its origins back in DSI-13, which
was entitled The Role of Industry. DSI-13 originally had
two parts. One part dealt with codes and standards
activity, and Gil Millman I think came before you sometime
back and helped describe some of that activity. And there
is actually management directives and material in place on
how we work with the codes and standards consensus bodies.
The other half of that DSI dealt with the concept
of industry initiatives. Earlier, it was called voluntary
industry initiatives. We've since kind of shortened it to
just industry initiatives in response to some of the
But that's a snapshot of background activities,
and let me turn it over to Gene Carpenter, and he'll take us
through the briefing view graphs.
MR. CARPENTER: Good morning. As Dick said today,
we'll be talking about the industry initiatives and the
regulatory process. What we will be discussing today--we'll
be discussing the purpose of the--of this presentation.
I'll give you a little bit of background on this that will
include some brief discussion on DSI-13, the SECY-99-063,
which was in response to DSI-13, and some of the actions to
develop the proposed response. I'll then be going through
the proposed guidelines, and giving you a brief overview of
those. Some of the recommendations and further actions that
the staff is making to the Commission, and then we'll wrap
up with some conclusions.
Okay, the purpose of this meeting is to discuss
the proposed guidelines, which we intend to ensure that
future initiatives that are proposed by applicable industry
groups, and I will get to that in just a moment--what an
applicable industry group is--would be treated and evaluated
in a consistent, controlled, and open manner. And
basically, what this means is that we are trying to ensure
that we will maintain safety, reduce unnecessary regulatory
burden, improve the efficiency and effectiveness and
realism, and improve public confidence through these
Now, it should be noted here that an applicable
industry group, if we have multiple industry groups that are
coming in with multiple and different ways to address a
target, we will address each one of those as a separate
And it is not the intent of our proposal in these
guidelines that we have in front of the Commission at this
time to create any new policies or procedures in existing
areas that the NRC already has policies and procedures in
place. We do reference those throughout the guidelines.
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: Is it inconceivable that you will
have to impose necessary regulatory burden?
MR. CARPENTER: Yes, it is conceivable that we will
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: So why don't you state it?
MR. CARPENTER: But--that--I'll be coming to that
in just a moment, sir. The--at the time that we come across
an issue, if we cannot find a way around imposing additional
regulatory burden, then, of course, that is an option that
is always available to us.
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: Well, the reason why I'm--
MR. CARPENTER: But the purpose of industry
initiatives is to reduce the amount of regulatory burden
that would be imposed by the staff on the industry.
MR. WESSMAN: If we're faced with inadequate safety
issue, or if we're faced with a clear-cut issue that, you
know, the generic letter is compelling regardless of whether
the industry may have taken initiative or not, we're going
to take those actions. Those are right and proper to do.
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: Right. And I believe you. I
mean, I think you will do that, but the problem seems to be
that we are--we seem to be emphasizing this reduction in
unnecessary too much and some of the public groups have been
complaining about it. So it seems to me that it will be
appropriate to also include it on the list. But, if
MR. BARTON: But really the intent of the industry
initiative is to reduce the burden.
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: Is to reduce the burden.
MR. WESSMAN: Right. In some cases. But let's Gene
go through the story a little bit, but clearly there are a
spectrum of complexity of issues and significance of issues,
and there are situations where if a generic letter is not
issued, that's less burden on us, and potentially less
burden on the industry. If they embrace the issue and go
forward with addressing it, it makes good sense for us to
make sure it's all done openly and everyone understands
what's being done, and we monitor it. So that's this--this
aspect of burden.
MR. WALLIS: Isn't it completely incredible that
industry would come in and say we've found something which
we really need to fix up, and therefore--
MR. CARPENTER: They have already done it.
MR. WALLIS: I mean, to reduce the burden?
MR. CARPENTER: They have already done it. That's
MR. WALLIS: We need to have that clear.
Otherwise, you're going to undermine the fourth objective,
which is to improve public confidence. So it can both ways.
You've got to emphasize that it can go both ways.
MR. CARPENTER: Yes. Yes. And I'll come to that
in just a moment, sir.
I'll do the background. Direction setting
initiative 13, the role of industry, as Dick mentioned
earlier, was issued by the Commission, in fact, SECY-97-303
on December 31, 1997. And it directed the staff to do
various actions, including develop guidelines to describe a
process and submission criteria that the staff would use to
evaluate industry activities that would be substitutes for
regulatory actions, and also to develop an implementation
plan that addressed a number of issues related to NRC
utilization of codes and standards. The--we did that, the
second one, about codes and standards with SECY-99-029, NRC
Participation in the Development and Use of consensus
standards. That was dated January 28th, 1999.
But we also put together SECY-99-063, the Use of
Industry--by Industry of Voluntary Initiatives in the
Regulatory Process. And that provided the requested
analysis that the Commission's SRM had given us. And it also
included review of stakeholder comments that had been
received dealing with some of the DSI-13 public meetings.
It also discussed the resource implications of implementing
industry voluntary initiatives, the staff's conclusion of
the analysis that was performed, and various recommendations
by the staff.
Some of the actions that we developed for the
proposed guidelines. The staff met with the industry. It
also met with the Nuclear Energy Institute, NEI, and other
stakeholders on multiple occasions.
We developed a Web page to provide information on
MR. POWERS: Thank you very much. I wonder how
many members got that down? Would you repeat it, sir?
MR. CARPENTER: And that, of course, may be gotten
to directly from the NRC's home page, under the reactor
The staff issued a Federal Register notice in
December of 1999 that solicited stakeholder comments on
technical and regulatory aspects related to the development
of the proposed guidelines. And we--at that time, we had
asked interested stakeholders to give us any comments that
they had up and including an entire set of proposed
guidelines. Unfortunately, we did not receive any comments
at all from that Federal Register notice.
We did receive comments later on, but not
specifically in response to the FRN. The staff provided
draft guidelines by letter dated February 11th, 2000, and
that is included on the Web page. These guidelines were
used as discussion points and later readings. We then
received comments during several meetings, and we also
received comments during the March 28th, 2000 regulatory
information break-out session on this issue.
Again, the following proposed guidelines went up
to the Commission in SECY-00-0116, dated May 30th, 2000.
Now I'll get into the proposed guidelines. Before
we get heavily into it, there are a couple of definitions
that the staff put together for industry initiatives.
Specifically, we defined just what industry initiatives.
And we broke those into two basic types: Type 1 being Type
1-A, and Type 1-B.
Type 1-A are those developed by applicable
industry groups in response to some issue of potential
regulatory concern A, to substitute for or complement
regulatory actions for issues within existing regulatory
requirements, or B, which are potential cost beneficial
safety enhancement issues outside existing regulatory
Type 2 are those that are initiated and developed
by the applicable industry groups to address issues of
concern to the applicable industry groups, but are outside
existing regulatory requirements and are not cost beneficial
safety enhancements, or ones that are used specifically for
And again, an applicable industry group is a
member of one or more owners groups, an industry
organization, or two or more licensees. And you can have
multiple industry groups addressing an issue at one time.
MR. WALLIS: A group of one is not allowed?
MR. CARPENTER: A group of one is plant specific.
MR. WESSMAN: You could have a group of one such as
the BWU owners group with the multiple plants in it. An
entity of one could be a single plant, and we're dealing
with that issue on a plant-specific basis.
MR. CARPENTER: In fact, the BWU IP would be
classified as an AIG, applicable industry group.
Now this is the proposed flowchart for industry
initiatives processes. This was included in the SECY paper.
I'd like to go through some of the boxes and the decision
points that are made in this.
Box one is issue identification, right up here at
the top. Once an issue has been identified by the staff, it
is characterized and assigned to an appropriate process.
Either you'd use the industry initiatives process that we're
proposing. It could be classified as an allegation, in
which case it would fall out from industry initiatives. It
could come as a 2.206 petition, and then go into the
industry initiatives at some point, et cetera. There are
multiple ways to get at this.
The emergency issue would be documented by the
staff, and the staff would perform a preliminary evaluation
of the technical and policy implications, and then present
them to the NRR Executive Team for review and initial
At this point, it should be pointed out that the
guidelines are written specifically to NRR. They could be
applicable to other offices, but at this time, NRR has the
most applicable industry groups that would be interested in
this. At a future date, if NMSS or other groups decide that
they would like to have a process similar to this, they
could certainly make use of it.
We would have public meetings and or workshops to
obtain additional information as necessary and also to
receive individual views from appropriate stakeholders on
the issue. This is very important. We want to make sure,
as this says here, that we keep all stakeholders informed of
issues, and what we're doing at all times.
The public will, of course, be notified of the
issue and all meeting and all workshops, and they would be
open to public participation.
MR. SEALE: Will that notification occur prior to
or following the initial NRR Executive Team decision on
whether or not to pursue the issue?
MR. CARPENTER: It will occur before we go out to
pursue the issue. If we need to gather some more
MR. SEALE: But initially, the Executive Team will
make a decision which could be to not look at it, in which
case the issue is dropped?
MR. CARPENTER: At which case if the issue is
decided to be dropped, we will appropriately document that,
and put it out in a public forum.
MR. SEALE: So that the decision to drop it--
MR. CARPENTER: Yes.
MR. SEALE: Becomes a matter of record?
MR. CARPENTER: Yes. It will not just completely
disappear at this point.
MR. HERMANN: Bob Hermann. The other piece of this
that will fit in there is part of what DET is using. Some
of these things are going to get bounced off of basically
5109 in terms safety enhancements, and this 5109 criterion
in terms of that will be part of making the judgement as to
whether or not what we do with the issue.
MR. CARPENTER: Looking at Box 2, the decision box
here. If the NRR ET does take a look at the initial
evaluation. They review it. They decide that the emergency
issue of sufficient importance to either meet with
applicable industry groups and other stakeholders to present
the staff's view or to immediately pursue the regulatory
action--other than an applicable industry group performing
an industry initiative. They will decide either to pursue
the issue, pursue the issue on an expedited basis, pursue
the issue via industry initiative, or not pursue at all.
