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10 C.F.R. 820: Procedural Rules for DOE Nuclear Activities

Stakeholders: DOE employees

Scope: 10 C.F.R. 820 outlines the appropriate conduct of persons involved in DOE nuclear activities. The ultimate goal of 10 C.F.R. 820 is to ensure that all persons subject to the requirements enumerated in the DOE Nuclear Safety Requirements are in compliance with said requirements.

10 C.F.R. 820 recognizes the provisions of the DOE Whistleblower Rule (10 CFR Part 708, DOE Contractor Employee Protection Program). The intent is to impose an affirmative duty to protect worker safety at DOE nuclear facilities by subjecting chilling effect reprisals against contractor employees to PAAA enforcement. Clearly, other sanctions might be available to protect the whistleblower, such as through other DOE or Department of Labor remedial actions against the employer, or judicial actions brought under whistleblower statutes or common-law tort principles.

  •  Within 10 C.F.R. 820, Subpart B outlines the procedures for investigating, reporting, and remedying violations of the DOE Nuclear Safety Requirements
    • If the Director, an employee, or any other vested party becomes aware of DOE Nuclear Safety Requirements violations that Director may initiate an investigation.
    • Any person may request that the Director initiate an investigation.
    • Information garnered during said investigation will not be disclosed to the public unless the Director authorizes that disclosure.
    • If an investigation proves that further action is unwarranted the Director may close the investigation.
    • The Director may convene an informal conference to discuss possible violations of Atomic Energy Act of 1954 or a DOE Nuclear Safety Requirement.
    • At any time the DOE may issue a Consent Order in which neither party needs to admit to violating the Act/a DOE requirement but must agree to the DOE determined remedies.
  • Within 10 C.F.R. 820, Subpart C declares that Compliance Orders are to be issued to rectify and/or penalize violations of the Act, a Nuclear Statute, or DOE Nuclear Safety Requirements:
    • The Secretary may issue a Compliance Order that identifies current/potential violations of the Act, a Nuclear Statute, or DOE Nuclear Safety Requirements, mandate a remedy, and states the reason for said remedy.
    • A Compliance Order is final and constitutes and immediately enforceable DOE Nuclear Safety Requirement.
    • The recipient of the Compliance Order may, within fifteen days of issuance, ask the Secretary to rescind or modify the Order.
  • Subpart F of 10 C.F.R. 820 asserts that if a person violates the Act or DOE Nuclear Safety Requirements, he/she shall be subject to criminal sanctions and the matter may be referred to the Attorney General.
  • Appendix A to 10 C.F.R. 820 seeks to:
    • Ensure compliance by DOE contractors to DOE Nuclear Safety Requirements
    • Provide positive incentives for DOE contractors intended to encourage;
      • Timely identification of nuclear deficiencies;
      • Prompt and complete reporting of such deficiencies;
      • Root cause analysis of deficiencies;
      • Prompt correction of deficiencies; and,
      • Identification of modification in practices/facilities that can improve public and employee safety.

10 C.F.R. 820