Information Notice No. 79-20, NRC Enforcement Policy - NRC Licensed Individuals


                              August 10, 1979 

MEMORANDUM FOR:     B. H. Grier, Director, Region I 
                    J. P. O'Reilly, Director, Region II 
                    J. G. Keppler, Director, Region III 
                    K. V. Seyfrit, Director, Region IV 
                    R. H. Engelken, Director, Region V 

FROM:               Norman C. Moseley, Director, division of Reactor 
                    Operations Inspection, IE 

SUBJECT:            Information Notice No. 79-20, NRC ENFORCEMENT POLICY 
                    - NRC LICENSED INDIVIDUALS 

The subject document is transmitted for issuance on August 14, 1979. The 
Information Notice should be issued to all research reactor, test reactor 
and power reactor facilities with an operating license or construction 
permit and to production facility licensees that employ NRC licensed 

                                        Norman C. Moseley, Director 
                                        Division of Reactor Operations 
                                        Office of Inspection and Enforcement

1.   IE Information Notice
       No. 79-20 
2.   Draft Transmittal Letter

CONTACT:  J. C. Stone, IE 

(Draft letter to all research reactor, test reactor and power reactor 
facilities with an operating license or construction permit and to 
production facility licensees that employ NRC licensed operators) 

                                            Information Notice No. 79-20 

With this Information Notice the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is extending 
an existing mechanism previously used for informing facility licensees of 
significant operating events to include informing operator licensees of 
significant events which could impact on conditions of their NRC licenses. 
It is requested that the facility licensee provide copies of this 
Information Notice to all NRC licensed individuals at the facility. No 
specific response is requested at this time. If you have questions regarding 
this matter please contact the Director of the appropriate NRC Regional 


                                             (Regional Director) 

1.   Information Notice No. 79-20 
2.   List of IE Information Notices
       Issued in 1979

                                                              SSINS: 6870  
                                                              Accession No: 
                               UNITED STATES 
                          WASHINGTON, D.C. 20555 
                              August 14, 1979 

                                            Information Notice No. 79-20 



In the past, NRC licensed individuals have been cited by the NRC for failure
to comply with the conditions of their licenses. These items of 
noncompliance can generally be characterized as serious or repeated failures 
to follow reactor operating procedures. Two recent events involving the 
radiation overexposure of NRC licensed individuals through their violation 
of utility procedures, facility Technical Specifications and the Code of 
Federal Regulations have raised questions about the exercise of their 

The purpose of this Information Notice is two-fold: 

(1)  To remind the NRC licensed individuals of their responsibilities, not 
     only in the proper operation of the facility controls, but in 
     compliance with the facility administrative procedures, and 

(2)  To summarize the enforcement sanctions available to the NRC for use 
     against licensed individuals. 

Description of Circumstances: 

1.   Responsibilities 
     Facility licensees are charged with the responsibility to design, 
     construct and operate their plants in accordance with NRC requirements 
     to assure that public health and safety are protected. The role of NRC 
     licensed individuals is no less important in the overall Regulatory 
     scheme. The NRC recognizes that timely actions by NRC licensed 
     individuals are an important part of safety. Reliance on these actions 
     is a part of the defense-in-depth concept. Specifically, the NRC 
     requires that: 

     (1)  Only licensed operators are permitted to manipulate the controls 
          that directly affect reactivity (10 CFR 50.54 (i)) 

     (2)  Licensed operators are required to be present at the controls at 
          all times during the operation of the facility (10 CFR 50.54 (k)) 

Information Notice No. 79-20                            August 14, 1979 
                                                           Page 2 of 3    

     (3)  Operation of mechanisms and apparatus other than controls which 
          may indirectly affect the power level or reactivity of a reactor 
          shall only be accomplished with the knowledge and consent of an 
          operator licensed in accordance with Part 55 (10 CFR 50.54 (j)) 
     (4)  Licensed senior operators are required to be present at the 
          facility during specified conditions, and available or on call at 
          other times during operation (10 CFR 50.54 (m)) 

     (5)  The NRC licensed individual shall observe all applicable rules, 
          regulations and orders of the Commission, whether or not stated in
          the license (10 CFR 55.31(d)) 

The above requires the NRC licensed individual to comply with the 
requirements pertaining to the operation-of the facility and manipulation of
its controls and to comply with radiation safety procedures implementing 10 
CFR 20. 

NRC policy for the responsibility for safe operation of NRC licensed 
facilities continues to be as follows: 

     (1)  The facility licensee is responsible for assuring that the 
          facility is operated within the requirements of the license, 
          Technical Specifications, rules, regulations, Orders of the NRC 
          and for the actions of their employees. 
     (2)  NRC licensed individuals are responsible for taking timely and 
          proper actions so as not to create or cause a hazard to "safe 
          operation of the facility" (i. e. actions or activities, including
          failure to take action, related to the facility which could have 
          an adverse affect on the health and safety of the public, plant 
          workers or the individuals). 

2.   Enforcement Sanctions 

     On December 31, 1974, the then AEC sent a letter to all facility 
     licensees containing the criteria for determining enforcement action 
     and the categories of noncompliance with AEC regulatory requirements. 
     Those criteria and categories are applicable to NRC licensed 
     individuals as well as facility licensees. 
     Paragraph 55.40(b) of Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations 
     prescribes that NRC issued operator licenses may be revoked, suspended 
     or modified for failure to observe any terms or conditions of any rule,
     regulation or Order of the Commission, or any conduct determined to be 
     a hazard to safe operation of the facility. These would generally 
     involve serious items of noncompliance where: (1) the individuals' 
     action clearly demonstrate inattention to duties or disregard for 
     requirements including technical specifications and operating 
     procedures; (2) the NRC licensed individual takes (or fails to take) a 
     required action that results in significant actual or potential safety 
     consequences; or (3) there is repetitive noncompliance with regulatory 

Information Notice No. 79-20                            August 14, 1979 
                                                           Page 3 of 3    

     Examples of situations which could result in violations include: 

          (1)  Noting a serious-violation of procedural requirements and not
               taking corrective action 

          (2)  Unauthorized bypassing of required reactor safety systems 

          (3)  Defeating alarms which have serious safety significance 

          (4)  Unauthorized abandoning of reactor controls 

          (5)  Knowingly taking actions that violate TS Limiting Conditions 
               for Operation 

The examples listed above involve the failure of a NRC licensed individual 
to follow procedures and adhere to controls. These are violations of NRC 
requirements. In the past the NRC has issued Notices of Violation, as 
provided for in 10 CFR 2.201, and suspended, modified or revoked the 
license, as provided for in 10 CFR 55.40 (b), of NRC licensed individuals. 
The issuance of civil monetary penalties, as provided for in 10 CFR 2.205 
and 10 CFR 55.50, or criminal charges, as provided for in 10 CFR 55.50, have 
not been previously used against NRC licensed individuals but may be used if 
the circumstances warrant such action. 

The Commission will continue to monitor the performance of NRC licensed 
individuals and will continue to take the appropriate enforcement action 
against NRC licensed individuals. 

No written response to this Information Notice is required. If you have 
questions regarding this matter, please contact the Director of the 
appropriate NRC Regional Office. 


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