[Federal Register Volume 69, Number 206 (Tuesday, October 26, 2004)]
[Notices]
[Pages 62485-62487]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 04-23900]


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NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

[NUREG-1600]


Revision of the NRC Enforcement Policy

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Policy Statement: revision.

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SUMMARY: The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC or Commission) is 
publishing a revision to its General Statement of Policy and Procedure 
for NRC Enforcement Actions (NUREG-1600) (Enforcement Policy or Policy) 
to address the requirements of the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation 
Adjustment Act of 1990, as amended by the Debt Collection Improvement 
Act of 1996. The Act requires Federal agencies to adjust civil monetary 
penalties to reflect inflation.

DATES: This action is effective on November 26, 2004. Comments on this 
revision should be submitted on or before December 27, 2004, and will 
be considered by the NRC before the next

[[Page 62486]]

Enforcement Policy revision. The Commission will apply the modified 
Policy to violations that occur after the effective date.

ADDRESSES: Submit written comments to: Michael T. Lesar, Chief, Rules 
and Directives Branch, Division of Administrative Services, Office of 
Administration, Mail Stop: T6D59, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 
Washington, DC 20555-0001. Hand deliver comments to: 11555 Rockville 
Pike, Rockville, Maryland, between 7:30 a.m. and 4:15 p.m., Federal 
workdays. Copies of comments received may be examined at the NRC Public 
Document Room, Room O1F21, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, MD. You may 
also e-mail comments to nrcrep@nrc.gov.
    The NRC maintains the current Enforcement Policy on its Web site at 
http://www.nrc.gov, select What We Do, Enforcement, then Enforcement 
Policy.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ren[eacute]e Pedersen, Senior 
Enforcement Specialist, Office of Enforcement, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory 
Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001, (301) 415-2742, e-mail 
rmp@nrc.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Section 234 of the Atomic Energy Act of 
1954, as amended, (AEA) limits the maximum civil penalty amount that 
the NRC may issue for violations of the AEA at $100,000 per violation, 
per day. The Federal Civil Monetary Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act 
of 1990 (as amended by the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996 (the 
Act)) requires that the head of each agency adjust by regulation the 
civil monetary penalties (CMPs) provided by law within the jurisdiction 
of the agency for inflation at least once every four years. On November 
3, 2000 (See 65 FR 59270; October 4, 2000), the NRC adjusted the 
aforementioned maximum civil penalty amount to $120,000. Thus, the NRC 
is required to adjust this civil penalty by November 3, 2004.
    The inflation adjustment mandated by the Act results in a seven 
percent increase to the maximum CMPs.\1\ Increases are to be rounded to 
the nearest multiple of $10,000 in the case of penalties greater than 
$100,000, but less than or equal to $200,000.
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    \1\ Adjustment for inflation = Consumer Price Index (CPI) for 
June 2003--CPI for June 2000.
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    After this mandatory adjustment for inflation and the rounding 
mandated by statute, the new maximum civil penalty amount will be 
$130,000 per violation, per day. Concurrent with this change, the NRC 
is publishing a change to 10 CFR 2.205 in the Federal Register to 
reflect the new maximum CMP mandated by the Act. The new maximum civil 
penalty applies only to violations that occur after the date that the 
increase takes effect.
    The changes mandated by the Act apply to the maximum CMP. This is 
also the amount that, under the Enforcement Policy approved by the 
Commission, is assigned as the base civil penalty for power reactors 
and gaseous diffusion plants for a Severity Level I violation 
(considered the most significant severity level). Also as a matter of 
policy, the Commission has approved use of lesser amounts for other 
types of licensees, primarily materials licensees, and for violations 
that are assessed at lower severity levels. This approach is set out in 
Tables 1A and 1B of the Enforcement Policy. Although the 1996 Act does 
not mandate changes to these lesser civil penalty amounts, the NRC is 
modifying Table 1A of the Enforcement Policy by increasing each amount 
to maintain the same proportional relationships between the penalties. 
These changes apply to violations occurring after the effective date of 
this Policy Statement.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    This final policy statement does not contain a new or amended 
information collection requirement subject to the Paperwork Reduction 
Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.). Existing requirements were 
approved by the Office of Management and Budget, approval number 3150-
0136.