If we determine not to pursue the issue, and this
goes back to the question you had, sir, that based on the
considerations, the technical issue, the policy
implications, whatever, the NRR ET may decide that the
safety significance and existing regulatory basis precludes
the need to pursue the issue, and at that point, the AIG's
may have been involved with this and other interested
stakeholders will be informed of the decision and the bases
for that decision. But this would not preclude AIGs from
pursuing this through other avenues or as an item through
the type of--
MR. WALLIS: Shouldn't there be a loop from down
below. I mean, that's the gate where you decided to pursue
or not. Once you decide to purse, you seem to be on track
all the way down to the bottom. It may be something you
discover along the way will make you go back to Box 3.
MR. CARPENTER: Please bear in mind, this is a very
simplified diagram. There are also sorts of--
MR. WALLIS: But I don't see any loop that says go
back to not pursue any further.
MR. WESSMAN: Well, I think your point is very well
taken. It is conceivable that as either more--maybe the
decision is made, hypothetically, I'm taking a situation
where not to pursue it. Some new information comes
available, and the issue would be revisited and we would
continue to look at the process. It is conceivable we say
the decision is to pursue the issue. Information again
becomes available that renders it almost moot, and a
decision would be made. I think the important thing is that
there is this structure to the process, and that there is
openness to the process and opportunity for participation by
all of the possible interested stakeholders, and that's an
aspect that we would continue to emphasize as Gene goes
But your concept of a revisit is certainly very
likely--you know, very possible, and is not precluded by the
way the guidelines are structured.
MR. WALLIS: Okay.
MR. CARPENTER: If decision two, decision one being
not to pursue the issue. Decision two being to expedite
resolution occurs, then we will go on to pursuing an
expedited basis to performing some corrective action. And
that would be based on the level of risk involved and the
need for the prompt corrective action to occur. And some of
the expeditious approaches could include activation of
appropriate owners groups regulatory response groups,
issuances of orders or bulletins in accordance with SECY
99-143, which is the generic communications SECY paper. The
staff may defer formal regulatory actions while appropriate
owners groups, regulatory response groups are activated to
address the issue. And again, we will keep all stakeholders
informed of what's going on through appropriate
If we decide not to pursue, if we decide that
it--we don't need to pursue or we don't need to pursue as a
regular expedited, just to go to industry initiatives, we
will then move on Box 5, which we will then send a letter to
identified AIGs, one or more as the case may be, and other
interested stakeholders, inviting an evaluation and
development of proposal for addressing the issue.
At this time, we will also be developing a Web
page to keep people informed of what's going on.
MR. WALLIS: Who's keeping informed? Presumably,
this is so that, if necessary, you can listen to what they
have to say?
MR. CARPENTER: We--
MR. WALLIS: Or just telling them.
MR. CARPENTER: Keeping informed means that it's a
two-way street. We want communications to and from
MR. WALLIS: Thank you.
MR. CARPENTER: The staff will evaluate any
proposal that the AIGs will bring to us after they've had
the issue identified to them, and also any stakeholder
comments or proposals before holding any further meetings or
workshops on this issue.
We want to make sure that we have a better
understanding of the issue. And once that is in place, if,
again, going back through the do loops here, we go and
decide to continue at this point, we'll have an industry
initiative action setting and communication plan
established. And those will be done by the applicable AIGs
with appropriate tasks, milestones, resources required,
responsible parties, licensee commitments, as appropriate,
et cetera, to be utilized in pursuing the resolution of the
issue of concern.
The staff will also establish its own action task
plan and communications plan to ensure that we are tracking
and monitoring what's happening and appropriately
communicating the actions to our stakeholders.
Some of the possible approaches for resolving the
issue could include development and implementation of an
industry program, voluntary licensing amendments, revision
to industry guideline documents, modifications to code and
standards, or even creation of a generic safety issue, and
others as appropriate.
MR. SHACK: These are really all applicable only to
the Type 1 initiatives, right? The Type 2 would more or
less bypass this whole process?
MR. CARPENTER: Type 2 would basically bypass this.
The--the action plan would be developed by the action group,
the applicable industry group as necessary, but the staff
would be once removed from this, because it is outside of
MR. HERMANN: Well, except for the
MR. CARPENTER: Except for the information
MR. HERMANN: That's basically an issue where there
was insufficient information available to do something, and
it would basically be an arrangement to work with an AIG to
provide the information to be able to make a decision if
something needs to go forward or not.
MR. CARPENTER: Going on to Box 6, the regulatory
acceptance of proposed industry initiative. Once the staff
has reviewed a proposal from the industry on how to address
this, and their action and communication plans, we will
proceed as described in Boxes 8 and 9 below. The industry
initiative in action, if they are found to be unacceptable,
the issues leading to the staff's rejection of those plans
for whatever reason will be communicated to the AIGs and
other stakeholders in an attempt to revise the issues--I
mean, those action plans that are not acceptable. Then, the
NRC will determine, if they remain unacceptable, if we need
any further regulatory action, which could move us back up
here to the issue resolution being expedited.
Staff acceptance or rejection of the proposed
industry initiative will be appropriately communicated
either through a Federal Register notice, placing it on the
NRC's Web page, or other communication means.
Going on to Box 7, if we determine that
appropriate regulatory action is necessary, that the staff
does not accept the AIG's proposed actions, individual
licensees that fail to commit to these accepted industry
initiative, or if member licensees fail to implement
committed to actions, the staff may take independent action
at that time.
Any regulatory actions taken will be determined
consistent with existing regulations and NRC policies and
procedures. And for items requiring back-fit analysis per
10 CFR 50.109, accrediting of industry initiatives, would
follow latest applicable guidance.
And we do have a SECY paper on that presently
before the Commission.
MR. POWERS: Doesn't that mean that once you come
to this Box 5, and say establish industry initiative, that
it's almost essential that there be a parallel activity
established by the staff so that they can act in the event
that licensees nominally susceptible to whatever
vulnerability has been identified but chose not to accept
the AIG's proposed solution can be dealt with?
MR. CARPENTER: By the time you've reached Box 5,
and you've decided that this is an issue of concern, and you
want to present it to the industry to see if they would take
it on an industry action, you have performed a regulatory
analysis sufficient to move forward with appropriate actions
from a regulatory perspective.
MR. POWERS: Okay. So you probably would have a
proposed regulatory action of some sort in mind at least,
maybe a conceptual idea, by the time you went to the Box 5?
MR. CARPENTER: Yes.
MR. WESSMAN: And, in fact, as Gene mentioned, in a
sense, there are parallel action plans. There may be the
industry's groups action plan and our action plan. And
obviously, that it should have some common points to them,
but there are slightly different motivations for certain
things that we may do or oversight type of things, and as
compared to what the industry may do.
Some of this is obviously a level of detail that
may depend on the type and the significance of the
particular issue, ranging all the way down to the Type 2
that we've talked about, where it's really outside our
purview, and the industry may have its own plans or less
rigorous activity depending on the importance of the issue.
MR. WALLIS: Okay. It's kind of useful to have
that in the diagram, because the impression here is that it
doesn't give that impression.
MR. CARPENTER: Well, the diagram, again, is very
simplified. If you go through the discussion of this in the
proposed SECY paper, we do discuss it to a greater degree.
MR. WESSMAN: We were making the effort of keep it
simple, and keep it on one page. And I think we're reaching
into nuances of the thing, and it was hard to get it all on
one page and still be simple with the thing.
MR. CARPENTER: Box 8, the implementation of the
industry initiative. At this point, we the staff have
agreed that the industry has a good proposal of how to
address the issue. It basically scratches ours. Now, what
we need to do is just have them go out, implement the
proposal, and we monitor what they do. Various milestones
in the action plan will be documented in the staff's task
action plan. And it will be tracked by the NRR director's
quarterly status report and incorporated into the NRR's
operating plan, as appropriate.
The milestones will be monitored via periodic
reviews, through periodic public meetings with the AIGs and
other stakeholders, and audits and or inspections as
MR. HERMANN: The other comment might be making
general overall, to answer a little of that earlier question
on the appropriate regulatory actions. This diagram and the
process--we looked at a Commission paper that went upstairs
on preparing things for generic communications, and it's
reasonably similar to this in terms of the way the process
looks, and some of the other things. So we did consider
that in part of the development of the process and that this
is consistent with that.
MR. WALLIS: I go back to the issue I raised about
Box 5. I read the details of Box 5. The only thing I can
find there about what the staff is doing besides just sort
of processing the industry's initiative, it says the staff
should establish its own industry initiative action task
plan. Now that to me simply indicated a way to push this
thing through the works. But you indicated it was more than
that; that it was actually thinking about the whole issue
and whether or not staff should go off and do something in
addition, because there was an important issue here of some
MR. CARPENTER: When we establish our action plan,
one of the milestones in that--and again, forgive me for
diverging, but we were trying to keep it as high level as
possible when we were putting this together.
MR. WALLIS: But I think you don't want to give the
impression that this is just sort of--I don't know to put
this--it's greasing the skids on something for industry to
just push something through, and you say, yes, all the time.
I think you have to be careful not to give that impression.
MR. CARPENTER: Oh, no. That is not the impression
that we're trying to give at all, sir. When we go out, and
we have an issue that we deem is of sufficient importance
that we want something to occur on it, if the industry comes
back and tells us that they want to do A, B, C, and D, and
we were thinking A, B, E, F, G, we'll say, you've got part
of it. We'd like for you to go back and take a look at this
over here. There will be communications back and forth on
this. The stakeholders may come back and say, yes, but what
about J and K over here? And we'll consider that also. But
it's not a foregone conclusion that simply because we offer
it up to the industry a possible industry initiative that it
will go forth, however they present it.
