Operator Licensing Examination Standards for Power Reactors (NUREG-1021, Revision 9, Supplement 1)

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Publication Information

Manuscript Completed: September 2007
Date Published
: October 2007

Prepared by
D. Muller

Division of Inspection and Regional Support
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 pursuant to Title 10, Part 55, of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR Part 55). The related guidance that was previously published in the "Examiners' Handbook for Developing Operator Licensing Written Examinations" (NUREG/BR-0122, Rev. 5, dated March 1990) has been incorporated herein. NUREG/BR-0122 is no longer in effect.

These examination standards are intended to help NRC examiners and facility licensees better understand the processes associated with initial and requalification examinations. The standards also ensure the equitable and consistent administration of examinations for all applicants. These standards are for guidance purposes and are not a substitute for the operator licensing regulations (i.e., 10 CFR Part 55), and they are subject to revision or other changes in internal operator licensing policy. Minor policy clarifications that become necessary before the next formal revision of these standards will be promulgated on the NRC's operator licensing Web page at /reactors/operator-licensing.html.

The NRC issued Revision 9 in July 2004 primarily to (1) improve efficiency by reducing the length of the reactor operator written examination, without sacrificing validity or reliability; (2) clarify and simplify the design of the senior reactor operator written examination; (3) better risk-inform both written examinations; (4) better balance the administrative and systems portions of the walk-through operating test; (5) clarify the grading criteria for the simulator operating test to improve objectivity and ensure proper emphasis on competence; and (6) incorporate guidance that was previously promulgated on the NRC's operator licensing Web page regarding the suppression of inappropriate knowledge and ability (K/A) statements and the conduct of peer checks. The changes are identified with bars in the margins and described in the Executive Summary.

Supplement 1 to Revision 9 is being issued to (1) clarify licensed operator medical requirements, including the use of prescription medications; (2) clarify the use of surrogate operators during dynamic simulator scenarios; (3) clarify the selection process for generic knowledge and ability (K/A) statements; (4) qualify the NRC review of post-examination comments; (5) provide additional guidance for maintaining an active license (watchstander proficiency) and license reactivation; and (6) conform with updates to NUREGs-1122 [and -1123], "Knowledge and Abilities Catalog[s] for Nuclear Power Plant Operators: Pressurized [and Boiling] Water Reactors." The changes are identified with bars in the margins and summarized in "Revision 9 Supplement 1 Page Replacement Instructions."

Revision 9, Supplement 1, will become effective for corporate notification letters issued 60 days after its publication is noticed in the Federal Register. This will provide facility licensees with at least 180 days notice that the examinations will be administered in accordance with the revised policies, procedures, and practices. Facility licensees may make arrangements for earlier implementation by contacting their NRC regional office.

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Wednesday, March 24, 2021