[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 51 (Monday, March 17, 2014)]
[Pages 14748-14751]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-05794]



[NRC-2014-0051; IA-12-045]

In the Matter of Michael P. Cooley; Order Prohibiting Involvement 
in NRC-Licensed Activities


    Michael P. Cooley is a former Environmental Health and Safety 
Specialist, for Shaw, Stone & Webster (Shaw) at South Carolina Electric 
& Gas Company's Virgil C. Summer Nuclear Station (Licensee). The 
licensee is the holder of License No. NPF-12 issued by the U.S. Nuclear 

[[Page 14749]]

Commission (NRC) pursuant to Part 50 of Title 10 of the Code of Federal 
Regulations (10 CFR) on August 6, 1982, and renewed on April 23, 2004. 
The license authorizes the operation of the Virgil C. Summer Nuclear 
Station (facility) in accordance with the conditions specified therein. 
The facility is located on the licensee's site in Jenkinsville, South 


    On January 16, 2013, an investigation was completed by the NRC's 
Office of Investigations (OI). The purpose of the investigation was to 
review the facts and circumstances surrounding Mr. Michael P. Cooley's 
actions with respect to his completion of a V. C. Summer Personnel 
History Questionnaire (PHQ) to obtain unescorted access authorization 
(UAA) to the facility.
    In Section III of the PHQ titled ``Criminal History Self-
Disclosure,'' Mr. Cooley answered ``no'' to a question that, in part, 
asked, ``Have you ever been held, detained, taken into custody, 
charged, arrested, indicted, convicted for a violation of law, 
regulation, or ordinance (e.g., felony, misdemeanor, traffic, etc.), or 
do you have such a case pending or currently under indictment, on 
probation, parole, work release, or subject to any other control of 
    During the subsequent background investigation conducted by the 
licensee in August and September 2010, a criminal record search 
returned a U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) record dated 
August 31, 2010, which revealed Mr. Cooley had been arrested on March 
17, 2010, in Lucedale, Mississippi and charged with four counts of 
arson. The FBI record also revealed that the arson charges had been 
bound over to a grand jury in Mississippi, and were pending at the time 
Mr. Cooley completed the PHQ. The licensee's access authorization staff 
questioned Mr. Cooley about the failure to list the arrest and charges 
on the PHQ. Mr. Cooley explained his lawyer said there was no need to 
list the arrest because the charges were dismissed. The licensee's 
access staff accepted this explanation and asked Mr. Cooley to provide 
a document showing the charges were dismissed. Mr. Cooley fabricated a 
document that falsely stated the arson charges had been dismissed and 
he submitted it to the licensee's access authorization staff. The 
access authorization staff reviewed and adjudicated the forged document 
and found it acceptable. Mr. Cooley was granted the UAA to the V. C. 
Summer Nuclear Station. Mr. Cooley was employed at the site from August 
30, 2010 until March 3, 2011, when the licensee learned the arson 
charges had not been dismissed, but were still pending. Mr. Cooley was 
    During questioning by the OI, Mr. Cooley admitted he was 
deliberately untruthful when answering ``no'' to the criminal history 
question in the PHQ, and admitted to deliberately fabricating the court 
record to conceal potentially disqualifying information.
    In a letter dated June 5, 2013, the NRC provided Mr. Cooley the 
results of the OI investigation. The letter informed Mr. Cooley the NRC 
was considering escalated enforcement action against him for: (1) The 
deliberate failure to disclose an arrest for arson in the PHQ criminal 
history, information that was necessary for access staff to consider in 
making determinations regarding his trustworthiness and reliability, in 
apparent violation of 10 CFR 73.56(d)(2); and (2) the deliberate 
submittal of information he knew to be incomplete or inaccurate, in 
apparent violation of the requirements of 10 CFR 50.5(a)(2). 
Specifically, to support his assertion that arson charges had been 
dismissed, Mr. Cooley submitted a forged document dated September 14, 
2010, that falsely stated arson charges had been dismissed by a 
Mississippi county court. At the time the document was submitted to the 
licensee's access authorization staff, the arson charges were pending. 
This information was material because it formed the basis for the 
licensee's determination that Mr. Cooley was trustworthy, reliable, and 
suitable for the granting of UAA. The NRC regulations at 10 CFR 
73.56(c) require that licensees provide high assurance that individuals 
granted unescorted access are trustworthy and reliable, such that they 
do not constitute an unreasonable risk to public health and safety, or 
the common defense and security, including the potential to commit 
radiological sabotage.
    The NRC's letter dated June 5, 2013, offered Mr. Cooley a choice to 
respond to the apparent violations within 30 days of the date of that 
letter, to attend a Predecisional Enforcement Conference, or to request 
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and the use of mediation to 
resolve any possible disagreement over: (1) Whether the violation 
occurred; and (2) the appropriate enforcement action. During a 
telephone conversation with the NRC's representatives on June 14, 2013, 
Mr. Cooley stated that he did not intend to provide a written response 
or request a Predecisional Enforcement Conference or ADR.


