The word on the street, as reflected in an Aug. 28 editorial entitled NRC should respond to the Diablo report” and a Sept. 1 “Close Diablo Canyon” letter, is that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has not answered one of its current employee’s differing professional opinion and is hiding its contents. This is incorrect.
A differing professional opinion (DPO) is one of many paths the NRC encourages staff to use for officially documenting their differing views, including an open door policy and a non-concurrence process.
Consistent with our guidance for implementing the DPO process, a decision was rendered by the nuclear reactor regulation director to the submitter, Michael Peck, and he appealed the decision, which resulted in additional review from the executive director of operations.
Once that review is complete and a decision is rendered, a summary will be posted on the NRC public website as part of the Commission’s Weekly Information Report. In addition, if the submitter asks to have the documents publically released, the summary will include a link to the DPO case file (subject to appropriate redactions, according to agency requirements).
This process is not yet complete and there is no final decision. However, a document purporting to be Mr. Peck’s DPO was published by interest groups. We do not release predecisional documents and we protect those who want to challenge an agency decision. This document did not come from the NRC. To be clear, the NRC is following its rules related to DPOs.
NRC strives to establish and maintain an open collaborative work environment that encourages all employees and contractors to promptly speak up and share concerns and differing views without fear of negative consequences. It is a healthy and necessary part of the regulatory process and the agency has an obligation to protect the individuals submitting nonconcurrences and DPOs.