Information Notice No.80-06 – Notification of Significant Events

                                                            SSINS No.: 6870
                                                            Accession No.:

                                UNITED STATES
                           WASHINGTON, D.C. 20555

                             February 27, 1980 

                                           Information Notice No. 80-06 

Description of Circumstances: 

On February 29, 1980, an immediately effective amendment to the Nuclear
Regulatory Commission (NRC) regulations is to be published in the Federal
Register that sets forth requirements for the reporting of significant 
events at operating reactors. A copy of the NRC Notice of Rulemaking is 
enclosed. The reporting requirement in the new section 50.72, "Notification 
of significant events," to 10 CFR Part 50 will be effective immediately 
under the authority of GAO clearance R0072 (Emergency Generic Clearance 
-Expires 7/31/80), and is being submitted to the General Accounting Office 
for review under the Federal Reports Act for permanent approval under NRC's 
existing GAO clearance for 10 CFR Part 50 (#R0071). 

Paragraph (a) of SS 50.72 requires, in part, that the licensee notify the 
NRC Operations Center as soon as possible and in all cases within one hour 
by telephone of the occurrence of any significant event listed in the 
paragraph. Reports of events pursuant to SS 50.72 that are similarly 
required by Technical Specifications to be reported by telephone within 24 
hours are considered to satisfy the Technical Specification requirement for 
prompt telephone notification. Technical Specification requirements for 
confirmation reports by telegraph, mailgram, or facsimile transmission still 

The primary channel for telephone notification of significant events should
be through the dedicated telephone line established between the licensee and 
the NRC Operations Center. An NRC Duty Officer is available, 24 hours a day,
in the NRC Operations Center. In case the licensee is unable to report a
significant event over the dedicated telephone line, the licensee should
contact the NRC Operations Center directly by commercial line.

Notice of Rulemaking

                           10 CFR Parts 20 and 50 

                     Immediate Reporting of Significant 
                 Events at Operating Nuclear Power Reactors 

AGENCY:   U. S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission 

ACTION:   Final Rule 

SUMMARY:  The Nuclear Regulator Commission (NRC) is amending its 
regulations, effective immediately, to require timely and accurate 
information from licensees to NRC following significant events at operating 
nuclear power reactors. 

EFFECTIVE DATE: February 29, 1980 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dudley Thompson, Office of Inspection and
Enforcement, U. S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, D.C. 20555,
phone 302-492-8177.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The capability of the NRC to make timely 
decisions and to provide adequate assurance regarding actual or potential 
threats to public health and safety, depends heavily on the rapidity with 
which significant events are communicated by nuclear power reactor licensees 
to NRC. The majority of events occurring throughout the nuclear industry 
pose little or no serious or immediate threats to the public health and 
safety: however, certain events do pose such threats or generate fear of 
unusual concern. 

NRC has an important obligation to collect facts quickly and accurately 
about significant events, assess the facts, take necessary action, and 
inform the public about the extent of the threat, if any, to public health 
and safety. Not only must NRC act promptly to prevent or minimize possible 
injury to the public, it must also take appropriate action to alleviate fear 
or concern created as a result of such events. 

After the accident at Three Mile Island on March 28, 1979, the NRC staff
acted to ensure the timely and accurate flow of information from licensees
of operating nuclear power reactors following significant events. Dedicated
telephone lines have been installed from all operating power plants to the
NRC Operations Center and the Regional Offices. Aline is located in each
control room with provisions made for extensions to be located at other
specified locations at the facility. When these phones are picked up to
report significant events, they automatically ring at the NRC Operations
Center and can be held open as long as needed.

NRC's Office of Inspection and Enforcement (OIE) issued Bulletins and sent
letters requesting each licensee to review its prompt reporting procedures
to NRC. These were intended to make certain that each licensee notifies NRC
within one hour of the time the reactor is not in a controlled or expected
condition of operation. Once the licensee has notified NRC, an open,
continuous communication channel is established and maintained between the
licensee and NRC.

