[Federal Register Volume 65, Number 183 (Wednesday, September 20, 2000)]
[Pages 56964-56966]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 00-24161]



Staff Meetings Open to the Public: Final Policy Statement

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Final Policy Statement.


SUMMARY: The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is finalizing revisions to 
its ``Policy Statement on Staff Meetings Open to the Public,'' to state 
that public notice of meetings will be provided primarily through the 
NRC Web site at http://www.nrc.gov. NRC will also discontinue 
announcing public meetings, changes, and cancellations through its 
public meeting notice system electronic bulletin board, and telephone 
recording, and through the Weekly Compilation of Press Releases and 
posting in the NRC's Public Document Room.

EFFECTIVE DATE: September 20, 2000.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Rosetta O. Virgilio, Office of the 
Executive Director for Operations, U.S.

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Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001, Telephone: 
301-415-2307; email:[email protected]

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: The NRC solicited public comment on the 
proposed revisions to the Policy Statement in the January 25, 2000 
Federal Register (65 FR 3982). All four comment letters received 
supported the revisions; three of the four recommended improvements to 
the NRC Web site for noticing public meetings. The NRC's Office of the 
Chief Information Officer is planning to develop a Web-based public 
meeting system to replace the existing system used to schedule and 
track meeting notices and cancellations. The proposed new system will 
allow the staff to implement all of the commenters suggestions. Copies 
of the comment letters can be viewed at the NRC Public Document Room 
located at 2120 L Street, NW. (Lower Level), Washington, DC.
    The text of the revised Policy Statement follows in its entirety. 
The final Policy Statement contains a revised Section D, identifying 
the NRC Web site as the primary mechanism for announcing staff meetings 
open to the public. The electronic bulletin board and automated 
telephone recording will be eliminated. Members of the public who do 
not have access to the Internet can contact the NRC's Public Document 
Room staff at 800-397-4209 for information on scheduled meetings. Other 
changes to Section D of the Policy Statement make it consistent with 
current NRC staff guidance and procedures, as discussed in the proposed 
Policy Statement notice. These changes include: revising the statement 
that a meeting notice should be provided to the Meeting Announcement 
Coordinator at least 10 days before a meeting to state that meeting 
notices will be provided to the public as soon as meeting arrangements 
have been made, generally no fewer than 10 calendar days before the 
meeting; and eliminating the current 60 day limit on the announced 
schedule of future meetings.

IV. Commission Policy Statement on Staff Meetings Open to the 

A. Purpose

    This statement presents the policy that the Nuclear Regulatory 
Commission (NRC) staff will follow in opening meetings between the NRC 
staff and one or more outside persons to public observation. The policy 
continues NRC's longstanding practice of providing the public with the 
fullest information practicable on its activities and of conducting 
business in an open manner, while balancing the need for the NRC staff 
to exercise its regulatory and safety responsibilities without undue 
administrative burden. This policy also announces central agency 
services available to the public for obtaining schedules for the staff 
meetings that are open to public attendance. Implementing guidance will 
be issued to the NRC staff as a management directive. This meeting 
policy is a matter of NRC discretion and may be departed from as NRC 
convenience and necessity may dictate.

B. Definition

    A public meeting is a planned, formal encounter open to public 
observation between one or more NRC staff members and one or more 
outside persons physically present at a single meeting site, with the 
expressed intent of discussing substantive issues that are directly 
associated with the NRC's regulatory and safety responsibilities. An 
outside person is any individual who is not:
    a. An NRC employee;
    b. Under contract to the NRC;
    c. Acting in an official capacity as a consultant to the NRC;
    d. Acting in an official capacity as a representative of an agency 
of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the U.S. 
Government (except when the agency is subject to NRC regulatory 
    e. Acting in an official capacity as a representative of a foreign 
    f. Acting in an official capacity as a representative of a State or 
local government (except when specific NRC licensing or regulatory 
matters are discussed).

