Operator Licensing Examination Standards for Power Reactors: Final Report (NUREG-1021, Revision 12)

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Publication Information

Manuscript Completed: July 2021
Date Published: September 2021

Prepared by:
M. Scheetz
T. Buchanan
L. Nist
J. Seymour

Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington, DC 20555-0001

Availability Notice


The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) publishes NUREG-1021, “Operator Licensing Examination Standards for Power Reactors,” to establish the policies, procedures, and practices for examining licensees and applicants for reactor operator and senior reactor operator licenses at power reactor facilities. These standards are in accordance with Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR) Part 55, “Operators’ licenses.” The agency intends these examination standards to help NRC examiners and facility licensees better understand the processes associated with initial and NRC-conducted requalification examinations. The standards also ensure the equitable and consistent administration of examinations for all applicants. The purpose of the standards is stated in 10 CFR 55.40, “Implementation”:

The Commission shall use the criteria in NUREG-1021 … in effect six months before the examination date to prepare the written examinations required by [10 CFR] 55.41 and [10 CFR] 55.43 and the operating tests required by [10 CFR] 55.45. The Commission shall also use the criteria in NUREG-1021 to evaluate the written examinations and operating tests prepared by power reactor facility licensees pursuant to paragraph (b) of this section.

As a result, Revision 12 of NUREG-1021 will be in effect for initial licensing examinations scheduled on or after March 17, 2022. The NRC is issuing Revision 12 of NUREG-1021 to (1) streamline information into topic-based sections for ease of use, (2) clarify instructions for the identification and grading of performance deficiencies on the operating test, (3) revise instructions for the selection of critical tasks and the assessment of critical and significant performance deficiencies, and (4) implement changes to support the testing of fundamentals topics on the site-specific initial licensing examination, in the place of a separate generic fundamentals examination.

This NUREG is a rule as defined in the Congressional Review Act (5 U.S.C. 801–808). However, the Office of Management and Budget has not found it to be a major rule as defined in the Congressional Review Act.


Page Last Reviewed/Updated Thursday, July 20, 2023