Elements of an Approach to Performance-Based Regulatory Oversight (NUREG/CR-5392, SCIE-NRC-373-98)

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Publication Information

Manuscript Completed: December 1998
Date Published:
January 1999

Prepared by:
R.W. Youngblood, R.N.M. Hunt, E.R. Schmidt
J. Bolin, F. Dombek, D. Prochnow

Argonne National Laboratory
11140 Rockville Pike
Rockville, MD 20852

N.P. Kadambi, NRC Project Manager

Prepared for:
Division of Regulatory Applications
Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington, DC 20555-0001

NRC Job Code J6040

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This report discusses an approach to performance-based regulatory oversight. One key issue in developing a performance-based approach is choosing a collection of performance measures that is highly results-oriented, and will support the capability to detect and act upon emerging performance problems before they lead to adverse consequences. A related issue is the role of institutional factors, and how to reflect institutional factors in a results-oriented, performance-based approach. These issues are explored through discussion of examples. Based on these discussions, an approach is recommended. The approach entails (1) careful formulation of a safety case, which shows what the challenges are to plant safety and what the plant capability is for responding to those challenges, (2) allocation of performance goals over elements of the safety case, (3) formulation of a "diamond tree," which is an integrated, hierarchical presentation of hardware, human, and institutional performance areas that indicates how institutional performance supports the safety case, and (4) application of the diamond tree to select a set of performance measures that is as results-oriented as possible, given the levels and kinds of performance needed in order to support the safety case, and the need to respond to emergent problems before adverse consequences develop.

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