C. Applicability and Exemptions

    1. This policy applies solely to NRC staff-sponsored and conducted 
meetings and not to meetings conducted by outside entities that NRC 
staff members might attend and participate in. It does not apply to the 
Commission or offices that report directly to the Commission. 
Similarly, it does not apply to meetings between the NRC staff and 
representatives of State governments, including Agreement State 
representatives, relating to NRC Agreement State activities or to State 
regulatory actions or to other matters of general interest to the State 
or to the Commission, that is, matters other than specific NRC 
licensing or regulatory actions involving specific licensees. Also, the 
policy is not intended to apply to or supersede any existing law, rule 
or regulation that addresses public attendance at a specific type of 
meeting. For example, 10 CFR Part 7 specifically addresses public 
attendance at advisory committee meetings; and 10 CFR Part 9, Subpart 
C, addresses public attendance at Commission meetings. The policy also 
does not negate existing Memoranda of Understanding, procedural 
agreements, or other formal agreements or requirements regarding the 
accessibility of the public to observe or participate in meetings 
between NRC and its licensees or any other entities. In addition, the 
policy does not apply to meetings involving enforcement matters under 
10 CFR Part 2, Appendix C nor to settlement conferences.
    2. In general, meetings between the NRC staff and outside persons 
will be classified as public meetings unless the NRC staff determines 
that the subject matter to be discussed--
    a. Is specifically authorized by an Executive Order to be kept 
secret in the interests of national defense or foreign policy 
(classified information) or specifically exempted from public 
disclosure by statute;
    b. Contains trade secrets and commercial or financial information 
(proprietary information);
    c. Contains safeguards information;
    d. Is of a personal nature where such disclosure would constitute a 
clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy;
    e. Is related to a planned, ongoing, or completed investigation 
and/or contains information compiled for law enforcement purposes;
    f. Could result in the inappropriate disclosure and dissemination 
of preliminary, unverified information;
    g. Is a general information exchange having no direct, substantive 
connection to a specific NRC regulatory decision or action;
    h. Indicates that the administrative burden associated with public 
attendance at the meeting could result in interfering with the NRC 
staff's execution of its safety and regulatory responsibilities, such 
as when the meeting is an integral part of the execution of the NRC 
inspection program.
    It is important to note that whether or not a meeting should be 
open for public attendance is dependent primarily on the subject matter 
to be discussed, not who outside nor who within the NRC staff is 
participating (e.g., staff level versus senior management).
    Also note that meetings between staff and licensees or trade groups 
to discuss technical issues or licensee performance would normally be 
open because they may lead to a specific regulatory decision or action. 
However, should a

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meeting involving a general information exchange be closed and should 
discussions during such a meeting approach issues that might lead to a 
specific regulatory decision or action, the NRC staff may advise the 
meeting attendees that such matters cannot be discussed in a closed 
meeting and propose discussing the issues in a future open meeting.

D. Notice to the Public

    1. Meeting announcement information is to be provided to the public 
as soon as the staff is certain that a meeting will be held and firm 
date, time, and facility arrangements have been made, but generally no 
fewer than 10 calendar days before the meeting. Where a meeting must be 
scheduled but cannot be announced 10 calendar days in advance, the 
staff will provide as much advance notice as possible. Public notice of 
meetings will be made via the Internet from the NRC Web site at http://www.nrc.gov. Meeting changes or cancellations will also be announced 
promptly on the NRC Web site. Meeting notices, changes to meetings, and 
cancellations will be updated each working day, if required, on the NRC 
Web site. Members of the public who cannot access the NRC Web site can 
contact the NRC Public Document Room staff via a toll free number for 
information on scheduled NRC meetings.
    2. Meeting announcements will include the date, time, and location 
of the meeting, as well as its purpose, the NRC office(s) and outside 
participant(s) in attendance, and the name and telephone number of the 
NRC contact for the meeting.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 14th day of September, 2000.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Annette Vietti-Cook,
Secretary to the Commission.
[FR Doc. 00-24161 Filed 9-19-00; 8:45 am]