Box 9 now, inspection and or monitoring and
enforcement as necessary. And now Type 1 issues may
required that AIG member licensees will implement changes in
their programs, technical specifications, or take some other
actions as established in the industry initiative action
plan. The staff will perform inspection and or monitoring
of the implementation of Type 1 activities, and that will
depend upon the nature of the activities agreed to, to
address the issue. And enforcement will be available if
violations of regulatory requirements occur.
Type 2 industry initiatives involve actions that
are outside of existing regulatory requirements or that are
used as information-gathering mechanism for the need for NRC
overview of Type 2 activities is not anticipated and
enforcement actions will not be available. Need of
inspection and or monitoring will be determined consistent
with reactor oversight process and will be established on a
case basis consistent with the requirements associated with
implementation of the issue and revised risk-informed
If specific licensees or AIGs in general fail to
adequately implement agreed upon actions, the NRC will
address in the context of existing regulatory policy and or
additional regulatory action consistent with the guidance.
And, again, throughout all this we will
appropriately document the results and have stakeholders
informed of the issue status. Going on to other items that
will be involved in this process. We will need project
management, and basically we'll have a lead project manager
for the initiative appointed, and it will be either from the
Division of Project Management or the Division of Regulatory
Improvement Programs, as appropriate. And they'll be
responsible for facility and staff review of the industry
initiative, for assuring that activities described in the
action plan above are accomplished, and acting as the
staff's point of contact between the AIGs, stakeholders, and
other interested members of the public.
Also, want to--
MR. SHACK: Excuse me, Gene. Just a--at one point
in this process are the technical basis documents, for
example, for the industry initiative to be available to the
MR. CARPENTER: As soon as we put together their
proposal, we will have--that goes back, Bill--we go back to
establishing the industry initiative. They will come in
with meetings in this point, right here. The industry will
come in with their proposals, and those will be publicly
available. If there are proprietary concerns on these, we
will have non-proprietary versions of them available to the
public. So, we're trying to be as open as possible
throughout this process.
MR. WESSMAN: It's conceivable all the way back in
the Box 1, Box 2 phase, there could be information that on a
technical basis that becomes available as we are trying to
understand the issue, and these may be part of either
documents sent to us or part of meeting summaries, depending
on, you know, exactly how the interactions took place. The
idea is always openness.
MR. SHACK: Okay, so it will be different than the
VIP process, where, in fact, the documents were sort of
MR. CARPENTER: Initially.
MR. WESSMAN: Well, yeah, you can't violate the
proprietary aspects, because--I mean, I think, you know,
there are other laws that you run foul of, but as long as
you're not dealing with a proprietary aspect, any of the
interactions between the staff and the group with a
characterization of the problem, we want to make sure it's
MR. HERMANN: Yeah, Bill, the other piece of that
is I think with the VIP programs, early on there were
non-proprietary documents, okay. But I think what this or
any other process is going to take is judicious
implementation of what can be proprietary and
MR. SHACK: I guess you always had that problem all
the time. I never thought about it before. I mean, you
know, how do you make available the information that the
public might need to make a judgement when much of that
information is proprietary.
MR. HERMANN: Well, I think you need to get enough
things in there to make sense to people versus giving a
document where somebody just somebody just basically blanks
out lots of pages without too much thinking. I think
whoever's managing the project needs to do a good job of
control of the project in terms of making sure that the
non-proprietary version isn't just a bunch of blank pages.
MR. WESSMAN: And we face that with technical
reviews now. It may be on a thermal hydraulic code activity
or something like that, or going back to core shroud repairs
and the design--certain aspects of the design of core shroud
tie rods, for example, was a proprietary aspect. You had to
describe it in sufficient detail to inform the public and
the stakeholders and still maintain the proprietary. So
there is a balance there.
MR. SHACK: And the person in the public who felt
he wasn't getting enough would then go to a Freedom of
Information Act, is that his appeal process?
MR. CARPENTER: If necessary. He can always
contact the staff up front and ask us if, you know, more
information is available, and we will try to accommodate as
possible putting more information into the public domain.
But if, for whatever reason, the industry group says that
no, this is as--the maximum that is possible, we will
communicate that as appropriate.
MR. HERMANN: Well, one of the things we found in
the experience now, though, is some of the VIP reports are
going to be used for a basis for license renewal, and the
non-proprietary versions to say were a little skimpy. Those
were getting rewritten, and people can put out
non-proprietary versions that provide sufficient information
to be able to let people what's going on. You don't have to
put in all the numbers, but you certainly can describe
things sufficiently to let people know what's going on.
MR. CARPENTER: And just as a side note, VIP is the
BWR Vessel and Internals Project, and we've discussed with
the ACRS before. It's a good example of a voluntary
MR. POWERS: And we have another presentation from
that particular group coming up in the next couple of
MR. CARPENTER: I believe in September is when
MR. POWERS: It's probably when we need to move
ourselves along if we can. I'm not sure of how our time is.
MR. CARPENTER: Public participation. The
stakeholders will be given an opportunity to provide their
individual views on the industry initiative action plan and
to participate as possible. And, again, as we were just
mentioning, the staff will disclose to the public all
Communications plan. The staff will develop for
each issue, and the lead PM has the primary responsibility
for implementing that.
Resource planning. This is a particular concern
these days. The staff will meet publicly with industry
groups and other stakeholders to obtain information on the
status of ongoing and potential future industry initiatives.
And we will address our industry needs using the add shed
process as part of the PPP hand process, to prioritize
Fees. Right now, TIMSY part 170 allows for the
exempting of fees for generic reviews. And we are proposing
to the Commission that no licensee-specific charges
associated with industry initiatives will be charged. Sort
of a way to sweeten the pot to do this.
MR. WESSMAN: On the other hand, if you're in the
license amendment process, there are certain rules for that.
And so sometimes you reach into a situation where a fee
would be appropriate.
MR. SHACK: Well, then who pays for it, especially
if you don't get fees?
MR. CARPENTER: Well, the fees will be charged to
the overhead, and that's what 10 CFR part--
MR. WESSMAN: It's a part of the industry's
packages. I mean, NRC is a fee recovery agency, of course.
The cost of our doing business is spread across the industry
as a whole. And in that case, when we say there are no fees
charged, it's not charged to a specific group or it's a
specific collection of licensees.
MR. SHACK: So the generators pay for the fees?
MR. CARPENTER: Yes. And by source, as the case
MR. WESSMAN: Yeah. The generators get spread
MR. SEALE: It's called take out of the--
MR. WESSMAN: The VIPs get spread around. It goes
MR. SEALE: You're familiar with that, aren't you,
Bill? Take it out of your budget?
MR. WALLIS: But eventually then it's recovered
MR. CARPENTER: Yes, it will still be recovered
from industry. You're dealing with multiple licensees in
this case, and we feel that the added benefit of charging
for a small amount will be more than offset rather than
charging directly to these groups.
Tracking of the commitments will be consistent
with existing regulatory procedures, and enforcement
guidelines that we use throughout are consistent with the
reactor oversight process improvements.
Now, it should be noted and NEI will be talking in
just a moment that we did receive some stakeholders'
comments, mostly from NEI. And their views on this process
I will allow NEI to give them to you. I don't want to
mischaracterize those in any way.
The recommendations and future actions that we are
recommending to the Commission is that we are requesting the
Commission's approval of the proposed guidelines, which we
will issue for public comment. After considering the
further stakeholder comments, the staff will communicate a
final revised guidelines and implement for future industry
initiatives. And we'll go back to the Commission if the
final guidelines are of substantial difference from what the
present proposed guidelines are to be.
The final guidelines, as will the SECY-00-0116,
will be posted on the NRC's Web page for public review.
The expected milestones are that once the
Commission has approved the issue, the issuance of the
guidelines that we will have these out for public comment by
July 31st. The guidelines will be issued for a 45-day
comment period, and by August 31, and then the comments
resolved and final guidelines issued by January 5th, 2001.
In conclusion, the proposed guidelines for
including industry initiatives in the regulatory process
provide the maximum flexibility possible while making
optimum use of existing regulatory processes to provide a
framework for consistency and for efficient and effective
use of issues. The guidelines provide for public
participation in the process and for making information
available to all stakeholders. And interactions by the
staff with the industry groups or other members of the
public in utilizing these guidelines will be carried out so
that we do not run afoul of the Federal Advisory Committee
MR. WALLIS: What is the criterion for optimum?
MR. CARPENTER: For optimum?
MR. WALLIS: For making optimal use?
MR. CARPENTER: We want to make sure that it is
available to the extent practical.
MR. WALLIS: I don't think it's an appropriate
adjective to use. I think you--that it wouldn't change any
sense, unless you used some criterion.
MR. CARPENTER: Okay. Thank you.
MR. HERMANN: Well, thank you. We'll take that
MR. CARPENTER: And that concludes our discussion.
MR. WESSMAN: And I guess, as I wind up, we wind
up, I would point out a couple of things. In the past the
work with the industry over the last few years on industry
initiatives I think has worked quite effectively. It has
been somewhat ad hoc in nature. And yet, the communications
with the industry and the meetings with the industry all
follow our processes for, you know, public awareness and
this sort of thing. I think what we are bringing with this
approach is a little more structure and rigor to how we do
the process, and assure that we work such interactions with
the industry in a consistent and very open manner. And this
was I think a principal motivation to develop the sort of
process that you see.
And I think also, as we pointed out earlier, the
level of detail in the process may be dependent on the type
of issue. And I think the meat of your VIP happens to be an
issue, although handled on an ad hoc basis, is a very
complex and a large issue and has been and shows a path of a
lot of interactions between the staff and the industry and a
lot of interaction that has included the public, where all
of the proprietary rules and this sort of thing allow. It
may be that a less significant issue or something that may
be focused on a--for example, a certain class of valves or
something like that--may be, but much less rigorous and
structured just by virtue of the nature of the issue.
But these general guidelines help push the staff
into a level of structure that I think provides that
confidence to the other stakeholders and the industry that
we are following a process, and it's an understood process,
and it's working.
