Information Notice No. 87-22: Operator Licensing Requalification Examinations at Nonpower Reactors

                                                SSINS No.: 6835 
                                                   IN 87-22 

                                  UNITED STATES
                          NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION
                             WASHINGTON, D.C.  20555

                                  May 22, 1987

                                  EXAMINATIONS AT NONPOWER REACTORS 


All research and nonpower reactor facilities. 


The purpose of this information notice is to inform recipients of practices 
involving the requalification examinations for renewal of reactor operator and 
senior reactor operator licenses, that have been found to be contrary to 
existing NRC requirements.  It is expected that recipients will review this 
information for applicability to their operator requalification programs and 
consider action as appropriate to preclude similar practices at their  
facilities.  However, suggestions contained in this notice do not constitute 
NRC requirements; therefore, no specific action or written response is 

Description of Circumstances: 

NRC recently identified three nonpower reactor licensees who make a practice 
of giving take-home or on-shift requalification examinations.  Generic Letter 
83-17, issued on April 8, 1983, addressed the use of take-home and on-shift 
examinations as a means of determining an applicant's individual performance 
as part of the requalification program.  This generic letter was issued as a 
result of an investigation into a case of cheating, in which an individual had 
submitted another person's work in response to some examination questions.  
The generic letter states, "In particular, unproctored examination(s), 
take-home quizzes and on-shift tests allow ample opportunity for cheating 
which could go undetected and, therefore, are not an acceptable means for 
certifying individual performance." (See Attachment 1.) 


The integrity of the requalification examination is essential because it is 
used to certify that the operator's performance is adequate to warrant renewal 
of his or her license.  As a result of the recent discovery of inadequate 
examination practices, the NRC initiated detailed reviews of examination 
practices at the three facilities.  Processing of license renewal requests 
from these facilities were held in abeyance pending the completion of these 

.                                                            IN 87-22 
                                                            May 22, 1987 
                                                            Page 2 of 2 

No specific action or written response is required by this information notice. 
If you have questions about this matter, please contact the Regional 
Administrator of the appropriate NRC regional office or this office. 

                             Charles E. Rossi, Director 
                             Division of Operational Events Assessment
                             Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation

Technical Contacts:   Donald Kirkpatrick, NRR
                      (301) 492-8166

                      Tony Mendiola, NRR
                      (301) 492-9695

1.   Generic Letter 83-17
2.   List of Recently Issued Information Notices
.                                                        Attachment 1 

                                 April 8, 1983



Subject: Integrity of the Requalification Examinations for Renewal of Reactor 
         Operator and Senior Reactor Operator Licenses (Generic Letter 83-17) 

Recently, an investigation was completed which determined that a senior 
official at a nuclear power plant certified to the NRC that a licensed 
individual had successfully completed the licensed operator requalification 
program, when in fact, that individual had cheated by submitting another 
person's work in response to some examination questions. 

Such an individual has not successfully completed the requalification program 
and has not discharged his licensed responsibility in a safe and competent 
manner, as required by 10 CFR 55.  Furthermore, it should be noted that 
cheating on examinations which are used to certify individuals to the NRC will 
result in an automatic denial of a license application or license renewal and 
could result in more severe penalties. 

The purpose of this letter is to highlight the need for you to ensure that the
validity of the certifications required by 10 CFR Part 55 and the integrity 
and honesty of the requalification program are adequately addressed in 
facility procedures.  You should review your procedures on this subject to 
ensure that anapplicant's individual performance can be determined.  Your 
procedures should include provisions to detect and prevent instances of 
cheating.  In particular, unproctored examination, take-home quizzes and 
on-shift tests allow ample opportunity for cheating which could go undetected 
and, therefore, are not an acceptable means for certifying individual 
performance.  While some portions of examinations may be conducted in an 
open-book format (e.g.  use of steam tables on thermodynamics problems or use 
of facility procedures and drawings during oral examinations), adequate 
monitoring provisions are essential to ensure that the persons being evaluated 
are working independently and are using only authorized instructional or 
reference materials. 

No submittals of procedures or results of your procedure reviews are required 
by this letter; however, we will review these procedures as a part of our 
audits ofthe licensed reactor operator and senior reactor operator 
requalification programs. 

                                       Original signed by 

                                       Darrell G. Eisenhut, Director 
                                       Division of Licensing 


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