[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 141 (Tuesday, July 23, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 44165-44167]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-17641]


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NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

[NRC-2013-0159]


Nuclear Regulatory Commission Enforcement Policy

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Enforcement policy; request for comment.

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SUMMARY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is conducting an 
assessment and seeking stakeholder views on issues relating to a 
potential revision to the Enforcement Policy regarding issuance of 
orders banning individuals from NRC-licensed activities for less than 1 
year and expanding the use of civil penalties in cases involving 
deliberate misconduct by individuals.

DATES: Submit comments by September 23, 2013. Comments received after 
this date will be considered if it is practical to do so, but the NRC 
staff is able to ensure consideration only for comments received on or 
before this date.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by any of the following methods 
(unless this document describes a different method for submitting 
comments on a specific subject):
     Federal Rulemaking Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2013-0159. Address 
questions about NRC dockets to Carol Gallagher; telephone: 301-287-
3422; email: Carol.Gallagher@nrc.gov. For technical questions, contact 
the individual listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of 
this document.
     Mail comments to: Cindy Bladey, Chief, Rules, 
Announcements, and Directives Branch (RADB), Office of Administration, 
Mail Stop: 3WFN-6A44MP, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, 
DC 20555-0001.
    For additional direction on accessing information and submitting 
comments, see ``Accessing Information and Submitting Comments'' in the 
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: John R. Wray, Office of Enforcement, 
U.S.

[[Page 44166]]

Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001; telephone: 
301-415-1288; email: John.Wray@nrc.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

I. Accessing Information and Submitting Comments

A. Accessing Information

    Please refer to Docket ID NRC-2013-0159 when contacting the NRC 
about the availability of information regarding this document. You may 
access information related to this document, which the NRC possesses 
and is publicly available, by any of the following methods:
     Federal Rulemaking Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2013-0159.
     NRC's Agencywide Documents Access and Management System 
(ADAMS): You may access publicly-available documents online in the NRC 
Library at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. To begin the 
search, select ``ADAMS Public Documents'' and then select ``Begin Web-
based ADAMS Search.'' For problems with ADAMS, please contact the NRC's 
Public Document Room (PDR) reference staff at 1-800-397-4209, 301-415-
4737, or by email to pdr.resource@nrc.gov. The ADAMS accession number 
for each document referenced in this notice (if that document is 
available in ADAMS) is provided the first time that a document is 
referenced. The Enforcement Policy is available in ADAMS under 
Accession No. ML12340A295.
     NRC's PDR: You may examine and purchase copies of public 
documents at the NRC's PDR, Room O1-F21, One White Flint North, 11555 
Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852.
     NRC's Public Web site: Go to http://www.nrc.gov and select 
``Public Meetings and Involvement,'' then ``Enforcement,'' and then 
``Enforcement Policy.''

B. Submitting Comments

    Please include Docket ID NRC-2013-0159 in the subject line of your 
comment submission, in order to ensure that the NRC is able to make 
your comment submission available to the public in this docket.
    The NRC cautions you not to include identifying or contact 
information that you do not want to be publicly disclosed in your 
comment submission. The NRC will post all comment submissions at http://www.regulations.gov as well as enter the comment submissions into 
ADAMS. The NRC does not routinely edit comment submissions to remove 
identifying or contact information.
    If you are requesting or aggregating comments from other persons 
for submission to the NRC, then you should inform those persons not to 
include identifying or contact information that they do not want to be 
publicly disclosed in their comment submission. Your request should 
state that the NRC does not routinely edit comment submissions to 
remove such information before making the comment submissions available 
to the public or entering the comment submissions into ADAMS.

II. Background

    In SECY-12-0047, ``Revisions to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission 
Enforcement Policy,'' dated March 28, 2012 (ADAMS Accession No. 
ML12045A025), the staff recommended that the Commission approve the 
staff's plan to revise the Enforcement Policy with specific 
modifications which addressed items from Staff Requirements Memorandum 
(SRM), ``Staff Requirements--SECY-09-0190--Major Revision to NRC 
Enforcement Policy,'' dated August 27, 2010 (ADAMS Accession No. 
ML102390327). The staff also indicated in SECY-12-0047 that it was 
considering the merits and potential implications of expanding the use 
of civil penalties in cases involving deliberate misconduct by 
individuals (licensed or unlicensed) and of issuing orders banning 
individuals (licensed or unlicensed) for less than 1 year, and that, 
based on its evaluation, the staff might propose to the Commission 
future changes to the Enforcement Policy. In SRM-SECY-12-0047, 
``Revisions to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission Enforcement Policy,'' 
dated November 28, 2012 (ADAMS Accession No. ML12333A301), the 
Commission approved the staff's proposed Enforcement Policy changes 
and, in addition, directed the staff to evaluate potential future 
revisions of the Enforcement Policy regarding issuance of orders 
banning individuals from NRC-licensed activities for periods of less 
than 1 year and expanding the use of civil penalties in cases involving 
deliberate misconduct by individuals. The Commission stated that the 
staff should carefully consider the potential implications and 
potential benefits of such revisions to the NRC Enforcement program, 
including:
     The risk of diminishing the impact of imposing a ban, or 
imposing civil penalties so small that they downplay the seriousness of 
a violation;
     The difficulty in maintaining the clarity, consistency, 
and certainty of the process while attempting to weigh different sets 
of circumstances to determine appropriate periods of time for such 
bans; and
     The fact that a ban of any length of time may have serious 
consequences for the individual who is banned.