MR. HERMANN: But it also might provide a benefit
of some efficiencies in the process in terms of reaching
resolution on issues so things don't drag out for quite
maybe as long as some other things have.
MR. WESSMAN: And quite true, and, as we mentioned,
the efficiency may stretch to where generic correspondence
may not be necessary or appropriate because of the actions
Well, without any further questions or else we
want to turn over the remaining time to NEI.
MR. BARTON: Do any members have any other
questions of the staff at this time? If not, thank you very
MR. WESSMAN: Thank you, sir.
MR. BARTON: And now turn it over to Alex Marion
from NEI. Alex?
MR. MARION: Good morning. My name is Alex Marion.
I'm the Director of Programs at the Nuclear Energy
Good morning, and thank you for the opportunity to
speak with you on this interesting topic. I have to tell
you that I've been involved in the stakeholder meetings
going back to the first one, which I believe was in
September of 1998. And, as the staff indicated, NEI had
submitted two letters offering comments and concerns
relative to the NRC's process that was articulated a few
minutes ago. And those comment letters, along with the
transcript of the stakeholder meetings I think represent a
broad spectrum of issues and concerns with the NRC's
intended use of industry initiatives as a substitute or an
alternative for regulatory action.
I do have one question relative to the purpose of
the guidance that I would like to ask the staff. It wasn't
clear to me during the presentation whether the guidance was
intended for internal NRC use or was it intended for another
MR. WESSMAN: This is Dick Wessman from the staff.
The guidance is really intended to help guide both internal
and external organizations. It's essentially a process for
us on the staff. It's our document, and it's our process.
On the other hand, as we interact with the
associated industry groups, we would hope that they would
embrace the concept of the process and work constructively
with us on the process.
MR. MARION: Okay. Thank you. The--one of the key
points that we've made as a first step in any process
associated with addressing technical and regulatory issues
was to take advantage of the opportunities to have early
frequent communications with the industry. And these
communications and interactions, of course, would be held in
the public forum; in other words, public meetings.
And we have found historically that those
interactions have been extremely important, because
fundamentally there are two types of issues that often
arise. They are either technical or regulatory, right up
front. Initially, it's a technical concern of some sort,
and you need to understand that. And once you get that
understanding, then it becomes clear what the regulatory or
associated regulatory issues may be. Or, there's a
regulatory concern--one of straightforward compliance with
one of the existing NRC requirements.
And that needs to be understood, right up front,
as soon as possible. As the staff indicated, some issues
and interactions are more complex than others. What I'm
suggesting from the standpoint of these interactions with
the NRC, it may take one meeting. It may take several
meetings. It may take additional information to be gathered
to either address the technical and or regulatory concern.
But once that's been addressed and identified and
understood, it becomes quite clear to everyone involved what
the proper course of action is. And that proper course of
action may be a complementary set of activities between the
NRC and the industry. And by that, I mean the NRC will need
to pursue some regulatory action and possibly in the form of
a generic communication. Industry may decide to pursue some
complementary course of action on their own, as opposed to
waiting for the generic communications to hit the street so
to speak. And there may be instances where there will be
separate and independent courses of action. The industry
may indicate to the NRC that this is clearly a regulatory
issue that must be addressed by the NRC, and the NRC should
move forward and address it expeditiously. And, in that
particular case, the industry may decide not to do--not to
pursue anything, but rather wait until the NRC has
articulated the regulatory course of action.
Most of the times that's been in the form of
rulemaking effort. There may be other instances where, when
all the information is brought to bear to support the
understanding of the technical regulatory nature of the
issue, that it becomes clear action on the part of the NRC
is not warranted. But the industry may decide to pursue
some action to improve performance, and I think the NRC
alluded to that framework, if you will. And this would
apply to areas that are outside the regulatory framework.
But again, you can't make that determination of what's
inside or what's outside the regulatory framework until you
get a good understanding of the technical nature of the
problem--scope and magnitude--and then move forward in
So we believe that's--those interactions and
communications are extremely important. And I think
historically, we have found that to be very successful and
very effective in terms of understanding the issues before
However, I need to make this perfectly clear. If
the NRC has an expectation that an action undertaken by
industry is subject to inspection and enforcement, then our
position simply put is that the NRC must pursue regulatory
action, because fundamentally if they want to hold someone
accountable through the inspection and enforcement process,
then there clearly has to be a nexus to safety and a nexus
to a clear regulatory requirement that falls within the
framework of the current body of regulations.
That's a very fundamental principle that cannot be
compromised. And we feel very strongly about that.
Can I assume for a minute that the Committee has
copies of the letters that we submitted with our comments
and has reviewed them? Okay. Very good.
Just an observation on the flow chart and the
presentation by staff on this guidance. I'm kind of
surprised, and I arrived here this morning about 10 minutes
before the break in which the young lady from Public Citizen
was expressing concerns about public participation,
stakeholder input, et cetera. And I have to admit, I share
her concerns, because I'm interested in the NRC's
dispositioning of the comments that we have submitted over
the past couple years relative to NRC's use of voluntary
industry initiatives. I look forward to an opportunity to
see the SECY paper, and we look forward to an opportunity to
provide comments on NRC's--excuse me--NRC's guidance
And with that, I complete my comments, and I would
like to give you a few minutes to ask any questions you
MR. POWERS: Let me just follow up on what you
ended with. If I look at this flow chart, it does not seem
to highlight that fundamental position you articulated
concerning enforcement. I mean, it's almost a closure
thing. Inspection or monitoring and enforcement. I mean,
it's just a box at the end. It doesn't say--it doesn't have
an arrow that ties off to a fundamental regulatory objective
or anything like that. I mean that's clearly an objection
you had to this flow chart. I mean, it is such a thing that
it--it's so important to you that it really ought to appear,
even on a highly simplified chart, is what you're saying?
MR. MARION: It should appear on--in the first step
of the process when we interact on the scope and magnitude
and the technical nature of the issue, and the regulatory
basis, et cetera. And once you have that understanding,
then it becomes clear that the NRC has an inspection and
MR. POWERS: And it may be that that's what they
MR. MARION: If that is the case, that should be
determined right up front.
MR. POWERS: Maybe that that's what they intend in
Box 2. Dick, can you enlighten us on that?
MR. HERMANN: Yeah--
MR. POWERS: Go ahead, Bob.
MR. HERMANN: I think that we have a little history
with working with industry initiatives, and I think the type
of initiative that it is, for instance, let's take the VIP,
for instance, as an example. The activities that BWR VIP
were in our view enforceable when those things--a lot of the
issues that started there started as addressing things that
were later adopted into plant-specific programs. For
instance, some of these items would have--if you had to went
generic letter route, would have been probably compliance
exceptions to the rule. When the procedures in the
inspection guidelines and things like that were implemented
for those activities, they were implemented under an
Appendix B program at the plant sites. And those items,
just like any other activity at the plant, were inspectable
activities once they were implemented by the licensee under
Appendix pre-control QA program. Things like, say, you had
the shut-down risk type issues that were done voluntarily at
the plants, we would consider those issues probably not to
be an enforceable issue because it's outside of the current
regulatory basis. If a utility, and this is discussed in
the paper--if those things, say a licensee decided not to do
a shutdown risk program, I think at that point, it would be
incumbent on the staff to take a regulatory action if they
thought it was necessary. But it wouldn't be in the
And I think some of that discussion is in the
paper in terms of differentiating between what's inspected
and what's monitored. Things that are--that may be risk
significant that are outside of the regulatory basis are
monitored. And if additional regulatory action is required
based on something, then the staff will take that action.
MR. WESSMAN: Yeah, the only thing I'd supplement
Bob's remarks with is part of the narrative description in
the SECY paper that deals with Box 1, which is the
identification phase, touches on the aspects of, you know,
is it a Type 1 or a Type 2 issue? Are there regulatory
responsibilities there that compel regulatory action by
virtue of the significance of the issue or the type of
issue? Is there a backfit consideration? You know, I don't
think we should start our paper with the most important
thing is enforcement. The most important thing is the
consideration of the regulatory responsibility, and we think
that's encompassed in the discussion of the issue
identification and characterization as part of Box 1.
So I think we've addressed it there, and yet we've
tried to keep the overall diagram simple.
MR. POWERS: I know we're just a victim of optics
here. And when he says this is a fundamental principle of
one of your stakeholders, I think I would pay attention to
those optics in the flow chart.
MR. WESSMAN: Yes, sir. I understand, and we
certainly hear the NEI comment. And as we interact with
them further after these guidelines are put out for public
comment, from any of the stakeholders, we will listen, and
we will, you know, disposition and respond accordingly.
MR. BARTON: Thank you. Alex?
MR. MARION: That's it.
MR. BARTON: Thank you. Thank you very much. At
this point, Mr. Chairman, you've got the meeting back.
MR. POWERS: Thank you. We now turn to the topic
of safety culture, and I think we have a presentation by one
of our own fellows. And ordinarily, I would ask Dr.
Apostolakis to lead us through this, but he doesn't look
like he's in any capacity, so I will take on my own weak
shoulders this chore, and introduce our Jack Sorenson to the
Committee, in case you don't know him; and bring up the
issue of safety culture.