    Based on the above, the NRC has concluded that Mr. Michael P. 
Cooley, a former Environmental Health and Safety Specialist for Shaw, 
Stone & Webster (Shaw) at South Carolina Electric & Gas Company's 
Virgil C. Summer Nuclear Station, engaged in deliberate misconduct that 
resulted in a violation of the requirements at 10 CFR 73.56(d)(2). In 
addition, Mr. Cooley deliberately submitted to the licensee information 
that he knew to be incomplete or inaccurate in some respect material to 
the NRC, in violation of the NRC regulations at 10 CFR 50.5(a)(2). Mr. 
Cooley's deliberate misconduct put the License in violation of 10 CFR 
73.56 and 10 CFR 50.9.
    The NRC must be able to rely on a licensee, its employees, and 
contractors to comply with the NRC's requirements, including the 
requirement that information provided to the NRC be complete and 
accurate in all material respects. Mr. Cooley's misstatements on his 
PHQ and his preparation and submission of a fabricated court document 
caused the licensee to violate 10 CFR 73.56(d)(2) and 10 CFR 50.9. Mr. 
Cooley's deliberate misconduct raises serious doubt as to whether he 
can be relied upon to comply with the NRC's regulatory requirements and 
to provide complete and accurate information to the NRC.
    Consequently, I lack reasonable assurance that licensed activities 
can be conducted in compliance with Commission requirements and that 
the health and safety of the public will be protected, if Mr. Cooley 
were permitted to be involved in NRC-licensed activities. Therefore, 
the public health and safety, and the common defense and security of 
the nation require that Mr. Cooley be prohibited from any involvement 
in NRC-licensed activities for a period of 5 years following the 
effective date of this Order. Additionally, Mr. Cooley is required to 
notify the NRC if he is employed in NRC-licensed activities following 
the 5-year prohibition period; this restriction is for a period of 1 


    Accordingly, pursuant to Sections 103, 161b, 161i, 161o, 182 and 
186 of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended, and the Commission's 
regulations in 10 CFR 2.202, 10 CFR 50.5, and 10 CFR 150.20, it is 
hereby ordered, effective immediately, that:
    1. Mr. Cooley is prohibited for a period of 5 years, from the 
effective date of this Order, from engaging in NRC-licensed activities. 

