Withholding of Sensitive Information for Nuclear Power Reactors

The NRC issued guidance for designating sensitive unclassified non-safeguards information relating to nuclear power reactors in SECY-04-0191, "Withholding Sensitive Unclassified Information Concerning Nuclear Power Reactors from Public Disclosure." Additional information on the relationship between the NRC's handling of sensitive unclassified non-safeguards information and the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is provided in SECY-05-0091, "Task Force Report on Public Disclosure of Security-Related Information." The NRC is periodically updating and revising the specific examples and topics initially issued as Attachment 1 to SECY-04-0191 to consider suggestions and questions received from stakeholders.

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Application of NRC Criteria to Specific Examples and Topics for Power Reactors

In SECY-04-0191, the NRC described a general approach to assessing whether information should be designated sensitive because of its potential usefulness to terrorists. In this approach, the NRC considered factors such as the possible threat, the consequences of an attack, the relationship to security programs, and the availability of information from other sources. The NRC applied the approach to various documents and topical areas related to nuclear power reactors and developed the table Control of Information by Subject Matter to provide specific examples and guidance. The table is revised periodically to address questions and suggestions offered by agency stakeholders.

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Licensee Controls for Sensitive Unclassified Non-Safeguards Information

Using controls similar to those for proprietary information, the NRC protects information deemed sensitive because it relates to physical protection or material control and accounting (10 CFR 2.390). Therefore, licensees may need to assess and revise their handling of sensitive unclassified non-safeguards information in their normal activities and interactions with parties other than the NRC. For the controls used in protecting information exchanged between licensees and the NRC to be effective, licensees may need to revise their internal controls and their interactions with outside parties, such as contractors. The desired outcome is for the sensitive information to be accessible to only trustworthy individuals needing the information to support safe plant operations. The NRC will discuss this issue further during workshops with licensees on designating and protecting sensitive information.

Questions and Suggestions

We encourage your participation. You may Contact Us with questions and suggestions on the guidance for sensitive information or the handling of specific sensitive documents (including specific documents found on NRC Information Systems such as this Web site or ADAMS). The NRC may add to or clarify the examples in the table of Control of Information by Subject Matter in response to questions or suggestions received. The NRC may also raise issues in other public forums or use other tools to seek input and develop positions and policies.

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