Safety culture is an issue that we have been
dancing around now for some three years that I know of. It
is sometimes a topic whose elements are a bit in the eyes of
the beholder. It has for a long time been considered an
important aspect in the safety of a nuclear power plant;
that is, the safety culture that prevails there. There have
been numerous attempts to try to quantify what's meant by
safety culture, because there's a belief that our tools for
assessing safety, that is, the probabilistic risk assessment
ought to reflect safety culture in some way. These
possibilities and probabilities have been kicked around by a
lot of people. The Committee decided that there was enough
rumor, innuendo, and the like surrounding safety culture
that maybe it was an issue that should be pursued by one of
our fellows to give us a clear picture on that subject. And
so Jack's here to give us a clearer picture on what's meant
by safety culture. Okay, we'll--
MR. SORENSEN: I will do my best. For the record,
I am Jack Sorensen. The discussion today is structured
around the -- basically three questions that were posed when
we started down this path sometime ago now. I will touch on
what is safety culture, focusing primarily on the IAEA, your
International Nuclear Safety Advisory Group, since they
introduced the term; talk a little bit about why it is
important; and, finally, touch on what the NRC can do about
The International Nuclear Safety Advisory Group
introduced the term "safety culture" in their report on the
Chernobyl accident in 1986. They expanded on it later in a
third -- I think INSAG-3 on nuclear power plant safety and
then in 1991 wrote a -- wrote INSAG-4, which is devoted
entirely to the concept of safety culture. And they divided
the concept into basically three parts: a policy level
commitment that reflects the intent of the regulator and the
corporate management of the facilities; a manager's
commitment, which is -- basically addresses middle
management functions; and individual commitment, which is,
you know, the response of individuals to the provisions made
for safety and for implementing safety.
INSAG starts off by saying that you have to have a
policy statement at the highest level and you have to have
management structures that provide clear lines of
responsibility and authority. You have to provide resources
and there has to be an element of self-regulation. What
they're calling self-regulation is what we would call
At the management level, they ask for definition
of responsibilities, definition and control of safety
practice, adequate qualifications and training, a system of
rewards and sanctions that promotes safety conscious
behavior, and an audit review and comparison function that
helps guide the program and provide feedback. These areas,
the policy level commitment and the manager's commitment,
are basically what are called management and organization
factors at other places in the literature. The individual
commitment, maintaining a questioning attitude, implementing
rigorous and prudent approaches to carry out procedures or
addressing safety problems, and communicating within the
organization are obviously extremely important and fall more
or less in the category of attitudes and beliefs, as they're
addressed elsewhere in the literature.
Interestingly enough, there's an article in the
May issue of Nuclear News on a human performance improvement
program implemented at Duke Power. This was -- if you have
not read the article, I would recommend it. The program was
started at the McGuire Station in 1994, after several years
of what the management perceived to be declining
performance, and the program was later propagated to other
Duke Power plants. The figure here, which I borrowed from
the Nuclear News article, embodies a number of elements that
they think were important to human performance improvement
and do not use the term "safety culture." It doesn't appear
in the article. I don't know if it's used elsewhere in the
program, but it was not mentioned in the article.
But the thing to note is that the elements here
correspond fairly closely to the elements that the INSAG
document I just referenced corresponds to. I haven't done a
one-to-one mapping of every element in the diagram, but it's
pretty evident that it covers the same territory. The upper
part of the arrow corresponds to the individual commitment
in the INSAG documents. The lower part, the supervisors and
managers portions of the arrow here correspond to the --
what INSAG calls manager's commitment. The program, as
represented here, doesn't cover the policy level issues, but
they're certainly implicit in the existence of the program.
In terms of results, it's worth to comment,
according to the article, since the program has been
implemented, outage times at McGuire, in particular, have
been reduced from about 90 days for a typical refueling
outage to around 33 days, and their capacity factor has
increased from about 72 percent to about 89 percent, and
that is --
MR. WALLIS: Excuse me, words are fine in this
figure. The victory is strange. I mean, this event, the
human performance, is teetering an unstable equilibrium on
MR. SORENSEN: I cannot defend the graphic.
MR. SORENSEN: I simply present it as it was
presented in the article.
MR. WALLIS: It looks like a very solid structure
until you get up to the top.
MR. UHRIG: That's the target, the hidden target.
MR. POWERS: I found the article interesting,
because, as Jack said, they do not, at any time, use the
word "safety culture." They did encounter a situation,
where the management perceived there to be a declining
performance. They set about trying to solve that and they
came up with a solution that involved things -- all things.
It seemed to be in the realm of safety culture. You don't
see them changing the hardware here. It's changing what I
would call the wet ware.
MR. WALLIS: The questioning attitude is
interesting. I mean, at some point, you want to know
questioning obedience to the level of procedures are.
MR. SORENSEN: Interestingly enough, that's one of
the -- one of the conflicts that's identified in the whole
nuclear safety area. You want to proceduralize all of your
routine activities; you want people to adhere to procedures;
and, at some point, you have to provide, through the
culture, presumably, the freedom to go do the right thing
when the unexpected happens. And how you accomplish both of
those things in an organization is acknowledged as a very
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: It, also, I think, questions the
procedures, themselves, you know, why are we doing certain
things. It doesn't mean disobedience.
MR. SORENSEN: Right.
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: It means that people are not
passive receptors of whatever comes down from the top.
MR. SIEBER: I'll do whatever you want --
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: Yeah. But, I think Jack is
right. I mean, it's really difficult to draw the lines.
MR. UHRIG: Verbatim compliance is there.
MR. SORENSEN: Well, I think the --
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: I'm sorry, you can still have
verbatim compliance, but you can have people questioning
what they're about to comply with. After the law is set,
they have to comply.
MR. SIEBER: And the idea is to have a questioning
attitude such that questions are asked before the -- asked
to be, which is all of your review procedures. I think that
MR. SHACK: What you're doing, if you do it.
MR. SORENSEN: The element that I was referring to
really is when one encounters an area that is not covered
adequately by procedures or processes or whatever.
MR. SIEBER: Where you get the wrong response,
different than expected.
MR. SEALE: Perhaps it's not an awkward fact that
even when you do everything right, you still have to hit the
objective at the appropriate balance point, in order to get
this event free human performance. This doesn't guarantee
you won't have a problem. It does prepare you to achieve
that situation, if you do it right.
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: I wonder what kind of high-level
guidelines they had, when they developed their performance
monitoring system. That would be a very interesting thing
to pursue. They have performance monitoring under monitors.
MR. SEALE: Maybe we should ask them.
MR. SORENSEN: Yeah. The -- there are a number of
interesting questions that are suggested by the article. It
was reasonably brief, if you will, three or four pages in
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: I like this guideline, stop when
I'm sure. Does that apply to the operators during an
MR. WALLIS: If you applied that to PRAs, you'd
never complete one.
MR. SORENSEN: One of the comments that was made
in the article, it quotes from one of the Duke Power people,
was if you analyze an entire event, you'll find that it
wasn't just one mistake. It was five, six, or seven
mistakes that occurred and there weren't enough
contingencies or barriers built in to prevent the event from
happening. And this common cause assessment identified the
need for focus human error reduction training for
technicians and supervisors. This has been observed by a
number of people in a number of places, if you will; that a
lot of the literature on safety culture is devoted to the
fact that these so called latent errors can perhaps only be
attacked by safety culture or something very much like it.
Back in March, there was a presentation from -- by
the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory
on a study sponsored by the NRC staff and they looked at 35
operating events, 20 of them using PRA techniques with the
one objective being to identify the influence of human
performance in significant operating events. The events
that they looked at using the PRA techniques, the importance
range from one times ten to the minus six, to five times ten
to the minus three. What they're calling importance here, I
inferred from the presentation, was conditional core damage
probability and the event on the high end of that was the
Wolf Creek drain down event.
They, again, found that the ratio of latent errors
to active errors was four to one, specifically in the cases
they looked at. Latent errors included failure to correct
known problems, failure to respond to information notices,
included engineering problems, design, design change,
testing, engineering evaluations, resources of failure. The
main point here is that the -- it reenforces the thought
that latent errors are important and leads one to look for
ways to deal with them effectively.
MR. SEALE: Jack, I would urge you to reconsider
one of the words -- one of the things that's not on that
slide. Your slide suggests that you're better off if you
don't even do an engineering evaluation. The point is that
the engineer that does the evaluation has the responsibility
to make sure his engineering evaluation has quality in it.
It's a faulty engineering evaluation that gets you into
MR. SORENSEN: I would not argue with that. This
falls in the category of a quote.
MR. SEALE: Yeah, but I think it's a significant
-- you know, the suggestion is, if you -- you know, I don't
agree, it's nice to keep the engineers out of the plant,
because they need to run it; but, that's going a little far.
MR. SORENSEN: I suspect that they did not mean to
imply -- but, I tried to --
MR. SEALE: Yeah, I understand.
MR. SORENSEN: -- quote the slide directly from
that earlier presentation. One of the issues with respect
to safety culture is identified in the management and
organization factors that are important. There are a number
of attempts in the literature to do that. One is from Weil
and Apostolakis, a 1999 paper, where they identified half a
dozen elements, management and organization factors that
appear in other articles, other papers, as specifically
elements of safety culture.
MR. WALLIS: Can I ask about this paper?
MR. SORENSEN: Yes, sir.
MR. WALLIS: I'm not familiar with these authors.
Some authors simply write down something that comes off the
top of their head; others carefully research evidence and
these things are important. Into which category does this
MR. SORENSEN: There's some evidence supporting
this. This is actually a reduction of a somewhat longer
list of about 20 factors by -- that originated in some
NRC-sponsored work at Berkhaven National Laboratory. There
was some preliminary work done, establishing statistical
significance, if you will, for the 20 -- or for most of the
20 elements. One of the problems with 20 elements is it's
hard to work with and the paper, which I would be happy to
make available to you, provides the logic for reducing the
20 to six, by combining certain factors, by looking for
factors that are more important than others. So, yes, it
has some basis.
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: I vaguely recall, from reading
this paper some time ago, that they relied on 15 -- about 15
vendor inspection team reports, doing root cause analysis
and looking for things that were -- so, and these are fairly
significant events, is the IAEA reports. But, I can
certainly call up your --
MR. WALLIS: Well, which one of those two was the
MR. UHRIG: Is this the URC report?
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: Uh?
MR. UHRIG: Is this the URC report?
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: Probably URC.
