Technical Basis for Regulatory Guidance for Assessing Exemption Requests from the Nuclear Power Plant Licensed Operator Staffing Requirements Specified in 10 CFR 50.54(m) (NUREG/CR-6838)

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Publication Information

Manuscript Completed: December 2003
Date Published: February 2004

Prepared by:
C. Plott, T. Engh
Micro Analysis and Design (Principal Contractor)
4949 Pearl E. Circle, Suite 300
Boulder, Colorado 80301

V. Barnes
Performance, Safety, and Health Associates, Inc. (Subcontractor)
P.O. Box 30
Boalsburg, Pennsylvania 16827

A. Szabo, NRC Project Manager
J. Persensky, Senior Technical Advisor

Prepared for:
Division of Systems Analysis and Regulatory Effectiveness
Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington, DC 20555-0001

NRC Job Code Y6630

Availability Notice


This document provides the technical basis for methods that can be used for reviewing requests for exemptions from any of the requirements of Title 10, Part 50, of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) related to the number of licensed personnel needed to safely operate a nuclear power plant. The introduction of advanced reactor designs and the increased use of advanced automation in existing nuclear power plants may change the roles, responsibilities, composition, and size of the crews required to control plant operations. Current regulations regarding control room staffing, based upon the concept of operation for existing light-water reactors, may no longer apply. Therefore, applicants for an operating license for an advanced reactor, and current licensees who have implemented significant changes to existing control rooms, may wish to submit applications for exemptions from current staffing regulations. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) staff is responsible for reviewing the exemption requests and determining whether the staffing proposals provide adequate assurance that public health and safety are maintained to a level that is comparable to compliance with the current regulations.

This contractor report provides a discussion of the issues related to assessing requests for exemption from staffing requirements included in 10 CFR 50.54 for advanced reactor designs and control room upgrades. The report includes discussions of the potential impacts of these technological changes on staffing, relevant regulations and regulatory guidance, and available methods for conducting staffing assessments. The report concludes with a recommended approach for evaluating staffing-related exemption requests.

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