[[Page 14750]]

activities are activities conducted pursuant to a specific or general 
license issued by the NRC, including, but not limited to, activities of 
Agreement State licensees conducted pursuant to the authority granted 
by 10 CFR 150.20.
    2. This Order shall be effective 30 days following its issuance and 
shall remain in effect for a period of 5 years.
    3. If Mr. Cooley is currently involved with NRC-licensed 
activities, he must immediately cease those activities, and inform the 
NRC of the name, address and telephone number of his employer, and 
provide a copy of this Order to the employer.
    4. For a period of 1 year after the 5-year period of prohibition 
has expired, Mr. Cooley shall, within 30 days of acceptance of his 
first employment offer involving NRC-licensed activities, or his 
becoming involved in NRC-licensed activities, as defined in Paragraph 
IV.1, provide notice to the Director, Office of Enforcement, U.S. 
Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001, of the name, 
address, and telephone number of the employer or the entity where he is 
or will be involved in NRC-licensed activities. In the notification, 
Mr. Cooley shall include a statement of his commitment to compliance 
with regulatory requirements and the basis for why the Commission 
should have confidence that he will now comply with the applicable 
NRC's requirements.
    The Director, Office of Enforcement, or designee, may, in writing, 
relax or rescind any of the above conditions upon demonstration by Mr. 
Cooley of good cause.


    Mr. Michael P. Cooley is not required to respond to this Order; 
however, if he chooses to respond, he must submit a written answer to 
this Order under oath or affirmation within 30 days of issuance in 
accordance with 10 CFR 2.202.
    Any person adversely affected by this Order may submit a written 
answer to this Order within 30 days of its issuance. In addition, Mr. 
Cooley, and any other person adversely affected by this Order, may 
request a hearing on this Order within 30 days of its issuance date. 
Where good cause is shown, consideration will be given to extending the 
time to answer or request a hearing. A request for extension of time 
must be made in writing to the Director, Office of Enforcement, U.S. 
Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001 and include a 
statement of good cause for the extension.
    All documents filed in NRC adjudicatory proceedings, including a 
request for hearing, a petition for leave to intervene, any motion or 
other document filed in the proceeding prior to the submission of a 
request for hearing or petition to intervene, and documents filed by 
interested governmental entities participating under 10 CFR 2.315(c), 
must be filed in accordance with the NRC's E-Filing rule (72 FR 49139; 
August 28, 2007). The E-Filing process requires participants to submit 
and serve all adjudicatory documents over the internet, or in some 
cases to mail copies on electronic storage media. Participants may not 
submit paper copies of their filings unless they seek an exemption in 
accordance with the procedures described below.
    To comply with the procedural requirements of E-Filing, at least 10 
days prior to the filing deadline, the participant should contact the 
Office of the Secretary by email at [email protected], or by 
telephone at 301-415-1677, to (1) request a digital identification (ID) 
certificate, which allows the participant (or its counsel or 
representative) to digitally sign documents and access the E-Submittal 
server for any proceeding in which it is participating; and (2) advise 
the Secretary that the participant will be submitting a request or 
petition for hearing (even in instances in which the participant, or 
its counsel or representative, already holds an NRC-issued digital ID 
certificate). Based upon this information, the Secretary will establish 
an electronic docket for the hearing in this proceeding if the 
Secretary has not already established an electronic docket.
    Information about applying for a digital ID certificate is 
available on the NRC's public Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/site-help/e-submittals/apply-certificates.html. System requirements for accessing 
the E-Submittal server are detailed in the NRC's ``Guidance for 
Electronic Submission,'' which is available on the NRC's public Web 
site at http://www.nrc.gov/site-help/e-submittals.html. Participants 
may attempt to use other software not listed on the Web site, but 
should note that the NRC's E-Filing system does not support unlisted 
software, and the NRC Meta System Help Desk will not be able to offer 
assistance in using unlisted software.
    If a participant is electronically submitting a document to the NRC 
in accordance with the E-Filing rule, the participant must file the 
document using the NRC's online, Web-based submission form. In order to 
serve documents through the Electronic Information Exchange System, 
users will be required to install a Web browser plug-in from the NRC's 
public Web site. Further information on the Web-based submission form, 
including the installation of the Web browser plug-in, is available on 
the NRC's public Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/site-help/e-submittals.html.
    Once a participant has obtained a digital ID certificate and a 
docket has been created, the participant can then submit a request for 
hearing or petition for leave to intervene. Submissions should be in 
Portable Document Format (PDF) in accordance with NRC guidance 
available on the NRC's public Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/site-help/e-submittals.html. A filing is considered complete at the time the 
documents are submitted through the NRC's E-Filing system. To be 
timely, an electronic filing must be submitted to the E-Filing system 
no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the due date. Upon receipt of 
a transmission, the E-Filing system time-stamps the document and sends 
the submitter an email notice confirming receipt of the document. The 
E-Filing system also distributes an email notice that provides access 
to the document to the NRC's Office of the General Counsel and any 
others who have advised the Office of the Secretary that they wish to 
participate in the proceeding, so that the filer need not serve the 
documents on those participants separately. Therefore, applicants and 
other participants (or their counsel or representative) must apply for 
and receive a digital ID certificate before a hearing request or 
petition to intervene is filed so that they can obtain access to the 
document via the E-Filing system.
    A person filing electronically using the NRC's adjudicatory E-
Filing system may seek assistance by contacting the NRC's Meta System 
Help Desk through the ``Contact Us'' link located on the NRC's public 
Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/site-help/e-submittals.html, by email to 
[email protected], or by a toll-free call to 1-866-672-7640. The 
NRC Meta System Help Desk is available between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., 
Eastern Time, Monday through Friday, excluding government holidays.
    Participants who believe that they have a good cause for not 
submitting documents electronically must file an exemption request, in 
accordance with 10 CFR 2.302(g), with their initial paper filing 
requesting authorization to continue to submit documents in paper 
format. Such filings must be submitted by: (1) First class mail 
addressed to the Office of the Secretary of the