MR. SORENSEN: One of the points made in this
paper, again, supports the previous slides on latent errors
and many organization factors or cultural issues. Potential
for organization factors to lead to common cause failures is
strongly suspected. They acknowledge that the evidence is
not complete, at this point; but, they do give an example
where word prioritization led to the failure of dissimilar
components. In particular, they described a case study of a
loss of feed water event at a pressurized water reactor.
The progress of the event and the recovery from it were
complicated by the failure of both an atmospheric steam dump
valve and a startup boiler availability to provide glance
When the authors looked at the event, the
conclusion was that there was corrective maintenance that
had been identified on both of those components. It had not
been performed. And it seems reasonable to conclude, then,
that the work prioritization was not correct -- you know,
that work should have been done and that that element of the
process led to the failure of -- or unavailability of
Going back for a moment to the International
Nuclear Safety Advisory Group and pick up the issue of
performance indicators relative to safety culture, the
INSAG-4 approach to safety culture is, if you'll forgive the
reference, very similar to their approach to defense in
depth. They write down everything that they could possibly
think of that might have some positive influence on safety
culture. They end up, I think, with about 150 questions,
you know, to be asked in a safety culture evaluation.
Following INSAG-4, there was a -- there were ASCOT
guidelines written, analyzing safety culture in organization
team ASCOT -- assessment of safety culture in organization
team. And they wrote guidelines based on the 150 questions,
which amount to another 300 or so guide questions. And,
typically, at the operating organization level, a basic
question might be: has a safety statement -- policy
statement been issued. The ASCOT guide questions addressed
to plant personnel might be: explain what you know of the
company safety policy statements. And the indicators that
ASCOT identifies are existence of safety policy statement,
policy reminders of statement to the staff, and so forth.
The problem with this approach, as you might
guess, is that you end up with answers to 450 questions and
there's nothing in the process that I have been able to find
that tells you how to prioritize those things or how to
proceed to fix the most important one.
MR. WALLIS: I'm asking myself, what's magic about
the word "safety?" If you look at organizations who do
anything, like manufacture of automobiles, or some -- in
some mysterious way, seems to make it much more reliable
than the other one. It's not something about the culture
and it's not the safety of the good. And maybe the words
you use here would apply to that sort of question, too. I
mean, a good x culture --
MR. SORENSEN: Absolutely true; absolutely true.
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: In 1995, there was a conference
on safety culture in Vienna and I proposed that we drop the
current safety culture and talk about the general culture or
quality culture at the plant, because it's hard to separate
them. And the suggestion was universally rejected. In
fact, some people from the IAEA got upset. I don't know why
they got upset, but they got upset. And they said, well,
gee, you know, the whole idea here is to focus on safety and
you're trying to take that away. So, the suggestion has
been made. It really does not -- it's non-culture; it's
non-culture is the concept. But, I guess, INSAG really
wanted to focus on the safety part.
MR. SIEBER: And I think that everybody, who has,
from an industry viewpoint, sponsored safety culture has
done the same thing under the supposition that if you tried
to put forth operating culture, then there would be a
conflict of interest between operations and safety. And so,
they picked the term "safety culture" to say this is first
and all of these other things come next.
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: On the other hand, Jack, if you
had the good culture, if you're having a conflict, you would
try to harmonize things and make sure, because, it's a fact
of life, you cannot forget your main mission.
MR. SIEBER: Strangely enough, a safe plant, a
well-maintained plant, and a plant with good control and
highly trained and responsive workers operates very well.
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: And that's what Jack told us
MR. SEALE: It's like discritizing integrity. You
know, you have integrity overall or you don't have it
anywhere; and you have culture in the positive sense in
everything you do or you really don't have it anywhere.
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: I would really like the ACS to
make that point somewhere, because I really think it's one
culture. But, we have to discuss it --
MR. BONACA: It's more complex than that. What I
mean is that there are plants that -- you know, where the
culture is not necessarily one of meaning harm or whatever.
It's a culture of being used to to reduce the size of the
procedures, less prescriptive procedures, more intuitive
processes, and that's very different from big -- that you
have today for the way you run the power plant. And I'm
saying that that's what culture, to simply say, you know,
the issue of integrity. I mean, you find people that you
disagree with, insofar as what they want to do or how; but,
it's all because you tell them that integrity -- is because
they simply don't want to move into a different world, where
the professions are high.
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: But, then, I would say they have
-- culture, period, because it's a fact -- it's a fact that
the reason why we build these plants is to produce power.
You can't ignore it. So, here, the decisionmaking processes
and so on, I mean, that's an element of --
MR. BONACA: Yeah. And it may be an issue of, you
know -- present the fact that it's a more complex issue than
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: It is very complex, there's no
question about it.
MR. BONACA: Yeah. And I think that -- I
understand where you're going, but I think that using the
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: Well, I tell you, wait until you
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: But, I would like to know your
views and I'm glad that Graham raised the issue.
MR. SORENSEN: Okay. Another attempt to develop
or identify performance indicators, there was a study done
by the Swedish Regulatory Authority, which Dr. Bonaca
participated in, and they went very directly to identifying
indicators using entirely an expert opinion process. They
started out with a list of, I think, 75 or 80 possible
indicators of safety culture and then using this expert
elicitation process, narrowed that list down to the five
that are on the view graph here: safety significant error
rate, maintenance problem rate, ratio corrective to
preventive maintenance, regular problems with repeated root
causes, and rate of plant changes not documented. They
actually went a step further from this and using -- by
assigning the numerical scores to the items here, developed
an algorithm for changing PRA parameters and PRA results
probability of a component failing or being unavailable.
The thing that is missing from this particular
process, you know, appears to be the mechanism by which
these particular indicators, you know, reflect safety
cultures. It's not clear what that -- what that connection
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: It's just adjustment of the
MR. SORENSEN: Right.
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: We have one of them here.
MR. BARTON: What does the bottom one mean?
MR. SORENSEN: Number of plant modifications --
MR. BARTON: Oh, modifications.
MR. SORENSEN: -- of every system --
MR. BARTON: Okay.
MR. SORENSEN: -- that have been carried out, but
MR. POWERS: When I look at this list of
indicators, when I go back to the Duke Power approach, what
they did to correct them, I guess I don't see a clear
correlation between the corrective action that generally are
taken to and redressing these -- as a consequence of that.
But, they don't seem to get close -- is there any attempt to
MR. SORENSEN: I have not seen that. Mario may
MR. BONACA: I think the issue here was -- the
focus of this was more to provide some models for using --
and that, therefore, kept -- you were discussing there of
trying to identify linkages between culture and this
particular indicators. And, in fact, there was really a
shortcut, that if you had to really use this as peer
indicators, successfully perform -- it was a type proof. It
was an identified approach, to go down from 75 or 80
recorded indicators, to five, you know, indicates that they
were -- and so the top five were selected, as I said, as to
the final approach.
Second, it's so easy to do. You eliminate a lot
of other indicators that normally paralyze -- because they
all stay put. So, you are forced to an end and output five.
And what we felt is that these indicators for most power
plants are seen as significant indications of poor culture.
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: Is anybody tracking, for
example, the rate of performance with repeat of crew costs?
MR. BARTON: Yes.
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: The ratio of correct to --
MR. BARTON: Yes, everybody does that.
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: So all of these are available?
MR. BARTON: Yes.
MR. SIEBER: No, they aren't. Maybe not the
bottom one, because the last one is because it hasn't been
MR. BARTON: That's right.
MR. SIEBER: Very observant; very observant.
MR. BARTON: There was actually the result from
inspections, from regulatory inspections. But, the --
MR. SIEBER: The rest of them are.
MR. BARTON: -- some of them appear the problems
MR. BONACA: Specific problems could be root
MR. BARTON: It's an indicator of --
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: Mario, is, that I don't know
what their root cause is, unless we all agree on the root
cause analysis. I mean, you look at root causes analyses,
they do all kinds of -- there are all kinds of --
MR. BARTON: True.
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: I mean, unless you tell people,
look, I really want you to go down and look at such and such
for such and such a thing, then it's kind of open ended.
MR. BONACA: Well, it's, also, -- I mean, what
that meant was that you find problems that repeated
themselves for which root causes have been identified and
corrective action --
MR. BARTON: But -- in effect, you didn't have the
right root causes.
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: I mean, if you don't look at the
prioritization part of your work, for example, you'll never
MR. BONACA: I think the value of this is that,
you know, these are just a sample of the type of issues that
are being tracked by power plants. They're very important
that they track this and they are indicators.
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: Well, and I looked at the list
of names of the participants and with the exception of some
people, they were --
MR. POWERS: With the exception of one. I mean, I
raise this -- I raised the question about the validation,
because in your magna opus, you say that it's -- and I think
it was in the chemical industry, where there's people, who
looked at indicators that subsequently be able -- they were
able to find correlated accident rates or event rates and
that had a great deal of attraction to me, that you can
identify indicators that had some correlation. Those seem
to have some particular validity and I can't remember what
MR. SORENSEN: Well, the literature on the
chemical industry is particularly interesting, because they
do have accident rate data, which the nuclear power
business, in general, does not have. And there are a number
of studies. The best ones appear to have been done in the
United Kingdom, that correlate -- that show a good strong
statistical correlation between certain management and
organization factors that we, in this business, would call
safety culture, they call safety climate or something else,
and actual accident rates.
The little bit of field work that has been done in
this country on nuclear plants has shown the same kind of
correlation between certain management and organization
factors and good plant performance. But the data is pretty
fragmented and the terminology is different and whether you
can extrapolate between the technologies is not so clear.
But the evidence -- the evidence is there. One would like
perhaps to tie it up in a more convincing package, but there
are enough pieces out there to make it worthwhile looking.
MR. WALLIS: FAA has studied airline safety. It
must have been very similar.
MR. SORENSEN: Yes, obviously, they do. I'm
trying to remember now what -- how they treated safety
culture per se. They certainly look at management and
organization factors. I don't think they call it safety
culture, as such.