                                    - 2 - 

The NRC staff has continued to evaluate licensees' responses to OIE's
Bulletins and letters and to analyze the kinds of significant events that
should be reported immediately. By their very nature, OIE's Bulletins and
letters did not impose requirements on licensees, and in several instances
licensees have not immediately reported significant events to NRC. Moreover,
the Bulletins and letters did not describe in sufficient detail the specific 
types of significant events NRC determined had to be reported immediately. 
The Commission has found that in order to take necessary action to protect
the health and safety of the public, twelve types of significant events
should be reported immediately (within one hour) to it. Consequently, NRC 
has decided to publish a rule requiring the immediate reporting by telephone 
of these events that could result in an impact on the public health and 
safety such as those leading to initiation of the licensee's emergency plan 
or any section of the plan, the causing of the nuclear power plant to be in 
an uncontrolled condition, the exceeding of a safety limit, an act of 
sabotage, or an uncontrolled release of radioactivity. With regard to 
initiation of the licensee's emergency plan, the Commission is presently in 
the process of promulgating a rule concerning requirements for emergency 
plans for nuclear power plants in NUREG-0610. This guidance has been sent to 
all affected licensees. 

In view of (1) the significance of these twelve types of event with respect
to their ability to jeopardize the health and safety of the public, (2) the
fact that most of these event are not required presently to be reported
immediately to NRC, (3) the problem of licensees not having reported such
events to NRC after receipt of OIE's Bulletins and letters, and (4) NRC's
immediate need to know in order to act quickly, NRC has determined that 
there is good cause to waive the opportunity for the public to comment on 
this rule before its effective date, and has determined, therefore, that it 
is in the public to interest to make this rule effective immediately. 

Although this rule is being published ineffective form without a prior 
public comment period, the public is invited to submit its views and 
comments. If possible, these comments should be submitted by April 29, 1980. 
After reviewing any views and comments submitted, the Commission may 
reconsider or modify the rule as it deems necessary. 

Pursuant to the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended, the Energy
Reorganization Act of 1974,as amended, and sections 552 and 553 of title 5
of the United States Code, the following amendments to 10 CFR Part 20 and 10 
CFR Part 50 are published as a document subject to codification. 

                          PART 20 - STANDARDS FOR

     1.   Section 20.403 is amended by adding a new paragraph (d) to read as

                                    - 3 -

SS 20.403 Notification of incidents.
     *                   *              *              *              *
     (d)  For nuclear power reactors licensed under SS 50.21 or 50.22, the
incidents included in (a) and (b) above shall in addition be reported
pursuant to SS 50.72.

                      PART 50 - DOMESTIC LICENSING OF

     2.   The title preceding SS 50.70 is changed to read as follows:


     3.   A new section 50.72 is added to read as follows:
SS 50.72 Notification of significant events.

     (a)  Each licensee of a nuclear power reactor licensed under SS 50.21
or SS 50.22 shall notify the NRC Operations Center as soon as possible and
in all cases within one hour by telephone of the occurrence of any of the
following significant events and shall identify that event as being reported 
pursuant to this section: 

     (1)  Any event requiring initiation of the licensee's emergency plan or
          any section of that plan.

     (2)  The exceeding of any Technical Specification Safety Limit.

     (3)  Any event that results in the nuclear power plant not being in a
          controlled or expected condition while operating or shut down.

     (4)  Any act that threatens the safety of the nuclear power plant or
          site personnel, or the security of special nuclear material,
          including instances of sabotage or attempted sabotage.

     (5)  Any event requiring initiation of shutdown of the nuclear power
          plant in accordance with Technical Specification Limiting
          Conditions for Operation.

     (6)  Personnel error or procedural inadequacy which, during normal
          operations, anticipated operational occurrences, or accident
          conditions, prevents or could prevent, by itself, the fulfillment
          of the safety function those structures, systems, and components
          important to safety that are needed to (i) shut down the reactor
          safely and maintain it in a safe shutdown condition, or (ii) 
          remove residual heat following reactor shutdown, or (iii) limit 
          the release of radioactive material to acceptable levels or reduce 
          the potential for such release.

     (7)  Any event resulting in manual or automatic actuation of Engineered
          Safety Features, including the REactor Protection System.

     (8)  Any accidental, unplanned, or uncontrolled radioactive release.
          (normal or expected releases from maintenance or other operational
          activities are not included.)
     (9)  Any fatality or serious injury occurring on the site and requiring
          transport to an offsite medical facility for treatment.

     (10) Any serious personnel radioactive contamination requiring 
          extensive onsite decontamination or outside assistance. 

     (11) Any event meeting the criteria of 10 CFR SS 20.403 for

     (12) Strikes of operating employees or security guards, or honoring of
          picket lines by these employees.

                                    - 4 - 

     (b) With respect to the events reported under subparagraphs (1), (2),
(3), and (4) of paragraph (E), each licensee, in addition to prompt 
telephone notification, shall also establish and maintain an open, 
continuous communication channel with the NRC Operations Center, and shall 
close this channel only when notified by NRC. 


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