United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Information Notice No. 86-36: Change in NRC Practice Regarding Issuance of Confirming Letters to Principal Contractors

                                                          SSINS No: 6835  
                                                          IN 86-36         

                                UNITED STATES
                           WASHINGTON, DC 20555

                                May 16, 1986

                                   OF CONFIRMING LETTERS TO PRINCIPAL 


All nuclear power reactor facilities holding an operating license (OL) or a 
construction permit (CP) 


This notice is to inform recipients of a change in the NRC practice of 
issuing confirming letters to principal contractors regarding the continuing
adequacy of their QA programs This change, which is discussed in the 
Preface of the Licensee Contractor and Vendor Inspection Status Report, 
October 1985-December 1985, NUREG-0040, Vol 9, No 4 (White Book), affects 
licensee implementation of their QA programs in accordance with the 
requirements of Appendix B to 10 CFR 50 Criterion VII It is expected that 
the recipients will review the information for applicability to their 
facilities and consider appropriate actions However, the information 
contained in this notice does not constitute new NRC requirements; 
therefore, no specific action or written response is required 

Description of Circumstances: 

When design and construction activities for new nuclear power plants were 
numerous, firms designing nuclear steam supply systems, architect 
engineering firms designing nuclear power plants, and certain major 
equipment vendors were inspected on a regular basis by the NRC The purpose 
of these inspections was to ascertain through direct observation of QA 
activities whether these design firms and vendors were satisfactorily 
implementing their QA programs in accordance with topical reports previously 
reviewed and accepted by the NRC When the NRC inspections had determined 
that the QA programs were being satisfactorily implemented, the NRC issued 
confirming letters to the principal contractors Those letters were issued 
every three years, provided that the QA programs continued to be 
satisfactorily implemented The confirming letters could be used by 
licensees and applicants, at their option, to fulfill their obligation under 
10 CFR 50, Appendix B, Criterion VII, that requires them to perform initial 
source evaluation audits and subsequent periodic audits to verify QA program


                                                            IN 86-36      
                                                            May 16, 1986  
                                                            Page 2 of 2   

However, with the substantial decline in new plant design activities, the 
NRC inspection of QA program implementation by principal contractors has 
been deemphasized As discussed in the Preface of the "White Book," future 
NRC inspections will focus on selected areas instead of addressing the broad
implementation of the QA programs Therefore, the NRC will no longer issue 
confirming letters to principal contractors, and those letters that have 
already exceeded their 3-year period of effectivity will not be renewed 
Confirming letters issued less than 3-years ago will remain in effect until 
the stated period expires 

With the expiration of confirming letters, licensees and applicants will no 
longer have the option to take credit for the NRC acceptance of the 
implementation of a principal contractor's QA program In accordance with 
commitments to meet the provisions of Appendix B to 10 CFR 50, licensees and
applicants will be responsible for the conduct of initial source evaluation 
audits and subsequent periodic audits to verify QA program implementation 
The NRC will continue to review revisions to the QA programs of principal 
contractors as described in topical reports when submitted and, when 
approved, will issue approval letters The latest approved topical report 
revision number and date of the approval letter will be published quarterly 
in the "White Book" 

Since compliance with Criterion VII of Appendix B to 10 CFR 50 is already 
required, no new specific action or written response is required by this 
information notice If you have any questions regarding this matter, please 
contact the Regional Administrator of the appropriate regional office or 
this office 

                                   Edward L Jordan, Director 
                                   Division of Emergency Preparedness 
                                     and Engineering Response 
                                   Office of Inspection and Enforcement 

Technical Contact:  W P Haass, IE 
                    (301) 492-9041 

Attachment:    List of Recently Issued IE Information Notices 

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