MR. WALLIS: They may not call it that, but these
indicators would still be useful to them.
MR. SORENSEN: Yes.
MR. SIEBER: They've done a lot of work with
crews, flight crews.
MR. SORENSEN: Right.
MR. BARTON: Most of theirs is team and crew.
MR. SIEBER: That's right, command and control.
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: I think the Navy, also, has done
the same thing for submarine --
MR. WALLIS: But the maintenance problem, too, I
mean, that comes up a lot with airlines.
MR. SORENSEN: Yes. In fact, that is the source
of latent errors in the airline industry.
Touching on root cause analysis provides the
transition to this slide that I was trying to figure out how
to make a transition to. The last point that I wanted to
touch on was the importance of making sure that the root
cause analyses that are done adequately cover the human
performance safety culture issues, if you will.
ATHEANA comes very close to doing what needs to be
done there. This is a selection of the certain elements
from the ATHEANA analysis of the Wolf Creek drain down
event, as reported in NUREG 1624, I think: incompatible
work activities; compressed outage schedules; poor metal
models of systems and valves, that should read; heavier
reliance on the control room crew to identify potential
problems; inadequate pre-execution review of procedures.
MR. POWERS: One of the things that puzzles me
about this is in the beginning, you talked about the Duke
experience instead of this tremendous success, because they
were able to compress their outage schedule from 90 days to
MR. BARTON: I don't think they're directly
related, just because you don't put a lot of faith in that
reducing your outage time.
MR. POWERS: There's a lot of other things --
MR. BARTON: Yes, there's a lot of other stuff
that goes in to reducing outage time magnitude, other than
the arrow chart.
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: But, it was a part of it though.
MR. BARTON: Oh, definitely; yes.
MR. SORENSEN: Well, I think -- in fact, the Duke
Power article does make a point of the fact that the -- that
their experience with reducing outage time is a result of
MR. BARTON: Right.
MR. SORENSEN: And the clear implication was that
you can't simply make the schedule shorter. You've got to
do things to make it possible to get the work done.
MR. BARTON: Both control and better planning and
all of that; a lot of preparation.
MR. BONACA: The other thing is that, you know,
those elements of the Duke Plant are widespread. I mean, in
different forums, they'll look like an arrow or something
else; but, everybody has tried those things. And
oftentimes, they're not successful, but they're elements
MR. BARTON: I think then what you get into, then
you get into individuals -- individual's performance. I
mean, you can have the buzz words, but you have to go and
implement that and you have to have management believing
that and always communicating it. And if you don't have
that -- you can have all kinds of bullet charts or arrow
charts, whatever. It looks nice, but it won't work. It
won't happen. That's when you get into the people aspect of
MR. WALLIS: Jack, I have one question for you
now. As an academic, I guess, I tend to feel that one
understands something when one is able to teach it -- when
one is able to teach it and you don't really know if you
understand it, until you try to teach it. And if safety
culture is to be understood and useful, then, eventually,
it's got to be taught, so that every manager, every plant
isn't learning on the job, but can learn from other people's
experience and can, therefore, acquire safety culture
without learning by failures. So, hopefully, if this is
ever to get somewhere, these observations, which are very
useful, have to be put into a form, which is transferrable
to other folks and helps them develop this safety culture.
MR. SORENSEN: Yes, that's certainly correct. I
think one of the remarkable things that I took away from the
brief description of the Duke Power program was that this
was something that they started on the basis of their
observation of declining performance, and they started it
and got it working in a very positive way before there was
any regulatory -- apparently any overt regulatory pressure
on them. You know, they didn't get forced into a long get
well outage like some plants in the past have.
I guess I would, also, make the observation that
what works at Duke may not work at other utilities and
that's your real challenge.
MR. BARTON: The culture is the people.
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: But, the fundamental question
here, you know, that I think Jack is about to raise -- I
mean, all of this is nice, the first 11 slides. And, you
know, you can argue about the details; but, essentially, you
know, the basic elements have been captured. But, let us
not forget that this is the advisory committee to the U.S.
Nuclear Regulatory Commission. What -- the fundamental
question is: should the NRC be doing anything in this area;
and if so, what? In other words, what is the proper role of
the regulator here? So, it's not -- is it our business, for
example, to do what Graham said, go and make sure that
everybody understands it and, you know, teach them, or it is
the appropriate role of -- this is the proper role for Duke
Power, for Entergy, and so on, and we should stay out? But,
should we stay out completely? Is there anything we should
do? I don't know. But, we have --
MR. POWERS: It seems to me that the question that
this committee has is perhaps the one you identified, but it
is more technical than that; that is, is this a feature of
the plant that ought to be incorporated in our attempt to
quantify residual risk posed by plants?
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: I think that's part of it. This
is part of it, yes.
MR. BONACA: I think, you know, it's a couple of
questions, but I think it's a good presentation here,
because on one hand, you have the model from Duke. That's
really management business. Then, you have the example of
SKI, which is really the outcomes -- potential outcomes of
culture. That's really a result and that's clearly
regulatory business. Where do you -- well, sure.
MR. POWERS: Where did they put the dividing line
between the two?
MR. BONACA: There is a path in between that I
think, Jack, in fact, in his paper has well outlined and I
believe that there is regulatory involvement at someplace in
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: There is another fine line,
which is related to Dana's comment. Whenever people raise
the issue of is a safety culture included, the answer comes
back, well, sure, it's in the failure rates --
MR. BONACA: That's right.
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: -- the plants will tell you.
But, my answer is that's not true.
MR. BONACA: I agree with you.
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: Maybe to some extent, but it's
not quite true, because if you have coupling -- if you're
dependent failures and you don't have -- I mean, your PRA,
you know, you'll never get those effects there. On the
other hand, you can't ignore the fact that, yes, I mean, if
you're using plant specific, say, human performance data and
so on, the safety culture is part of it. So, that's another
fine line that has to be defined.
MR. BONACA: But, my thought was, again, even the
-- even Duke, although they have this program, they
recognize the outcomes of the important things and they
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: The question is to what extent
indicators we all view as important to safety are excluded
by our -- by a regulatory review. Right now, there are a
lot of those and those that we put out for the SKI report,
for example, rate the problems with costs, are looked at
very seriously by the licensees and the inspectors have to
-- the resident inspectors are looking at them. Somehow,
for example, they are not an indicator in the performance
process. Now, I think that's really the question that we
should be asking.
MR. WALLIS: So, you're saying there is actually
some performance-based activity going on, although it's not
formalized, as it may. Inspectors do look at these things
and companies do have their own measures.
MR. BONACA: Oh, yes.
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: Oh, yes.
MR. WALLIS: It is actually happening, but in an
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: Yeah. I mean, if you look at
what happened the last few years, superficially, you would
think that the NRC has never gotten involved into management
and organizational issues. And then you go and look at
these operatings and how they decide it, you know, where to
place the plants, you say, my God, you know, there is some
conflict here. I mean, we have been doing it for a long
time; maybe we didn't call it that. And the moment you use
the word "management," you know, everybody gets --
MR. SIEBER: On the other hand, licensees have
been managing plants using performance indicators since the
early 1980s and on a big scale basis.
MR. SORENSEN: You know, one thing that I think is
interesting is if you -- again, if you're looking at the
literature on safety culture or whatever one wants to call
it, there is a consensus, if you will, that less
prescriptive regulatory schemes provide an opportunity for
safety culture or management and organization factors to
play a much bigger role in safety, where you're not dealing
in a compliance regime.
And if you look at the NRC's new reactor oversight
program, you know, they identify seven cornerstones to
provide the basis for safety inspection, if you will, and
there are performance indicators associated with each of
those cornerstones. Then, they identify, in addition to the
cornerstones, three crosscutting issues: human performance,
safety conscious work environment, problem identification
and corrective action, and there are no performance
indicators for those crosscutting issues. And those are
precisely the issues that are at the heart of something that
one would call safety culture.
The technical framework for licensee performance
assessments includes a statement to the effect, "The risk
informed performance-based regulation will involve a shift
in the NRC role for improving human reliability to one of
monitoring human reliability," and that would appear to
imply a need for some sort of a performance indicator,
which, at the moment --
MR. UHRIG: This, also, implies that they're
improving human performance -- human reliability, at the
present time. Is this, in fact, in your view, true?
MR. SORENSEN: I didn't argue -- I didn't look at
the document with the -- the statement with the intent of
arguing with their articulation of it.
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: I think it is improving.
MR. SORENSEN: I think it is absolute -- but, I
think it's correct that the intent of NRC requirements
imposed over some period of time following the TMI accident
was to improve human performance. That was the goal. Now,
you can -- there's, I think, can be a huge argument about
how effective it was --
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: I think, Jack, what they --
MR. SORENSEN: -- but that was the intent.
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: -- what they really mean there
is they are switching from prescriptive regulatory
requirements to monitoring. But, how can you monitor --
MR. UHRIG: That's very different than what it
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: Yeah. But, I think that's what
MR. BARTON: The quote, I think, is accurate.
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: I think you monitor something,
if you don't have performance indicators. It says,
"monitoring human reliability." It don't understand how
you're going to do it, if you don't have something -- you
know, some guidance as to what to monitor.
MR. BARTON: I tell you what -- put that back up
again -- I'll tell you what the inspectors are -- what they
are doing, is utilities are tracking human errors, and they
are, and they are tracking, you know, error free days and
all this kind of stuff. And they got a structured -- they
follow an impost structure, human performance models. So,
they track it. So, the inspectors are going over and saying
how come your average error free data is only down to three
days on average? What's going on? So, they're digging into
that and finding out what the utilities are doing to improve
I, also, know what they're doing on the bottom, on
identification of corrective action. They're really looking
hard at the corrective action system and questioning as to,
you know, times of actions, times they are not being
resolved, and, you know -- I don't know what they're doing
on the second one. I have no evidence of what they're doing
with the second one, but I know what they're doing on the
first and third.
