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Title 10Chapter IPart 55 → Subpart E


Title 10: Energy
PART 55—OPERATORS' LICENSES


Subpart E—Written Examinations and Operating Tests


Contents
§55.40   Implementation.
§55.41   Written examination: Operators.
§55.43   Written examination: Senior operators.
§55.45   Operating tests.
§55.46   Simulation facilities.
§55.47   Waiver of examination and test requirements.
§55.49   Integrity of examinations and tests.

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§55.40   Implementation.

(a) The Commission shall use the criteria in NUREG-1021, “Operator Licensing Examination Standards for Power Reactors,”1 in effect six months before the examination date to prepare the written examinations required by §§55.41 and 55.43 and the operating tests required by §55.45. The Commission shall also use the criteria in NUREG-1021 to evaluate the written examinations and operating tests prepared by power reactor facility licensees pursuant to paragraph (b) of this section.

1Copies of NUREGs may be purchased from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Publishing Office, P.O. Box 38082, Washington, DC 20402-9328. Copies are also available from the National Technical Information Service, 5301 Shawnee Road, Alexandria, VA 22312. A copy is available for inspection and/or copying in the NRC Public Document Room, One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike (O-1 F21), Rockville, MD.

(b) Power reactor facility licensees may prepare, proctor, and grade the written examinations required by §§55.41 and 55.43 and may prepare the operating tests required by §55.45, subject to the following conditions:

(1) Power reactor facility licensees shall prepare the required examinations and tests in accordance with the criteria in NUREG-1021 as described in paragraph (a) of this section;

(2) Pursuant to §55.49, power reactor facility licensees shall establish, implement, and maintain procedures to control examination security and integrity;

(3) An authorized representative of the power reactor facility licensee shall approve the required examinations and tests before they are submitted to the Commission for review and approval; and

(4) Power reactor facility licensees must receive Commission approval of their proposed written examinations and operating tests.

(c) In lieu of paragraph (b) of this section and upon written request from a power reactor facility licensee pursuant to §55.31(a)(3), the Commission shall, for that facility licensee, prepare, proctor, and grade, the written examinations required by §§55.41 and 55.43 and the operating tests required by §55.45. In addition, the Commission may exercise its discretion and reject a power reactor facility licensee's determination to elect paragraph (b) of this section, in which case the Commission shall prepare, proctor, and grade the required written examinations and operating tests for that facility licensee.

(d) The Commission shall use the criteria in NUREG-1478, “Operator Licensing Examiner Standards for Research and Test Reactors,” for all test and research reactors to prepare, proctor, and grade the written examinations required by §§55.41 and 55.43 and the operating tests required by §55.45 for non-power reactor facility licensees.

[64 FR 19878, Apr. 23, 1999, as amended at 69 FR 76600, Dec. 22, 2004; 79 FR 66604, Nov. 10, 2014; 80 FR 45844, Aug. 3, 2015; 80 FR 74980, Dec. 1, 2015]

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§55.41   Written examination: Operators.

(a) Content. The written examination for an operator will contain a representative selection of questions on the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to perform licensed operator duties. The knowledge, skills, and abilities will be identified, in part, from learning objectives derived from a systematic analysis of licensed operator duties performed by each facility licensee and contained in its training program and from information in the Final Safety Analysis Report, system description manuals and operating procedures, facility license and license amendments, Licensee Event Reports, and other materials requested from the facility licensee by the Commission.

(b) The written examination for an operator for a facility will include a representative sample from among the following 14 items, to the extent applicable to the facility.

(1) Fundamentals of reactor theory, including fission process, neutron multiplication, source effects, control rod effects, criticality indications, reactivity coefficients, and poison effects.

(2) General design features of the core, including core structure, fuel elements, control rods, core instrumentation, and coolant flow.

(3) Mechanical components and design features of the reactor primary system.

(4) Secondary coolant and auxiliary systems that affect the facility.

(5) Facility operating characteristics during steady state and transient conditions, including coolant chemistry, causes and effects of temperature, pressure and reactivity changes, effects of load changes, and operating limitations and reasons for these operating characteristics.

(6) Design, components, and functions of reactivity control mechanisms and instrumentation.

(7) Design, components, and functions of control and safety systems, including instrumentation, signals, interlocks, failure modes, and automatic and manual features.

(8) Components, capacity, and functions of emergency systems.

(9) Shielding, isolation, and containment design features, including access limitations.

(10) Administrative, normal, abnormal, and emergency operating procedures for the facility.

(11) Purpose and operation of radiation monitoring systems, including alarms and survey equipment.

