Pilot Testing of Fundamentals Examination (Generic Letter No. 88-09)
NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20555
May 17, 1988
TO LICENSEES OF ALL BOILING-WATER REACTORS AND APPLICANTS FOR A BOILING
WATER REACTOR OPERATORS' LICENSE UNDER 10 CFR 55
SUBJECT: PILOT TESTING OF FUNDAMENTALS EXAMINATION (Generic Letter 88-09)
This letter is to inform facility licensees and potential applicants under
10 CFR 55 of a pilot testing program of a fundamentals examination for
Boiling Water Reactors (BWRs). The pilot test is to refine the examination
development methodology, administration, and grading process. Applicants who
participate in this pilot test and achieve a passing grade of 70 percent or
more will receive a waiver under 10 CFR 55.47 of the applicable section of
the written examination under 55.41 or 55.43.
The staff's review of the content of examinations under 10 CFR 55, which is
contained in Examiner Standards 202 and 402 of NUREG-1021, "Operator
Licensing Examiner Standards," indicates that the subject matter presented
in some sections is generic to all BWRs. The subject matter includes reactor
theory, heat transfer, thermodynamics, fluid flow and component operations.
The staff's review of current training programs indicates that those topics
are normally presented early in the operator and senior operator training
programs. Mastery of these fundamentals is an important first step of
training, which include systems and plant characteristics, on-the-job
training, and simulator training.
In developing the fundamentals examination, the staff used subject matter
contained in the 291000 to 293000 series of the "Knowledge and Abilities
(K/A) Catalog for Nuclear Power Plant Operators: Boiling Water Reactors"
(NUREG-1123). The K/As provided the basis of testing objectives and a bank
of multiple choice questions has been developed and screened for use in this
examination. The examination will contain approximately 50 multiple choice
questions and will require approximately three hours to complete. For pilot
testing, we expect to simultaneously administer the pilot examination at
each regional office throughout the country. Since the examination will be
graded by machine, we expect to promulgate the test results within 10 days
after administration of the examination.
Copies of the fundamentals examination test sheets will be returned to each
volunteer and facility training department. Comments by the volunteers and
training department managers will be accepted and summarized in a subsequent
Commission Paper. The Commission will evaluate a policy to require passing
the fundamentals examination as a condition for nuclear power plant operator
license applications under 10 CFR 55.31.
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The conditions listed below will apply for pilot testing of the fundamentals
o The Commission will waive the usual requirements under 10 CFR 55.31
Subpart D - Applications. Therefore, Form NRC-398 does not need to be
o Volunteers who pass the fundamental examination with a score of 70
percent or greater will be granted a waiver of the written examination
under 55.47 of Section 1 or Section 5, as appropriate.
o Volunteers who do not achieve a grade of 70 percent will be able to
take the entire regularly scheduled written examination at the site.
Since a formal application under 55.31 is not required, the provision
of 55.35, Re-applications, will not apply.
o Pilot testing of this examination is planned for Summer 1988. Licensees
and volunteers will be informed of the date, time, and location of the
examinations within 60 days after the date of this generic letter.
Licensees interested in participating in this program are requested to
submit the enclosed application for each candidate to Mr. John N. Hannon,
Chief, Operator Licensing Branch, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation, U.S.
Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555, with a copy to the
appropriate Regional Administrator. We appreciate the cooperation of each
participant. If you have any questions concerning this generic letter,
please call Mr. Hannon at (301) 492-1031.
This request was approved by the Office of Management and Budget under
clearance number 3150-0131. Clearance number 3150-0131 expires August 31,
1988. Comments on burden and duplication may be directed to the Office of
Management and Budget, Reports Management, Room 3208, New Executive Office
Building, Washington, DC 20503.
Frank J. Miraglia, Associate Director
Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation
Application for Pilot Testing of Fundamentals Examination
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