[[Page 14751]]

Commission, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-
0001, Attention: Rulemaking and Adjudications Staff; or (2) courier, 
express mail, or expedited delivery service to the Office of the 
Secretary, Sixteenth Floor, One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville 
Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852, Attention: Rulemaking and 
Adjudications Staff. Participants filing a document in this manner are 
responsible for serving the document on all other participants. Filing 
is considered complete by first-class mail as of the time of deposit in 
the mail, or by courier, express mail, or expedited delivery service 
upon depositing the document with the provider of the service. A 
presiding officer, having granted an exemption request from using E-
Filing, may require a participant or party to use E-Filing if the 
presiding officer subsequently determines that the reason for granting 
the exemption from use of E-Filing no longer exists.
    Documents submitted in adjudicatory proceedings will appear in the 
NRC electronic hearing docket, which is available to the public at 
http://ehd1.nrc.gov/ehd/, unless excluded pursuant to an order of the 
Commission or the presiding officer. Participants are requested not to 
include personal privacy information, such as social security numbers, 
home addresses, or home phone numbers in their filings, unless an NRC 
regulation or other law requires submission of such information. With 
respect to copyrighted works, participants are requested not to include 
copyrighted materials in their submission, except for limited excerpts 
that serve the purpose of the adjudicatory filings and constitute a 
Fair Use application.
    If a person other than Mr. Cooley requests a hearing, that person 
shall set forth with particularity the manner in which his/her interest 
is adversely affected by this Order and shall address the criteria set 
forth in 10 CFR 2.309(d) and (f).
    If a hearing is requested by a licensee or a person whose interest 
is adversely affected, the Commission will issue an Order designating 
the time and place of any hearings. If a hearing is held, the issue to 
be considered at such hearing shall be whether this Order should be 
sustained. In the absence of any request for hearing, or written 
approval of an extension of time in which to request a hearing, the 
provisions specified in Section IV above shall be final 30 days from 
the issuance date without further order or proceedings. If an extension 
of time for requesting a hearing has been approved, the provisions 
specified in Section IV shall be final when the extension expires if a 
hearing request has not been received.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 10th day of March 2014.
    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Roy P. Zimmerman,
Director, Office of Enforcement.
[FR Doc. 2014-05794 Filed 3-14-14; 8:45 am]