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Office of Public Affairs Telephone: 301/415-8200
Washington, DC 20555-0001 E-mail: opa@nrc.gov

No. 08-140 July 29, 2008


The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is seeking suggestions from the public on how it can increase its level of openness related to security at nuclear power plants and certain other facilities while still protecting sensitive information. A summary of the feedback will be posted on the NRC’s Web site, provided to the Commission and considered in the development of new openness policies.

After the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, the Commission implemented a new policy of withholding certain information. Some information previously available to the public was withheld and new information, such as certain orders to NRC licensees on security measures, was designated as classified, safeguards information or sensitive unclassified information and withheld from the public.

In 2007, the NRC began redacting and releasing many of the safety documents previously withheld, and the agency is interested in taking additional action regarding security-related inspection and license performance information. Under consideration are several approaches, including adding more detail to an annual report to Congress on security oversight and to the cover letters for security inspection reports, and by making more information available on the NRC Web site.

“We view nuclear regulation as the public’s business and believe it should be transacted as openly and candidly as possible,” said NRC Executive Director of Operations Bill Borchardt. “Ensuring appropriate openness while also controlling sensitive information recognizes that the public must know about and be able to participate in the NRC’s regulatory processes.” 

Specifically, the NRC is seeking public input on a number of questions relating to what type of information the public wants. Sample questions include:

  • What kind of NRC security inspection and licensee performance information would enhance your confidence in NRC’s regulatory oversight effectiveness?
  • Is the information provided in the NRC cover letters to security inspection reports useful?
  • What kind of NRC security inspection and licensee performance information would enhance your knowledge as to how safe and secure you and your family are?

The questions, with background information, are available in the Federal Register notice issued today. This notice is available on the NRC’s Web site: http://www.nrc.gov/public-involve/doc-comment.html#3.

Comments will be accepted until Sept. 12. Comments can be submitted electronically through www.regulations.gov or mailed to Chief, Rulemaking, Directives and Editing Branch, Office of Administration, Mail Stop T6D59, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, D.C. 20555-0001. Comments can also be delivered to Two White Flint North, 11545 Rockville Pike, Rockville, MD., between 7:30 and 4:15 p.m. on federal workdays.

Source: NRC

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Security Openness and Transparency

Possible Changes to the Level of Openness and Transparency of Information Associated with NRC Security Inspection and Licensee Performance Assessment of NRC Licensees

The NRC is considering possible changes to the level of openness and transparency of security-related information obtained from the conduct of NRC security inspections and performance assessment of NRC licensees and is soliciting public comment. The Federal Register Notice (FRN) linked below solicits public comment to better inform the staff evaluation of possible options prior to making a recommendation to the Commission on possible changes to its current policy associated with security-related inspection and licensee performance assessment information.

Federal Register Notice, Solicitation of Public Comment on Possible Changes to the Level of Openness and Transparency of Information Associated with NRC Security Inspection and Licensee Performance Assessment of NRC Licensees

Within this FRN, are possible options to increase openness and a few questions to help facilitate public comment, two of these questions are:

  1. In addition to the information currently in publicly-available cover letters for the majority of NRC security inspections, what additional information would be effective in informing the public about licensee security performance? For example, what specific details would increase your level of satisfaction in our regulatory oversight of licensed facilities?

  2. What level of public participation in any substantial and future revision of the security oversight process (e.g., changes made to performance indicators, significance determination process, etc.) would be beneficial? What constraints and considerations on such participation would be necessary to protect the details of sensitive security information?

The “Background Information” link below describes some of the more significant changes to the Commission’s security-related openness and transparency policy over the last six years as applied to NRC inspection and NRC assessment of licensee security performance.

To provide comment, please utilize the web link below. The NRC will evaluate and consider all comments received before September 5, 2008, when proposing changes to the Commission policy on the level of openness and transparency associated with security-related information obtained through inspection and licensee performance assessment.

Note: Upon selecting “Provide Comment,” you will be transferred to http://www.regulations.gov. At this government website, your comments can be provided through the portal entitled “Comment or Suggestion” by typing in the key search phrase of “NRC-2008-0413.”

For Further Information Contact: Paul W. Harris, Senior Program Manager, Reactor Security Oversight Branch, Division of Security Operations, Office of Nuclear Security and Incident Response, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, D.C., 20555-001. Telephone: (301) 415-1169; fax number (301)415-6077 or see our Contact Us form.

Source: NRC