(12) Radiological safety principles and procedures.

(13) Procedures and equipment available for handling and disposal of radioactive materials and effluents.

(14) Principles of heat transfer thermodynamics and fluid mechanics.

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§55.43   Written examination: Senior operators.

(a) Content. The written examination for a senior operator will contain a representative selection of questions on the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to perform licensed senior operator duties. The knowledge, skills, and abilities will be identified, in part, from learning objectives derived from a systematic analysis of licensed senior operator duties performed by each facility licensee and contained in its training program and from information in the Final Safety Analysis Report, system description manuals and operating procedures, facility license and license amendments, Licensee Event Reports, and other materials requested from the facility licensee by the Commission.

(b) The written examination for a senior operator for a facility will include a representative sample from among the following seven items and the 14 items specified in §55.41 of this part, to the extent applicable to the facility:

(1) Conditions and limitations in the facility license.

(2) Facility operating limitations in the technical specifications and their bases.

(3) Facility licensee procedures required to obtain authority for design and operating changes in the facility.

(4) Radiation hazards that may arise during normal and abnormal situations, including maintenance activities and various contamination conditions.

(5) Assessment of facility conditions and selection of appropriate procedures during normal, abnormal, and emergency situations.

(6) Procedures and limitations involved in initial core loading, alterations in core configuration, control rod programming, and determination of various internal and external effects on core reactivity.

(7) Fuel handling facilities and procedures.

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§55.45   Operating tests.

(a) Content. The operating tests administered to applicants for operator and senior operator licenses in accordance with paragraph (b)(1) of this section are generally similar in scope. The content will be identified, in part, from learning objectives derived from a systematic analysis of licensed operator or senior operator duties performed by each facility licensee and contained in its training program and from information in the Final Safety Analysis Report, system description manuals and operating procedures, facility license and license amendments, Licensee Event Reports, and other materials requested from the facility licensee by the Commission. The operating test, to the extent applicable, requires the applicant to demonstrate an understanding of and the ability to perform the actions necessary to accomplish a representative sample from among the following 13 items.

(1) Perform pre-startup procedures for the facility, including operating of those controls associated with plant equipment that could affect reactivity.

(2) Manipulate the console controls as required to operate the facility between shutdown and designated power levels.

(3) Identify annunciators and condition-indicating signals and perform appropriate remedial actions where appropriate.

(4) Identify the instrumentation systems and the significance of facility instrument readings.

(5) Observe and safely control the operating behavior characteristics of the facility.

(6) Perform control manipulations required to obtain desired operating results during normal, abnormal, and emergency situations.

(7) Safely operate the facility's heat removal systems, including primary coolant, emergency coolant, and decay heat removal systems, and identify the relations of the proper operation of these systems to the operation of the facility.

(8) Safely operate the facility's auxiliary and emergency systems, including operation of those controls associated with plant equipment that could affect reactivity or the release of radioactive materials to the environment.

(9) Demonstrate or describe the use and function of the facility's radiation monitoring systems, including fixed radiation monitors and alarms, portable survey instruments, and personnel monitoring equipment.

(10) Demonstrate knowledge of significant radiation hazards, including permissible levels in excess of those authorized, and ability to perform other procedures to reduce excessive levels of radiation and to guard against personnel exposure.

(11) Demonstrate knowledge of the emergency plan for the facility, including, as appropriate, the operator's or senior operator's responsibility to decide whether the plan should be executed and the duties under the plan assigned.

(12) Demonstrate the knowledge and ability as appropriate to the assigned position to assume the responsibilities associated with the safe operation of the facility.

(13) Demonstrate the applicant's ability to function within the control room team as appropriate to the assigned position, in such a way that the facility licensee's procedures are adhered to and that the limitations in its license and amendments are not violated.

(b) Implementation—Administration. The operating test will be administered in a plant walkthrough and in either—

(1) A simulation facility that the Commission has approved for use after application has been made by the facility licensee under §55.46(b);

(2) A plant-referenced simulator (§55.46(c)); or

(3) The plant, if approved for use in the administration of the operating test by the Commission under §55.46(b).

[52 FR 9460, Mar. 25, 1987, as amended at 53 FR 43421, Oct. 27, 1988; 62 FR 59276, Nov. 3, 1997; 66 FR 52667, Oct. 17, 2001]

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§55.46   Simulation facilities.

(a) General. This section addresses the use of a simulation facility for the administration of the operating test and plant-referenced simulators to meet experience requirements for applicants for operator and senior operator licenses.

