The HRP is a security and safety reliability program designed to ensure that individuals who occupy positions affording access to certain materials, nuclear explosive devices, facilities, and programs meet the highest standards of reliability and physical and mental suitability. This objective is accomplished through a system of continuous evaluation that identifies individuals whose judgment and reliability may be impaired by physical or mental/personality disorders, alcohol abuse, use of illegal drugs, the abuse of legal drugs or other substances, or any other condition or circumstance that may be of a security or safety concern.


HRP certification is required for individuals assigned to or applying for a position that:

  • Affords access to Category I Special Nuclear Materials (SNM) or has responsibility for transporting or protecting Category I quantities of SNM.
  • Involves nuclear explosive duties or has responsibility for working with, protecting, or transporting nuclear explosives, nuclear devices, or selected components.
  • Affords access to information concerning vulnerabilities in protective systems when transporting nuclear explosives, nuclear devices, selected components, or Category I quantities of SNM.

A position not listed above, which affords the potential to significantly affect national security or cause unacceptable damage, can be nominated as an HRP position. Before such nomination, the Manager or the HRP management official must analyze the risks the position poses for the particular operational program. If the analysis shows that more restrictive physical, administrative, or other controls could be implemented that would prevent the position from being designated an HRP position, those controls will be implemented if practical.

All HRP nominations must be approved by the NNSA Administrator, the Chief Health, Safety and Security Officer, or the appropriate Lead Program Secretarial Officer.


DOE Q security clearance (access authorization). A type of security clearance granted by DOE indicating the recipient is approved for access to the following levels of classified matter on a need-to-know basis: Top Secret, Secret, and Confidential Restricted Data, National Security Information, and Formerly Restricted Data.

Questionnaire for National Security Positions (QNSP), Part 2. The annual submission of this information enables DOE Personnel Security to update the personnel security file, which is reviewed annually to ensure that security concerns are identified.

Signed releases, acknowledgments, and waivers. You must review and sign documents to facilitate the collection and dissemination of information and the performance of medical assessments and drug and alcohol testing.

Completion of HRP instruction. HRP instruction must be completed for initial certification and annual recertification. The instruction includes the following elements:

  • Objectives of the HRP
  • The role and responsibilities of each HRP-certified individual including:
    • Recognizing and responding to behavioral change and aberrant or unusual behavior that may result in a risk to national security or nuclear explosive safety
    • Recognizing and reporting security concerns
    • Reporting prescription drug use
  • Requirements for returning to work after sick leave
  • The HRP continuous evaluation process
  • For those who have nuclear explosive responsibilities, a detailed explanation of duties and safety requirements

Counterintelligence (CI) evaluation. Individuals who occupy certain HRP positions may be required to successfully complete a CI evaluation; however, it is no longer a general requirement because of revisions to 10 CFR Part 709, Counterintelligence Evaluation Program. Under the revised regulation, each site will designate positions in accordance with the regulation’s criteria.

Completion of reviews, evaluations, and assessments

  • Supervisory review. Each supervisor of an HRP candidate or HRP-certified individual must conduct an initial and annual review to evaluate information (including security concerns) relevant to that individual’s suitability to perform HRP tasks in a reliable and safe manner.
  • Medical assessment. The medical assessment is performed for initial certification and then annually for recertification. A medical assessment may be performed more often if required by the site occupational medical director (SOMD). The designated physician, under the supervision of the SOMD, is responsible for the medical assessment of HRP candidates and HRP-certified individuals. In performing this responsibility, the designated physician or the SOMD must integrate the medical evaluation, available test results, the psychological evaluation, a review of current legal drug use, and any other relevant information. This information is used to determine if a safety or security reliability concern exists and if the individual is medically qualified for HRP duties.
    • Psychological evaluation. As part of the medical assessment, a psychological evaluation must be conducted for initial HRP certification. This evaluation consists of a psychological assessment (test) and a semi-structured interview. For recertification, the evaluation consists of a semi-structured interview, but a psychological test may also be conducted if warranted. Every third year, the psychological evaluation includes a psychological test.
  • Management evaluation. The HRP management official considers the results of the supervisory review, medical assessment, drug and alcohol test results, and any other information relating to an individual’s reliability and trustworthiness, and makes a recommendation regarding certification.
  • DOE personnel security review. A personnel security specialist will perform a personnel security file review upon receiving the individual’s supervisory review, medical assessment, and management evaluation and recommendation. Security concerns identified at any stage of the certification process will be evaluated and resolved in accordance with DOE regulations for access to classified matter or special nuclear materials in 10 CFR Part 710.

