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Open Recommendations (16 total)

Cybersecurity: Federal Agencies Made Progress, but Need to Fully Implement Incident Response Requirements

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1 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Nuclear Regulatory Commission The Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission should ensure that the agency fully implements all event logging requirements as directed by OMB guidance. (Recommendation 18)
Open
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

High-Risk Radioactive Material: Opportunities Exist to Improve the Security of Sources No Longer in Use

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2 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Nuclear Regulatory Commission The Chairman of the NRC should comprehensively assess leading practices that, if implemented, would minimize the time that disused sources are in a licensee's possession. These practices include financial assurances for all category 1, 2, and 3 sources; tracking of category 3 sources; possession time limits or fees for disused sources; and orphan source funds. (Recommendation 3)
Open
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
Nuclear Regulatory Commission The Chairman of the NRC, in coordination with DOE and in consultation with other relevant stakeholders, should conduct an analysis to evaluate options and take action to facilitate long-term storage, within agency authorities, to better secure foreign-origin americium-241 until a permanent disposal or viable recycling option is available. (Recommendation 2)
Open
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Nuclear Power: NRC Needs to Take Additional Actions to Prepare to License Advanced Reactors

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4 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Nuclear Regulatory Commission The Chairman of NRC should direct staff to develop procedures for establishing and managing a review schedule for an incomplete application, including applications for first-of-a-kind designs. (Recommendation 1)
Open
In February 2024, NRC stated that it expected it would be very rare to accept an incomplete application. Instead, the agency would begin portions of its review without accepting the application for docketing. Although NRC considers accepting incomplete applications unlikely, we continue to believe that having procedures in place to manage the review schedule for an incomplete application would be beneficial, given that advanced reactor designs may have novel or first-of-a-kind designs. We continue to believe that developing procedures would provide additional clarity to developers preparing to submit applications.
Nuclear Regulatory Commission The Chairman of NRC should direct staff to clarify in information provided to advanced reactor developers how and when they should engage with the ACRS during the licensing process. (Recommendation 4)
Open
In February 2024, NRC stated that the ACRS has increased communication and the transparency of its review processes. The ACRS issued best practices guidance in July 2023 for ACRS members, which is intended to set staff and applicant expectations for ACRS reviews. In addition, NRC staff and the Chair of the ACRS communicated the process of scheduling ACRS reviews to stakeholders during an advanced reactor stakeholder meeting held on July 20, 2023. When we confirm that NRC has developed direct advanced reactor applicant guidance, we will update the record.
Nuclear Regulatory Commission The Chairman of NRC should direct staff to finalize draft preapplication guidance to clarify the extent to which advanced reactor developers should participate in preapplication activities. (Recommendation 2)
Open
In February 2024, NRC stated that it will finalize preapplication guidance in early 2024 after consideration of public comments. When we confirm what actions NRC has taken in response to this recommendation, we will update the record.
Nuclear Regulatory Commission The Chairman of NRC should direct staff to establish benchmarks and measures to assess its recruitment, relocation, and retention incentives and strategies to determine their effectiveness to help NRC retain and hire the staff necessary to license advanced reactors. (Recommendation 3)
Open
In February 2024, NRC stated that it is currently evaluating its strategic workforce planning process. NRC expects this evaluation to result in refining the benchmarks and measures that it will use to assess program effectiveness. NRC is also exploring options to address future potential peaks in advanced reactor licensing work, including reassigning NRC staff throughout the agency and using contractors. When we confirm what actions NRC has taken in response to this recommendation, we will update the record.

Preventing a Dirty Bomb: Vulnerabilities Persist in NRC's Controls for Purchases of High-Risk Radioactive Materials

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1 Open Recommendations
1 Priority
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Priority Rec.
The Chairman of NRC should immediately require that vendors verify category 3 licenses with the appropriate regulatory authority. (Recommendation 1)
Open
When the report was issued, NRC stated in their agency comments that they agreed with requiring vendors to verify category 3 licenses with the appropriate regulatory agency and had begun rulemaking that would require such verification. As of December 2022, the rulemaking was with the NRC Commission and agency officials told us that they would have more information on its status in early 2023.

Preventing a Dirty Bomb: Vulnerabilities Persist in NRC's Controls for Purchases of High-Risk Radioactive Materials

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1 Open Recommendations
1 Priority
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Priority Rec.
The Chairman of NRC should add security features to its licensing process to improve its integrity and make it less vulnerable to altering or forging licenses. These security features could include multifactor authentication or moving away from paper licenses to electronic-based licensing. (Recommendation 2)
Open
When the report was issued, NRC stated in their agency comments that they agreed with considering enhanced security features in the licensing process. Specifically, as part of their ongoing rulemaking process, they would consider providing guidance to regulators and licensees that would reduce the potential for altered or forged licenses to be used in acquiring category 3 radioactive sources. As of December 2022, the rulemaking was with the NRC Commission and agency officials told us that they would have more information on its status in early 2023.

Combating Nuclear Terrorism: NRC Needs to Take Additional Actions to Ensure the Security of High-Risk Radioactive Material

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1 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Nuclear Regulatory Commission The Chairman of NRC should require all licensees to implement additional security measures when they have multiple quantities of category 3 americium-241 at a single facility that in total reach a category 1 or 2 quantity of material. (Recommendation 3)
Open
As of January 2022, NRC continues to disagree with this recommendation. NRC maintains that the issue of aggregation of radioactive material has already been considered and NRC has taken or is in the process of taking actions to clarify relevant guidance and procedures. We disagree with NRC's assessment. We believe that by implementing our recommendation NRC would have better assurance that licensees are not storing multiple quantities of category 3 americium-241 at a single facility that in total reach a category 1 or 2 quantity of material.