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Jimmy Carter: Nuclear Regulatory Commission Message to the Congress Transmitting Reorganization Plan No. 1 of 1980.
Jimmy
Jimmy Carter
Nuclear Regulatory Commission Message to the Congress Transmitting Reorganization Plan No. 1 of 1980.
March 27, 1980
Public Papers of the Presidents
Jimmy Carter<br>1980-81: Book I
Jimmy Carter
1980-81: Book I
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To the Congress of the United States:

I am submitting herewith to the Congress Reorganization Plan No. 1 of 1980, under authority vested in me by the Reorganization Act of 1977 (Chapter 9 of Title 5 of the United States Code). The Plan is designed to strengthen management of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in order to foster safety in all of the agency's activities.

The need for more effective management of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has been amply demonstrated over the past year. The accident at Three Mile Island one year ago revealed serious shortcomings in the agency's ability to respond effectively during a crisis. The lessons learned from that accident go beyond crisis management, however. They provide the impetus for improving the effectiveness of all aspects of the government regulation of nuclear energy.

In my statement of December 7, 1979, I responded to the recommendations of my Commission on the Accident at Three Mile Island and set forth steps now being taken to address those recommendations. I stated that I would send to Congress a Reorganization Plan to strengthen the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's ability to regulate nuclear safety. I am submitting that Plan today.

The Plan clarifies the duties of the Chairman as principal executive officer. In addition to directing the day-to-day operations of the agency, the Chairman would take charge of the Commission's response to nuclear emergencies and, as principal executive officer, would be guided by Commission policy and subject to Commission oversight.

MANAGEMENT PROBLEMS

Intensive investigations undertaken since the Three Mile Island accident have revealed management problems at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. These problems must be rectified if the Commission is to be a strong and effective safety regulator.

—My Commission, called the Kemeny Commission after its Chairman, Dr. John Kemeny, concluded that the underlying problem at Three Mile Island stemmed not from deficient equipment but rather from compounded human failures. This included the inability of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to pursue its safety mission effectively in view of its existing management policies and practices. The Kemeny Commission reported a lack of "closure" in the system to ensure that safety issues are raised, analyzed and resolved. Kemeny Commission members also concluded that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission relies too heavily on licensing, and pays insufficient attention to ensuring the safety of plants once they are in operation.

—During the course of its investigation, the Kemeny Commission found serious managerial problems at the top of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. It noted that the Commissioners and the Chairman are unclear as to their respective roles. Uncertain, diffuse leadership of this kind leads to highly compartmentalized offices that operate with little or no effective guidance and little coordination.

—A recently completed independent study authorized and funded by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission itself also found serious fault with the Commission's management and called for a major organizational overhaul. The report states that there is no authoritative manager but, instead, five equally responsible Commissioners who deal individually with office directors who, in turn, head their own "Independent fiefdoms."

—Likewise, a recent report of the General Accounting Office notes the failure of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to define either the authority of the Chairman or that of the Executive Director for Operations. The staff lacks policy guidance and top management leadership to set priorities and resolve safety issues. There are unreasonable delays in developing policies to guide the licensing and enforcement activities of the agency.

The central theme in all three of these studies is the failure of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to provide unified leadership and consistent direction of the agency's activities. The present statutes contain conflicting and ambiguous provisions for managing the agency. Important corrective actions cannot or will not be taken by the Commission until the laws are changed. Failure to do so constitutes a continuing nuclear safety hazard.

The present Reorganization Plan would improve the effectiveness of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission by giving the Chairman the powers he needs to ensure efficient and coherent management in a manner that preserves, in fact enhances, the commission form of organization.

COMMISSION

Under the proposed Plan, the Commission would continue to be responsible for policy formulation, rulemaking and adjudication as functions which should have collegial deliberation. In addition, the Commission would review and approve proposals by the Chairman concerning key management actions such as personnel decisions affecting top positions which directly support Commission functions, the annual budget, and major staff reorganizations. In carrying out its role, the Commission would have the direct assistance of several Commission-level offices as well as the licensing board, the appeal panel, and the Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards. The Plan would not alter the present arrangement whereby the Commission, acting on majority vote, represents the ultimate authority of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and sets the framework within which the Chairman is to operate.

CHAIRMAN

Under the Plan, the Chairman would act as the principal executive officer and spokesman for the Commission. To accomplish this, those functions of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission not retained by the Commission would be vested in the Chairman, who is currently coequal with the Commissioners in .all decisions and actions. The Chairman would be authorized to make appointments, on his own authority, to all positions not specified for Commission approval and would be responsible to the Commission for assuring staff support by the operating offices in meeting the needs of the Commission. The Executive Director for Operations would report directly to and receive his authority from the Chairman. Heads of operating offices would also report to the Chairman or, by delegation, to the Executive Director for Operations. Office heads would also be authorized to communicate directly with members of the Commission whenever an office head believed critical safety issues were not being addressed.

EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission's ability to respond decisively and responsibly to any nuclear emergency must be fully ensured in advance. Experience has shown that the Commission as a whole cannot deal expeditiously with emergencies or communicate in a clear, unified voice to civil authorities or to the public. But present law prevents the Commission from delegating its emergency authority to one of its members. The Plan would correct this situation by specifically authorizing the Chairman to act for the Commission in an emergency. In order to ensure flexibility, the Chairman would be permitted to delegate his authority to deal with a particular emergency to any other Commissioner. Plans for dealing with various contingencies would be approved by the Commission in advance. The Commission would also receive a report from the Chairman or his designee describing the management of the emergency once it was over.

ACTIONS NOT INCLUDED IN THIS PLAN

Not included in this Plan are two actions that I support in principle but that need not or cannot be accomplished by means of a Reorganization Plan. First the Commission, as part of its implementation of this reorganization, can and should establish an internal entity to help oversee the performance of the agency as it operates under the Chairman's direction. This action does not require a Reorganization Plan. Second, I have consistently favored funding assistance to intervenors in regulatory proceedings. This is particularly important in the case of nuclear safety regulation. I therefore encourage the Commission to include consideration of intervenor funding as part of its review and upgrading of the licensing process, as called for by the Kemeny Commission. I have also requested Congress to appropriate funds for this purpose. This activity cannot be authorized by a Reorganization Plan.

NO ADDED COSTS

This proposed realignment and clarification of responsibilities would not result in an increase or decrease of expenditures. But placing management responsibilities in the Chairman would result in greater attention to developing and implementing nuclear safety policies and to strict enforcement of the terms of licenses granted by the Commission.

Each of the provisions of this proposed reorganization would also accomplish one or more of the purposes set forth in 5 U.S.C. 901(a). No statutory functions would be abolished by the Plan; rather they would be consolidated or reassigned in order to improve management, delivery of services, execution of the law, and overall operational efficiency and effectiveness of the Commission:

By Executive Order No. 12202, dated March 18, 1980, I established a Nuclear Safety Oversight Committee to advise me of progress being made by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the nuclear industry, and others in improving nuclear safety. I am confident that the present Reorganization Plan, together with the other steps that have been or are being taken by this Administration and by others, will greatly advance the goal of nuclear safety. It would permit the Commission and the American people to hold one individual-the Chairman—accountable for implementation of the Commission's policies through effective management of the Commission staff. Freed of management and administrative details, the Commission could then concentrate on the purpose for which that collegial body was created—to deliberate on the formulation of policy and rules to govern nuclear safety and to decide or oversee disposition of individual cases.

JIMMY CARTER
The White House,
March 27, 1980.

REORGANIZATION PLAN No.1 OF 1980

Prepared by the President and submitted to the Senate and the House of Representatives in Congress assembled March 27, 1980, pursuant to the provisions of chapter 9 of title 5 of the United States Code.

NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

SECTION 1. (a) Those functions of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, hereinafter referred to as the "Commission", concerned with:
(1) policy formulation;
(2) rulemaking, as defined in section 553 of title 5 of the United States Code;
(3) adjudications, as defined in section 551 (6) and (7) of title 5 of the United States Code;
shall remain vested in the Commission. The performance of any portion of those functions may be delegated by the Commission to a member of the Commission, including the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, hereinafter referred to as the "Chairman", and to the staff through the Chairman.

(b)(1) With respect to the following officers or successor officers duly established by statute or by the Commission; the Chairman shall initiate the appointment, subject to the approval of the Commission; and the Chairman or a member of the Commission may initiate an action for removal, subject to the approval of the Commission:
(i) Director of Nuclear Reactor Regulation,
(ii) Director of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards,
(iii) General Counsel,
(iv) Secretary of the Commission,
(v) Director of the Office of Policy Evaluation,
(vi) Director of the Office of Inspector and Auditor,
(vii) Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Members of the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board Panel,
(viii) Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Members of the Atomic Safety and Licensing Appeal Panel.

(2) The Chairman shall also initiate the appointment of the Members of the Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards which shall take effect upon the approval of the Commission. The provisions for appointment of the Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards and the term of the members shall not be affected by the provisions of this Reorganization Plan.

