§ 2.348 Separation of functions.
(a) In any proceeding under this part, any NRC officer or employee engaged in the performance of any investigative or litigating function in the proceeding or in a factually related proceeding with respect to a disputed issue in that proceeding, may not participate in or advise a Commission adjudicatory employee about the initial or final decision with respect to that disputed issue, except—
(1) As witness or counsel in the proceeding;
(2) Through a written communication served on all parties and made on-the-record of the proceeding; or
(3) Through an oral communication made both with reasonable prior notice to all parties and with reasonable opportunity for all parties to respond.
(b) The prohibition in paragraph (a) of this section does not apply to—
(1) Communications to or from any Commission adjudicatory employee regarding—
(i) The status of a proceeding;
(ii) Matters for which the communications are specifically permitted by statute or regulation;
(iii) NRC participation in matters pending before a court or another agency; or
(iv) Generic issues involving public health and safety or other statutory responsibilities of the NRC (e.g., rulemakings, congressional hearings on legislation, budgetary planning) not associated with the resolution of any proceeding under this subpart pending before the NRC.
(2) Communications to or from Commissioners, members of their personal staffs, employees of the Office of Commission Appellate Adjudication, Commission adjudicatory employees in the Office of the General Counsel, and the Secretary and employees of the Office of the Secretary, regarding—
(i) Initiation or direction of an investigation or initiation of an enforcement proceeding;
(ii) Supervision of NRC staff to ensure compliance with the general policies and procedures of the agency;
(iii) NRC staff priorities and schedules or the allocation of agency resources; or
(iv) General regulatory, scientific, or engineering principles that are useful for an understanding of the issues in a proceeding and are not contested in the proceeding.
(3) None of the communications permitted by paragraph (b)(2) (i) through (iii) of this section is to be associated by the Commission adjudicatory employee or the NRC officer or employee performing investigative or litigating functions with the resolution of any proceeding under this subpart pending before the NRC.
(c) Any Commission adjudicatory employee who receives a communication prohibited under paragraph (a) of this section shall ensure that it, and any responses to the communication, are placed in the public record of the proceeding and served on the parties. In the case of oral communications, a written summary must be served and placed in the public record of the proceeding.
(d)(1) The prohibitions in this section apply—
(i) When a notice of hearing or other comparable order is issued in accordance with §§ 2.104(a), 2.105(e)(2), 2.202(c), 2.205(e), or 2.312; or
(ii) Whenever an NRC officer or employee who is or has reasonable cause to believe he or she will be engaged in the performance of an investigative or litigating function or a Commission adjudicatory employee has knowledge that a notice of hearing or other comparable order will be issued in accordance with §§ 2.104(a), 2.105(e)(2), 2.202(c), 2.205(e), or 2.312.
(iii) A matter which a presiding officer seeks to be referred to the Commission under 10 CFR 2.340(a); and
(iv) A matter for which the Commission has approved examination by the presiding officer under § 2.340(a).
(2) The prohibitions of this section cease to apply to the disputed issues pertinent to a full or partial initial decision when the time has expired for Commission review of the decision in accordance with § 2.341.
(3) Separation of functions does not apply to uncontested proceedings, or to an undisputed issue in contested initial licensing proceedings.
(e) Communications to, from, and between Commission adjudicatory employees not prohibited by this section may not serve as a conduit for a communication that otherwise would be prohibited by this section or for an ex parte communication that otherwise would be prohibited by § 2.347.
(f) If an initial or final decision is stated to rest in whole or in part on fact or opinion obtained as a result of a communication authorized by this section, the substance of the communication must be specified in the record of the proceeding and every party must be afforded an opportunity to controvert the fact or opinion. If the parties have not had an opportunity to controvert the fact or opinion before the decision is filed, a party may controvert the fact or opinion by filing a petition for review of an initial decision, or a petition for reconsideration of a final decision that clearly and concisely sets forth the information or argument relied on to show the contrary. If appropriate, a party may be afforded the opportunity for cross-examination or to present rebuttal evidence.
[72 FR 49477, Aug. 28, 2007; 77 FR 46597, Aug. 3, 2012; 85 FR 70438, Nov. 5, 2020]
Page Last Reviewed/Updated Tuesday, January 12, 2021