MR. WALLIS: Jack, it comes to mind --
MR. BARTON: The inspectors are actively looking
MR. WALLIS: -- this human reliability is not just
human, it's human plus context plus the tools available. In
the old days, the secretary had to type and not misspell,
because it was a struggle to change it; nowadays, type away
and let the spell check do it. The context and the tools
available make a difference. Sometimes, humans are asked to
do things, which is just difficult and not very reliable.
It's not just human owned.
MR. SORENSEN: Yeah. There are a lot of things
that go into, you know, the issue of human performance. The
person, machine interface, for example, is a very important
issue. And there are a lot of management and organizational
factors that make it easy or difficult to do a particular
job and that are not related in an obvious way to safety.
I've -- I am playing with sort of a mental model, myself,
where you can think of -- might think of safety culture as
the intersection between management and organization
factors, in a general sense, and human performance, in the
specific sense, where the safety culture is the management
and organization factors that provide the environment that
the human operators -- technicians operate in.
Last slide, tentative recommendations on where one
might go with this. I think an important first step is to
identify the essential attributes of safety culture, to
bring some sort of conclusion from the fragmentation in the
literature. And I think it's probably not so important how
you define safety culture, as what attributes you ascribe to
it and then how you go about measuring those attributes.
Once you've done that, then I think you can take the next
step, which is to identify performance indicators that
provide some indication of safety culture.
And the last item, ensure an effective root cause
analysis process, make sure that whatever process is used in
conjunction with the new reactor oversight program will, in
fact, uncover and define the safety culture issues.
MR. WALLIS: Jack, you said first, you should, who
is "you?" Is "you" NRC staff?
MR. SORENSEN: If you're going to make it -- if
one is going to make use of this concept, then I think these
are the steps that you have to implement. If the NRC is
going to make use of the concept of safety culture, then
it's the NRC that has to do this.
MR. SIEBER: Licensees are already doing this.
MR. SORENSEN: To a large degree, of course; yes.
And there's the perennial issue of, you know, to what degree
does the NRC get involved without stepping on --
MR. WALLIS: Would the licensees do it better, if
the NRC got involved?
MR. SORENSEN: That's a legitimate issue and one
of the --
MR. SIEBER: Or worse; or worse.
MR. POWERS: One of the -- just to illustrate how
poor my own thinking is about this, the two things that I
found most remarkable about Jack's report on this subject,
he's left out completely in his presentation of the
highlights of his report. The preamble, I tell you, I don't
know squat about this, obviously. One of those --
MR. SIEBER: It qualifies you to be an expert,
MR. POWERS: Well, one of the -- one of the things
that emerged from his examination of this field that struck
me as so very important was the ability to quickly get into
a diminishing returns to scale, when there's regulatory
involvement; that is that in the extremes, if one has a
regulator overlooking each worker, there's no point in
having any kind of safety culture at all, because if you
make a mistake, there's somebody to catch it. And so
enhanced regulation can lead to poor safety cultures. On
the other hand, if you have nobody catching mistakes, then
you will quickly evolve a very good safety culture, because
the fellow dies, if he makes a mistake. I thought the
finding of quantitative evidence of that kind of what I call
a Laffer curve relationship between regulatory involvement
and safety culture was a singularly important discovery.
The second one, of course, is that there are
indicators that do quantitatively correlate with accident
events in the chemical culture -- the chemical process
industry, which I didn't appreciate, that our understanding
of safety culture was so advanced that we could actually
come down and say here's a -- here's something that you can
monitor and as it goes up or down, as is the case, your
accident rate should go up and down, as well. Now, I'm
surprised that somebody would actually be able to find such
MR. WALLIS: Maybe this is an area where the NRC,
rather than looking over the shoulder, should try to reward.
Now, somewhere, I think this morning, I saw some other
transparency, where someone put up something to reward
certain behavior by industry. I failed to ask a question.
It seems to me that would be very useful, if the NRC has a
mechanism for rewarding some things --
MR. POWERS: We used to have one.
MR. WALLIS: -- rather than just punishing them.
MR. SIEBER: Well, that's sort of --
MR. POWERS: One plant didn't get inspected one
MR. WALLIS: Yeah.
MR. SIEBER: But that's sort of a two-edge sword,
too, and NRC has gotten into that and then backed away, when
they found out that they would give an reward now and two
months later, they would have a big incident, and it lessens
the credibility of the agency.
MR. SORENSEN: I think it may well turn out that
the -- that if you go through step one and two here and come
up with some performance indicators, that the conclusion may
well be that the NRC doesn't do anything, except inform the
licensee of what the performance indicators appear to be
MR. SIEBER: Unless you're in the
performance-based and risk-informed realm, you don't have a
regulatory basis for delving into management issues, which
all of this is. And so, you have to approach this by
approaching it from a risk-informed performance-based
regulatory system. And that won't be universal, because
people have to opt into that. Licensees have to decide do I
want to be in this world or not. It seems to me that would
be the straightforward way to get into it.
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: But the new oversight process, I
think, is mandatory for everyone, isn't it? You can't say
I'm not risk informed, so use the old one.
MR. SIEBER: Yeah. On the other hand, you could
stick with the 20 indicators that they now have and what a
power plant may use, which might be 300 indicators. Once
you get into that, you got burden arguments.
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: No, but by point is that all
three bullets really are directly relevant to the reactor
oversight process. I mean, they defined their three
crosscutting issues and then they said, you know, am I going
to do anything about it, because other things will tell us
whether they are good or bad. And here, we're telling them,
well, others have tried. It's not impossible. You know,
why don't you try to understand it a little better and maybe
define some indicators. Maybe these indicators really
exist. I mean, you told me that four of the five SKI
indicators are already being monitored. Maybe we reach the
I think the problem here, Jack, is that for some
reason, this agency is unwilling to even study these issues,
to try to understand them, because the safety culture, or
whatever, has been tied to management.
MR. BARTON: That's right. And you're going to
find out that if you really delve into it, that the reason
it's not working is because of certain managers at a
utility, and that's what the NRC doesn't want to get in to.
They don't want to go and say Jack and John are bad
management, change them out. They already tried that.
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: Wouldn't the performance
indicators allow you not to do that? Because, I don't care
what you do or what you know; but, I'm looking at the
performance. But, I don't -- why is this different from
getting a performance indicator -- I mean, ultimately, it's
management. Like Dana said, everything is human error, in
the final analysis, right? Somebody designed it; somebody
did something. I mean, given that the -- you know, the
Bible doesn't say that you can -- so, humans created it and
so, ultimately, it's -- the same way that ultimately it
MR. SORENSEN: The U.K. regulator appears, at the
moment, to be on a path, where they view their mission as
making sure that the licensees have the right safety culture
and making sure that they don't -- that they, the regulator,
don't do anything to interfere with the development of the
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: And we should do the same thing.
MR. POWERS: Well, I mean, I do see a difference
between the rate of automatic scrams and these performance
-- these safety culture indicators, in that when I have an
automatic scram, I know something is wrong, something caused
that scram to occur that I hadn't anticipated. When I know
-- when I find out something happened to my safety culture
indicator, unless I have some demonstration that there's a
tie to that overall, then this indicator may not be
indicative of anything.
MR. SORENSEN: That's right.
MR. POWERS: And we have certainly, at least
within the DOE complex, find instances where plants with
large amounts of maintenance backlog are the lukewarm
performers. On the other hand, we found facilities with
large maintenance backlogs that were just excellent
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: Maybe that not a good indicator.
MR. BARTON: I go through their backlog and can
it, because it doesn't mean anything.
MR. POWERS: That's right. What we're finding was
-- all we were finding was that the threshold for putting
things into the maintenance program was different between
the two facilities. That's all you'll find.
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: Well, that's exactly why, I
think, the first bullet is there. I don't think we really
have ever spent serious time in trying to understand this
instance. What are the essential attributes? Can you
correlate into real performance when you have indicators?
MR. WALLIS: Who is going to do the work to do
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: The NRC staff.
MR. WALLIS: And I think, you know, be very
careful, because this is the kind of area that people, who
feel that unnecessary research is being done, pick on. We
should be very careful.
MR. APOSTOLAKIS: Well, that's certainly the major
MR. POWERS: That's one of the things that we will
discuss. Jack, have you completed your presentation?
MR. SORENSEN: It's complete from my viewpoint.
MR. POWERS: You've run out of slides?
MR. SORENSEN: I've run out of slides.
MR. POWERS: You're done.
MR. SORENSEN: I did not put up the two important
MR. POWERS: I'll get you for this.
MR. SORENSEN: I had those in an earlier draft and
my sponsor convinced me otherwise.
MR. POWERS: That would teach you to listen to
him, won't it?
MR. SORENSEN: Well, if you gentlemen decide which
of you is my boss --
MR. POWERS: I think that it's an appropriate
addition and the document, I think, is really worthwhile.
And I think the document is worthwhile in two forms: the
more abbreviated form that might be useful at some
conference; but the lengthier form -- the lengthier
document, with its blow by blow account of the literature, I
think, is, also, a useful document and I hope that we can
move to get them both in the appropriate body of literature.
The lengthy document probably is a NUREG report and the
shorter document I hope you can put that before some learned
body and get some feedback on that.
MR. SORENSEN: The plan right now is within the
next couple of weeks to have, you know, a short version of
the paper available for committee review. That's what I'm
MR. POWERS: Well, I don't want the lengthier form
to do into the dustpan -- MR. SORENSEN: Okay.
MR. POWERS: -- because I found that extremely
valuable as a resource document, I'll admit. It's lengthy,
I mean, that's all it is to it and it might be worthwhile
seeing if some other vehicle would appreciate a review
document, because it constitutes a good review. But, at the
very minimal, I hope we can get it into a NUREG report,
because I think it's an important contribution.
If there are no other questions, I will recess us
[Whereupon, the recorded portion of the meeting
Page Last Reviewed/Updated Tuesday, July 12, 2016