Drug and alcohol testing:

  • Initial. All HRP candidates will be tested for the use of alcohol and illegal drugs before HRP certification is granted.
  • Random drug test. HRP-certified individuals are selected randomly, at least once in every 12-month period, for unscheduled and unannounced testing for the presence of illegal drugs. A confirmed positive drug test is considered a security concern that will result in immediate removal from HRP duties and adjudication under the criteria and guidelines found in 10 CFR Part 710.
  • Random alcohol test. HRP-certified individuals are selected randomly, at least once in every 12-month period, for unscheduled and unannounced testing for the presence of alcohol. A positive test is an alcohol concentration of 0.02 or greater on a confirmatory test. A person who tests positive will be sent home and not be allowed to perform HRP duties for 24 hours. The management official will be notified.

Other requirements:

  • No use of a hallucinogen (LSD) in the preceding five years and no experience of flashback resulting from the use of LSD more than five years before applying for certification or recertification.
  • Individuals performing nuclear explosive duties, and others in designated positions, are prohibited from consuming alcohol within an eight-hour period preceding scheduled work.


You must receive HRP certification before performing HRP duties and then be recertified every 12 months. The table below details the interval at which each requirement is performed.

QNSP, Part 2Completed for initial HRP certification; annually for recertification.
Supervisory reviewCompleted for initial HRP certification; annually for recertification.
Medical assessmentCompleted for initial HRP certification; annually for recertification.
Psychological evaluationCompleted for initial HRP certification; annually for recertification.
Semi-structured interview—initially, then annually.
Psychological test—initially, then every 3 years.
Management evaluationCompleted for initial HRP certification; annually for recertification.
Drug test;
Alcohol test
Completed for initial HRP certification and then, for recertification, on a random basis at least once every 12 months from the last test.
DOE personnel security reviewCompleted for initial HRP certification; annually for recertification.
HRP instructionCompleted for initial HRP certification; annually for recertification.


As an HRP-certified individual, you have several responsibilities. You must:

  • Read, sign, and submit HRP releases, acknowledgments, and waivers to facilitate the collection and dissemination of information and the performance of medical examinations and drug and alcohol tests.
  • Provide full, frank, and truthful answers to relevant and material questions and, when requested, furnish or authorize others to furnish information that DOE deems pertinent to reaching a decision on HRP certification or recertification.
  • Notify the designated physician, the designated psychologist, or the SOMD immediately of a physical or mental condition that requires medication or treatment.
  • Report reliability concerns, including any observed or reported behavior or condition of another HRP-certified individual, to a supervisor, the designated physician, the designated psychologist, the SOMD, or the HRP management official.
  • If you have any behavior or condition that may affect your ability to perform your HRP duties, you must make a report to your supervisor, the designated physician, the designated psychologist, the SOMD, or the HRP management official.

You are also required to:

  • Report in person to the designated physician, the designated psychologist, or the SOMD to obtain a written recommendation to return to work if you have been on sick leave for 5 or more consecutive days (or an equivalent amount of time).
  • Report for drug or alcohol testing if required following involvement in an incident, unsafe practice, or an occurrence, or if there is a reasonable suspicion that you may be impaired.

Can HRP certification be transferred?

An individual's HRP certification may be transferred to another site. However, before the individual is allowed to perform HRP duties at the new site, it must be verified that the individual is currently HRP certified and is transferring into a designated HRP position. Additionally, the individual must be provided site-specific instruction and incorporated into the new site’s alcohol and drug testing program. It must also be ensured that the 12-month time period for HRP requirements that was established at the prior site is not exceeded.