(b) Commission-approved simulation facilities and Commission approval of use of the plant in the administration of the operating test. (1) Facility licensees that propose to use a simulation facility, other than a plant-referenced simulator, or the plant in the administration of the operating test under §§55.45(b)(1) or 55.45(b)(3), shall request approval from the Commission. This request must include:

(i) A description of the components of the simulation facility intended to be used, or the way the plant would be used for each part of the operating test, unless previously approved; and

(ii) A description of the performance tests for the simulation facility as part of the request, and the results of these tests; and

(iii) A description of the procedures for maintaining examination and test integrity consistent with the requirements of §55.49.

(2) The Commission will approve a simulation facility or use of the plant for administration of operating tests if it finds that the simulation facility and its proposed use, or the proposed use of the plant, are suitable for the conduct of operating tests for the facility licensee's reference plant under §55.45(a).

(c) Plant-referenced simulators. (1) A plant-referenced simulator used for the administration of the operating test or to meet experience requirements in §55.31(a)(5) must demonstrate expected plant response to operator input and to normal, transient, and accident conditions to which the simulator has been designed to respond. The plant-referenced simulator must be designed and implemented so that it:

(i) Is sufficient in scope and fidelity to allow conduct of the evolutions listed in §§55.45(a)(1) through (13), and 55.59(c)(3)(i)(A) through (AA), as applicable to the design of the reference plant.

(ii) Allows for the completion of control manipulations for operator license applicants.

(2) Facility licensees that propose to use a plant-referenced simulator to meet the control manipulation requirements in §55.31(a)(5) must ensure that:

(i) The plant-referenced simulator utilizes models relating to nuclear and thermal-hydraulic characteristics that replicate the most recent core load in the nuclear power reference plant for which a license is being sought; and

(ii) Simulator fidelity has been demonstrated so that significant control manipulations are completed without procedural exceptions, simulator performance exceptions, or deviation from the approved training scenario sequence.

(3) A simulation facility consisting solely of a plant-referenced simulator must meet the requirements of paragraph (c)(1) of this section and the criteria in paragraphs (d)(1) and (4) of this section for the Commission to accept the plant-referenced simulator for conducting operating tests as described in §55.45(a) of this part, requalification training as described in §55.59(c)(3) of this part, or for performing control manipulations that affect reactivity to establish eligibility for an operator's license as described in §55.31(a)(5).

(d) Continued assurance of simulator fidelity. Facility licensees that maintain a simulation facility shall:

(1) Conduct performance testing throughout the life of the simulation facility in a manner sufficient to ensure that paragraphs (c)(2)(ii), as applicable, and (d)(3) of this section are met. The results of performance tests must be retained for four years after the completion of each performance test or until superseded by updated test results;

(2) Correct modeling and hardware discrepancies and discrepancies identified from scenario validation and from performance testing;

(3) Make results of any uncorrected performance test failures that may exist at the time of the operating test or requalification program inspection available for NRC review, prior to or concurrent with preparations for each operating test or requalification program inspection; and

(4) Maintain the provisions for license application, examination, and test integrity consistent with §55.49.

[66 FR 52667, Oct. 17, 2001]

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§55.47   Waiver of examination and test requirements.

(a) On application, the Commission may waive any or all of the requirements for a written examination and operating test, if it finds that the applicant—

(1) Has had extensive actual operating experience at a comparable facility, as determined by the Commission, within two years before the date of application;

(2) Has discharged his or her responsibilities competently and safely and is capable of continuing to do so; and

(3) Has learned the operating procedures for and is qualified to operate competently and safely the facility designated in the application.

(b) The Commission may accept as proof of the applicant's past performance a certification of an authorized representative of the facility licensee or of a holder of an authorization by which the applicant was previously employed. The certification must contain a description of the applicant's operating experience, including an approximate number of hours the applicant operated the controls of the facility, the duties performed, and the extent of the applicant's responsibility.

(c) The Commission may accept as proof of the applicant's current qualifications a certification of an authorized representative of the facility licensee or of a holder of an authorization where the applicant's services will be utilized.

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§55.49   Integrity of examinations and tests.

Applicants, licensees, and facility licensees shall not engage in any activity that compromises the integrity of any application, test, or examination required by this part. The integrity of a test or examination is considered compromised if any activity, regardless of intent, affected, or, but for detection, would have affected the equitable and consistent administration of the test or examination. This includes activities related to the preparation and certification of license applications and all activities related to the preparation, administration, and grading of the tests and examinations required by this part.

[64 FR 19878, Apr. 23, 1999]

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