(c) The Commission shall act as provided by subsection 201(a)(1) of the Energy Reorganization Act of 1974, as amended (43 U.S.C. 5841 (a) (1)) solely in the direct performance of functions of the Commission, described in subsections (a) and (b) of this section, and only when such functions have not been delegated pursuant to subsection (a) of this section.

(d) Each member of the Commission shall continue to appoint, remove and supervise the personnel employed in his or her immediate office.
SECTION 2. (a) All other functions of the Commission, not specified by section 1 of this Reorganization Plan, are hereby transferred to the Chairman. The Chairman, in the performance of such functions, shall be the principal executive officer and shall:
(1) exercise all of the executive and administrative functions of the Commission, including the appointive powers of the Chairman as provided by this Plan and the supervision of personnel employed under the Commission;

(2) distribute business among such personnel and among administrative units and offices of the Commission;
(3) determine the use and expenditure of funds of the Commission; and
(4) prepare and submit to the Commission for its consideration and approval-

(i) proposals for the reorganization of the major offices within the Commission;

(ii) the budget estimate for the Commission; and
(iii) the proposed distribution of appropriated funds according to major programs and purposes.

The Chairman as principal executive officer shall be governed by the general policies of the Commission and by such regulatory decisions, findings, and determinations, including those for reorganization proposals, budget revisions and distribution of appropriated funds, as the Commission may by law, including this Plan, be authorized to make.

(b) The Chairman shall be responsible [or assuring that the staff under the Chairman's direction is responsive to the requirements of the Commission in the performance of the functions continued in the Commission by section 1 of this Reorganization Plan.

(c) There is hereby transferred to the Chairman the function of appointing and removing, without any further action by the Commission, all officers and employees under the Commission other than those whose appointment and removal are specifically provided for by subsections I (b) and (d) of this Reorganization Plan. In exercising such function, the Chairman shall consult with other members of the Commission as the Chairman deems appropriate.

(d) The Chairman shall delegate the function of appointing, removing, and supervising the staff of the following offices or successor offices to the respective head of such offices: General Counsel, Secretary of the Commission, Office of Policy Evaluation, Office of Inspector and Auditor. The Chairman shall delegate the function of appointing, removing and supervising the staff of the following panels and committee to the respective Chairman thereof: Atomic Safety and Licensing Board Panel, Atomic Safety and Licensing Appeal Panel and Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards.

SECTION 3. (a) Notwithstanding section 1 of this Reorganization Plan, there are hereby transferred to the Chairman all the functions vested in the Commission pertaining to an emergency at a particular facility or concerning materials licensed or regulated by the Commission, including the functions of declaring, responding, issuing orders, determining specific policies, advising the civil authorities and the public, directing and coordinating actions relative to such emergency incident.

(b) The Chairman may delegate the authority to perform such emergency functions, in whole or in part, to any of the other members of the Commission. Such authority may also be delegated or redelegated, in whole or in part, to the staff of the Commission.

(c) In acting under this section, the Chairman, or other member of the Commission delegated authority under subsection (b), shall conform to the policy guidelines of the Commission. To the maximum extent possible under the emergency conditions, the Chairman or other member of the Commission delegated authority under subsection (b) shall inform the Commission of actions taken relative to the emergency.

(d) Following the conclusion of the emergency, the Chairman, or the member of the Commission delegated the emergency functions under subsection (b), shall render a complete and timely report to the Commission on the actions taken during the emergency.

SECTION 4. (a) The Chairman may make such delegations and provide for such reporting as the Chairman deems necessary. The head of any component organization within the Commission may communicate directly to the Commission, or to any member of the Commission, whenever in the view of such officer, a critical problem of public health and safety or common defense and security is not being properly addressed.

(b) The Executive Director for Operations shall report to the Chairman and shall be responsible for such functions as the Chairman shall direct.

(c) The functions of the Directors of Nuclear Reactor Regulation, Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards, and Nuclear Regulatory Research of reporting directly to the Commission is hereby transferred so that such officers report to the Chairman, or as directed by the Chairman. The function of receiving such reports is hereby transferred from the Commission to the Chairman.

(d) The heads of the Commission level offices or successor offices, of General Counsel, Secretary to the Commission, Office of Policy Evaluation, Office of Inspector and Auditor, the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board Panel and Appeal Panel, and Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards shall continue to report directly to the Commission and the Commission shall continue to receive such reports.

SECTION 5. The provisions of this Reorganization Plan shall take effect October 1, 1980, or at such earlier time or times as the President shall specify, but no sooner than the earliest time allowable under section 905 of title 5 of the United States Code.



Citation: Jimmy Carter: "Nuclear Regulatory Commission Message to the Congress Transmitting Reorganization Plan No. 1 of 1980. ," March 27, 1980. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=33189.
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