Temporary assignment to an HRP position at another site requires verification that the individual is currently HRP certified and has completed all site-specific instruction. The individual is required to return to the site that maintains his or her HRP certification for recertification.


As you learned in the responsibilities section, you must report the observed or reported behavior or condition of an HRP-certified individual that could indicate a safety or security reliability concern. Simply put, a reliability concern is any behavior or condition that is unusual or out of the ordinary that could potentially affect a person’s ability to adhere to security and safety requirements.

Terms you should be familiar with are:

  • Reliability. An individual’s ability to adhere to security and safety requirements.
  • Safety concern. Any condition, practice, or violation that causes a substantial probability of physical harm, property loss, and/or environmental impact.
  • Security concern. Information regarding an HRP candidate or HRP-certified individual that may be considered derogatory under the criteria listed in 10 CFR §710.8.


  • Mental/personality or physical disorder that impairs performance
  • Conduct that warrants referral for a criminal investigation or results in arrest or conviction
  • Indication of deceitful or delinquent behavior
  • Attempted or threatened destruction of property or life
  • Suicidal tendencies or attempted suicide
  • Use of illegal drugs; abuse of legal drugs or other substances
  • Alcohol use disorder
  • Recurring financial irresponsibility
  • Irresponsibility in performing assigned duties
  • Inability to deal with stress, or the appearance of being under unusual stress
  • Failure to comply with work directives; violation of safety or security procedures
  • Hostility or aggression toward fellow workers or authority; uncontrolled anger
  • Repeated absenteeism
  • Significant behavioral changes, moodiness, depression

This list is not intended to be all-inclusive. If a behavior is not in character for a person, or if it appears the behavior could be a result of drug or alcohol abuse, stress, or serious personal problems/issues, it should be reported as a concern.

Remember to:

  • Report anything suspicious
  • Be Alert to unusual behaviors or conditions
  • Be concerned for the safety of your coworkers and the environment and for the security of the nation.


If you have a concern about an HRP worker’s physical or mental condition, behavior, or actions, immediately report it to any supervisor, the designated physician, the designated psychologist, the SOMD, or the HRP management official.


If a reasonable belief or credible evidence exists than an HRP-certified individual is not reliable, his or her supervisor must immediately do the following:

  • Require the individual to stop performing HRP duties.
  • Ensure the individual is denied both escorted and unescorted access to the HRP work areas.

Within 24 hours after taking the above actions, the supervisor must provide written notification to both the individual and the HRP management official of the reason for the actions.

Immediate removal from HRP duties is an interim, precautionary action and does not constitute a determination that the individual is not fit to perform his or her required duties. Removal is not, in itself, a cause for loss of pay, benefits, or other changes in employment status.


If removal is due to a security concern:

  • The HRP management official must notify the HRP certifying official and the applicable DOE personnel security office. The concern is investigated and adjudicated by DOE personnel security under the criteria and procedures in 10 CFR Part 710.

If removal is due to a safety concern, the HRP management official:

  • Evaluates the circumstances or information that led to the removal of the individual from HRP duties.
  • Prepares a written report of the evaluation that includes a determination of the individual’s reliability for continuing HRP certification.

If the HRP management official determines that an individual who has been temporarily removed continues to meet the requirements for certification, he or she must notify:

  • The individual’s supervisor, directing that the individual be allowed to return to HRP duties.
  • The individual.
  • The HRP certifying official.

When an individual has been temporarily removed, the certifying official* takes one of the following three actions:

  1. Reinstates, and provides a written explanation of the factual basis for the action.
  2. Continues temporary removal and directs action to resolve concerns (for example, rehabilitation). After completion of intervention, the matter will be reevaluated.
  3. Revokes certification, sending a written decision, which includes rationale for the action and the procedures for reconsideration/appeal, to the affected individual by certified mail.

