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NRC Allegation Program Annual Trends Report
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NRC Allegation Program Annual Trends Repor
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Summarized By Lisamarie Jarriel, Agency Allegation Advisor, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission


Each ​year the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) issues an annual report that provides an analysis of national, regional, and site-specific trends in allegation[1] data (http:Allegation Program Annual Trend Report ML14133A270.pdf).  Allegations received in calendar year (CY) 2013 decreased by approximately 7 percent compared to CY 2012 but the decrease does not appear to be the result of a general industry issue or other external factor.  Rather, the substantive change in the numbers of allegations received was based on facility-specific or vendor-specific matters.  Each allegation can include multiple concerns and in CY 2013, coinciding with the overall decrease in allegations received, the total volume of allegation concerns received decreased in three of the four regional offices and in the Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards. Region III and the Office of New Reactors experienced substantial increases in the number of concerns received.


The largest percentage of concerns received nationwide was discrimination concerns, which decreased slightly from the number of discrimination concerns received in CY 2012. These concerns involved workers primarily from security and quality assurance functional organizations. Chilling effect concerns comprised the second highest percentage of concerns received nationwide and also decreased slightly in CY 2013 compared to CY 2012. The NRC noted trends in security, quality assurance, and operations organizations. The most often mentioned behaviors perceived by allegers involved supervisors discouraging workers from having a questioning attitude or from reporting or addressing concerns.  While the number of security-related concerns also remained high, a gradual decrease in the total number of security concerns received per year over the past several years has been noted.  Eighteen percent of the security concerns raised in CY 2013 involved a specific site in Region I.  

 

For some reactor licensees, the NRC received allegations in numbers that warranted additional analysis. In preparing this report, the staff reviewed a 5-year history of allegations for reactor and materials licensees and vendors to identify adverse trends. The analysis focused on allegations that originated from onsite sources to help inform the NRC’s review of the SCWE. Because a large volume of allegations from onsite sources may be indicative of a SCWE at risk, the staff selected five reactor sites and one vendor site for more in-depth review: Browns Ferry Units 1, 2, and 3; Watts Bar Unit 2; Palisades; Perry; Watts Bar Unit 1; and the Lake Charles Facility. This report discusses allegation trends at each of these sites. In summary, the trends either did not suggest a concern about the environment for raising concerns or may be indicative of a weakening SCWE. In such cases, the NRC has engaged the licensee and is closely monitoring its activities to address weaknesses. Finally, because of NRC conclusions that the SCWE was not conducive to raising concerns, the NRC issued 2 Chilling Effect Letters in CY 2013 requesting actions be taken to improve the SCWE. No materials licensees were the subject of allegations at a level that warranted additional analysis.

 

Lastly, the allegation staff continues to implement the agency-sponsored alternative dispute-resolution (ADR) process for discrimination allegations (early ADR). This pre-investigation process gives an individual and his or her employer (or former employer) the opportunity to resolve an allegation of discrimination through mediation rather than fully litigate the discrimination allegation or have the NRC initiate an investigation. Approximately 43 percent of the CY 2013 mediated discrimination concerns reached settlement.



[1] An allegation is defined as “a declaration, statement, or assertion of impropriety or inadequacy associated with NRC-regulated activities, the validity of which has not been established” in Management Directive 8.8, “Management of Allegations,” November 15, 2010.

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