III. Discussion

    The NRC staff is considering the merits and potential implications 
associated with revising the Enforcement Policy to endorse expanding 
the use of civil penalties in cases involving deliberate misconduct by 
individuals and issuance of orders banning individuals from NRC-
licensed activities for less than 1 year. As described in Section 4.0 
of the Enforcement Policy, the NRC considers taking enforcement action 
against individuals who engage in deliberate misconduct that causes a 
licensee to be in violation of the regulations, an order, or the terms 
and conditions of an NRC license. In addition, the NRC considers taking 
enforcement action against individuals (licensed or unlicensed) to whom 
the NRC has issued an order that the individual subsequently violated. 
If enforcement action is taken against an individual, the staff 
normally issues either a notice of violation (NOV) or an order 
prohibiting involvement in NRC-licensed activities (i.e., a ban). 
Except in cases involving violations of Section 206 of the Energy 
Reorganization Act of 1974, the NRC normally does not impose civil 
penalties against individuals, consistent with a basic tenet in Section 
4.0 of the Enforcement Policy that licensees are held responsible for 
acts of their employees. However, under section 234 of the Atomic 
Energy Act of 1954, as amended, the NRC has the authority to impose 
civil penalties on individuals who violate the NRC's deliberate 
misconduct rule.
    The initial determination of the duration of a ban is normally 
based on the significance of the underlying violation and the 
individual's level of responsibility in the organization. When the NRC 
has, in the past, deemed that banning an individual was warranted, the 
length of the ban has typically been for 1, 3, or 5 years, although 
longer bans have been used in particularly egregious cases. However, 
the Enforcement Policy does not provide that level of specificity but, 
instead, merely states that normally the period of suspension would not 
exceed 5 years.
    The staff acknowledges that a ban of a year or more can have a 
significant effect on the responsible individual's livelihood, and that 
there is a significant disparity between the impacts of an

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NOV and a 1-year ban. Therefore, the staff believes that, depending on 
the significance of an individual's actions, the use of other sanctions 
in individual enforcement actions warrants further review. For example, 
two possible alternatives whose impacts would fall between those of an 
NOV and a 1-year ban could be issuing a civil penalty or a ban of 6 
months.
    Therefore, the staff intends to evaluate advantages and 
disadvantages of expanding the use of civil penalties in cases 
involving deliberate misconduct by individuals and of issuing bans for 
less than 1 year. In considering these options, the staff is soliciting 
public comment on both the concept and possible specifics related to a 
potential revision to the Enforcement Policy and other program 
documents describing these alternatives. Specifically, the staff is 
seeking stakeholder input including but, not limited to, the following:
     Given that an individual who has engaged in deliberate 
misconduct is offered the opportunity to participate in the NRC's 
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) process, in which modifications to 
an individual sanction can include a ban for less than 1 year or a 
civil penalty, is there a benefit to modifying the Enforcement Policy?
     When individual action is deemed necessary, how should the 
NRC determine whether that action should be an NOV, a civil penalty, or 
a ban?
     What is the risk of an employer simply ``reimbursing'' an 
individual for a civil penalty if production is put ahead of safety? 
Should the NRC be concerned with such a potential and, if so, how would 
it be mitigated?
     Regarding the amount of a civil penalty issued to 
individuals, how can the NRC assure that the Enforcement Policy would 
be applied in a fair and consistent manner? Specifically, how should 
the amount of a civil penalty be determined? Should a set individual 
civil penalty amount be used, or should the individual civil penalty 
amount be calculated based on specific factors:
    [cir] If a set individual civil penalty amount should be used, what 
would be the appropriate amount? Would it be fair to propose the same 
civil penalty amount on individuals regardless of salaries?
    [cir] If a variable individual civil penalty amount should be used, 
what factors (e.g. salary level of individual, safety significance of 
violation, benefit or hardship to the individual, etc.) should be 
considered, and how should they be included in the calculation?
     With respect to the use of either civil penalties or bans 
for less than 1 year, would there be any unintended consequences the 
NRC should consider? If so, provide examples.
    Based on the written comments received from stakeholders, the staff 
may conduct a public meeting to provide for further discussions. The 
NRC will use any public input received as part of its evaluation to 
determine the merits and potential implications of expanding the use of 
civil penalties in cases involving deliberate misconduct by individuals 
and of issuing bans for less than 1 year, including the feasibility of 
developing criteria to ensure their fair and consistent application. 
Following its evaluation, the staff may propose changes to the 
Enforcement Policy to the Commission for its consideration.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 16th day of July 2013.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Roy P. Zimmerman,
Director, Office of Enforcement.
[FR Doc. 2013-17641 Filed 7-22-13; 8:45 am]
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