* In some facilities the Manager may serve as the certifying official


If your HRP certification is revoked, you may choose one of the three following options:

  1. Take no action.
  2. Submit a written request for reconsideration, which addresses the information or situation that initiated the concern, to the Manager. The written request must be sent by certified mail within 20 working days of receiving notice of the revocation. The Manager’s decision on the request for reconsideration is final.
  3. Submit a written request for a certification review hearing to the Manager. The request must be sent by certified mail within 20 working days of receiving notice of the revocation. The Manager forwards the request to the Office of Hearings and Appeals, which will conduct a review hearing. The individual requesting the hearing has a right to appear personally, to present evidence through witnesses or by documents, and, at his or her own expense, to be represented and accompanied by counsel or any other person of his or her choosing. A transcript of the proceedings will be made. The Deputy Secretary's decision to either recertify or revoke HRP certification is final.


The Human Reliability Program

  • 10 CFR Part 712: Human Reliability Program (HRP)

Testing for alcohol

  • 49 CFR Part 40: Procedures for Transportation Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing Programs (subparts J through N regulate the alcohol testing process)

Testing for illegal drugs

  • 10 CFR Part 707: Workplace Substance Abuse Programs at DOE Sites (contractor employees)
  • DOE Order 3792.3: Drug-Free Federal Workplace Testing Implementation Program (federal employees)

Counterintelligence evaluation

  • 10 CFR Part 709: Counterintelligence Evaluation Program

Security concerns and security clearance

  • 10 CFR Part 710, Subpart A: General Criteria and Procedures for Determining Eligibility for Access to Classified Matter or Special Nuclear Material


Access means (1) A situation that may provide an individual proximity to or control over Category I special nuclear material (SNM); or (2) The proximity to a nuclear explosive and/or Category I SNM that allows the opportunity to divert, steal, tamper with, and/or damage the nuclear explosive or material in spite of any controls that have been established to prevent such unauthorized actions.

Alcohol means the intoxicating agent in beverage alcohol, ethyl alcohol, or other low molecular weight alcohol.

Alcohol abuse means consumption of any beverage, mixture, or preparation, including any medication containing alcohol, that results in impaired social or occupational functioning.

Alcohol concentration means the alcohol in a volume of breath expressed in terms of grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath as indicated by a breath test.

Alcohol use disorder means a maladaptive pattern in which a person's intake of alcohol is great enough to damage or adversely affect physical or mental health or personal, social, or occupational function; or when alcohol has become a prerequisite to normal function.

Certification means the formal action the HRP certifying official takes that permits an individual to perform HRP duties after it is determined that the individual meets the requirements for certification under this part.

Contractor means subcontractors at all tiers and any industrial, educational, commercial, or other entity, grantee, or licensee, including an employee that has executed an agreement with the Federal government for the purpose of performing under a contract, license, or other arrangement.

Designated Physician means a licensed doctor of medicine or osteopathy who has been nominated by the site occupational medical director (SOMD) and approved by the Manager or designee, with the concurrence of the Director, Office of Health and Safety, to provide professional expertise in occupational medicine for the HRP.

Designated Psychologist means a licensed Ph.D., or Psy.D., in clinical psychology who has been nominated by the SOMD and approved by the Manager or designee, with the concurrence of the Director, Office of Health and Safety, to provide professional expertise in the area of psychological assessment for the HRP.

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders means the current version of the American Psychiatric Association's manual containing definitions of psychiatric terms and diagnostic criteria of mental disorders.

Director, Office of Health and Safety means the DOE individual with responsibility for policy and quality assurance for DOE occupational medical programs.

Drug abuse means use of an illegal drug or misuse of legal drugs.

Evidential-grade breath alcohol device means a device that conforms to the model standards for an evidential breath-testing device as listed on the Conforming Products List of Evidential Breath Measurement Devices published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Flashback means an involuntary, spontaneous recurrence of some aspect of a hallucinatory experience or perceptual distortion that occurs long after taking the hallucinogen that produced the original effect; also referred to as hallucinogen persisting perception disorder.

