United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Operator and Senior Operator License Examination Criteria for Passing Grade (Generic Letter No. 84-06)

                                UNITED STATES
                           WASHINGTON, D. C.20555

                               April 16, 1984 



Subject:  Operator and Senior Operator License Examination Criteria for 
          Passing Grade (Generic Letter No. 84-06)  

The NRC is in the process of revising the Examiner Standards that provide 
guidance for the administration of examinations to non-power license 
candidates. The guidance for power reactors has already been modified to 
reflect changes made since the TMI-2 accident and issued as NUREG-1021, 
"Operator Licensing Examiner Standards." The non-power reactor guidance is 
still in the process of revision and will be issued as an addendum to 
NUREG-1021 when completed. This generic letter is intended to real-firm the 
passing grade criteria for operator and senior operator license examinations
at non-power reactors pending the revision of NUREG-1021 to incorporate 
these requirements. 

Following the TMI-2 accident, the passing criteria for power reactors were 
revised to 80% overall and 70% in each category of the written examination. 
We evaluated the need to raise the passing criteria for non-power reactors 
to the higher levels. However, since non-power reactors are less complex and
pose significantly less of a hazard to public health and safety, we have 
determined that the same passing criteria on the written examination for 
non-power reactors is not needed. 

The current Examiner Standards applicable to non-power reactors (ES-203, 
2/15/69) advise examiners to structure the written examinations such that a 
qualified operator would score above 70% on the entire examination and in 
each category. Therefore, a candidate will be required to achieve a score of
70% or greater in each category of the examination in order to pass the 
non-power reactor operator or senior operator written examination. 

As stated in 10 CFR Part 55.12, "Reapplications," the Commission may in its 
discretion grant requests for waivers on portions of the examination which 
have been previously passed. Although each waiver must be considered on a 
case-by-case basis the following general guidance will apply: 

1.   Candidates who score greater than 70% overall, but score less than 70% 
     on no more than 3 operator or 2 senior operator categories and also 
     pass the operating test (if administered), will be required to retake 
     only those categories that were failed. 

                                    - 2 - 

2.   Candidates who score less than 70% overall, regardless of the number of
     categories less than 70%, will be required to retake the entire 

The criteria stated in this letter are effective as of February 13, 1984. 
This letter is for information only and contains no reporting requirement. 


                              Darrell G. Eisenhut, Director 
                              Division of Licensing 

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