Public Protection Notification

    If a means used to impose an information collection does not 
display a currently valid OMB control number, the NRC may not conduct 
or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, the information 
collection.

Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act

    In accordance with the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement 
Fairness Act of 1996, the NRC has determined that this action is not a 
``major'' rule and has verified this determination with the Office of 
Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget.
    Accordingly, the NRC Enforcement Policy is revised to read as 
follows:

General Statement of Policy and Procedure for NRC Enforcement Actions

VI. Disposition of Violations

C. Civil Penalty

1. Base Civil Penalty

                     Table 1A.--Base Civil Penalties
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a. Power reactors and gaseous diffusion plants........          $130,000
b. Fuel fabricators authorized to possess Category I              65,000
 or II quantities of SNM..............................
c. Fuel fabricators, industrial processors,\1\ and                32,500
 independent spent fuel and monitored retrievable
 storage installations................................
d. Test reactors, mills and uranium conversion                    13,000
 facilities, contractors, waste disposal licensees,
 industrial radiographers, and other large material
 users................................................
e. Research reactors, academic, medical, or other                  6,500
 small material users \2\.............................
f. Loss, abandonment, or improper transfer or disposal
 of a sealed source or device, regardless of the use
 or type of licensee: \3\
    1. Sources or devices with a total activity                   50,000
     greater than 3.7 x 104 MBq (1 Curie), excluding
     hydrogen-3 (tritium).............................
    2. Other sources or devices containing the                    16,000
     materials and quantities listed in 10 CFR
     31.5(c)(13)(i)...................................
    3. Sources and devices not otherwise described                6,500
     above............................................
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\1\ Large firms engaged in manufacturing or distribution of byproduct,
  source, or special nuclear material.
\2\ This applies to nonprofit institutions not otherwise categorized in
  this table, mobile nuclear services, nuclear pharmacies, and physician
  offices.
\3\ These base civil penalty amounts have been determined to be
  approximately three times the average cost of disposal. For specific
  cases, NRC may adjust these amounts to correspond to three times the
  actual expected cost of authorized disposal.


[[Page 62487]]

2. Civil Penalty Assessment
d. Exercise of Discretion
    As provided in Section VII, ``Exercise of Discretion,'' discretion 
may be exercised by either escalating or mitigating the amount of the 
civil penalty determined after applying the civil penalty adjustment 
factors to ensure that the proposed civil penalty reflects all relevant 
circumstances of the particular case. However, in no instance will a 
civil penalty for any one violation exceed $130,000 per day.

VII. Exercise of Discretion

A. Escalation of Enforcement Sanctions

    The NRC considers violations categorized at Severity Level I, II, 
or III to be of significant regulatory concern. The NRC also considers 
violations associated with findings that the Reactor Oversight 
Process's Significance Determination Process evaluates as having low to 
moderate, or greater safety significance (i.e., white, yellow, or red) 
to be of significant regulatory concern. If the application of the 
normal guidance in this policy does not result in an appropriate 
sanction, with the approval of the Deputy Executive Director and 
consultation with the EDO and Commission, as warranted, the NRC may 
apply its full enforcement authority where the action is warranted. NRC 
action may include: (1) escalating civil penalties; (2) issuing 
appropriate orders; and (3) assessing civil penalties for continuing 
violations on a per day basis, up to the statutory limit of $130,000 
per violation, per day.
3. Daily Civil Penalties
    In order to recognize the added significance for those cases where 
a very strong message is warranted for a significant violation that 
continues for more than one day, the NRC may exercise discretion and 
assess a separate violation and attendant civil penalty up to the 
statutory limit of $130,000 for each day the violation continues. The 
NRC may exercise this discretion if a licensee was aware of or clearly 
should have been aware of a violation, or if the licensee had an 
opportunity to identify and correct the violation but failed to do so.

    Dated in Rockville, Maryland, this 6th day of October 2004.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Luis A. Reyes,
Executive Director for Operations.
[FR Doc. 04-23900 Filed 10-25-04; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 7590-01-P