Hallucinogen means a drug or substance that produces hallucinations, distortions in perception of sights and sounds, and disturbances in emotion, judgment, and memory.

HRP candidate means an individual being considered for assignment to an HRP position.

HRP-certified individual means an individual who has successfully completed the HRP requirements.

HRP certifying official means the Manager or the Manager's designee who certifies, recertifies, temporarily removes, reviews the circumstances of an individual's removal from an HRP position, and directs reinstatement.

HRP management official means an individual designated by the DOE or a DOE contractor, as appropriate, who has programmatic responsibility for HRP positions.

Illegal drug means a controlled substance, as specified in Schedules I through V of the Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. 811 and 812; the term does not apply to the use of a controlled substance in accordance with the terms of a valid prescription, or other uses authorized by Federal law.

Impaired or impairment means a decrease in functional capacity of a person that is caused by a physical, mental, emotional, substance abuse, or behavioral disorder.

Incident means an unplanned, undesired event that interrupts the completion of an activity and that may include property damage or injury.

Job task analysis means the formal process of defining the requirements of a position and identifying the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to effectively perform the duties of the position.

Manager means the Manager of the Chicago, Idaho, Oak Ridge, Richland, and Savannah River Operations Offices; Manager of the Pittsburgh Naval Reactors Office and the Schenectady Naval Reactors Office; Site Office Managers for Livermore, Los Alamos, Sandia, Y–12, Nevada, Pantex, Kansas City, and Savannah River; Director of the Service Center, Albuquerque; Assistant Deputy Administrator for the Office of Secure Transportation, Albuquerque; and for the Washington, DC area, the Deputy Chief for Operations, Office of Health, Safety and Security.

Material access area means a type of Security Area that is authorized to contain a Category I quantity of special nuclear material and that has specifically defined physical barriers, is located within a Protected Area, and is subject to specific access controls.

Medical assessment means an evaluation of an HRP candidate and HRP-certified individual's present health status and health risk factors by means of medical history review, job task analysis, physical examination, appropriate laboratory tests and measurements, and appropriate psychological and psychiatric evaluations.

Nuclear explosive means an assembly of fissionable and/or fusionable materials and main charge high explosive parts or propellants that is capable of producing a nuclear detonation.

Nuclear explosive duties means work assignments that allow custody of a nuclear explosive or access to a nuclear explosive device or area.

Occurrence means any event or incident that is a deviation from the planned or expected behavior or course of events in connection with any DOE or DOE-controlled operation if the deviation has environmental, public health and safety, or national security protection significance, including (but not limited to) incidents involving:

  1. Injury or fatality to any person involving actions of a DOE employee or contractor employee;
  2. An explosion, fire, spread of radioactive material, personal injury or death, or damage to property that involves nuclear explosives under DOE jurisdiction;
  3. Accidental release of pollutants that results from, or could result in, a significant effect on the public or environment; or
  4. Accidental release of radioactive material above regulatory limits.

Psychological assessment or test means a scientifically validated instrument designed to detect psychiatric, personality, and behavioral tendencies that would indicate problems with reliability and judgment.

Random alcohol testing means the unscheduled, unannounced alcohol testing of randomly selected employees by a process designed to ensure that selections are made in a nondiscriminatory manner.

Random drug testing means the unscheduled, unannounced drug testing of randomly selected employees by a process designed to ensure that selections are made in a nondiscriminatory manner.

Reasonable suspicion means a suspicion based on an articulable belief that an individual uses illegal drugs or is under the influence of alcohol, drawn from reasonable inferences from particular facts, as detailed further in 10 CFR Part 707.

Recertification means the formal action the HRP certifying official takes annually, not to exceed 12 months, that permits an employee to remain in the HRP and perform HRP duties.

Reinstatement means the action the HRP certifying official takes after it has been determined that an employee who has been temporarily removed from the HRP meets the certification requirements of this part and can be returned to HRP duties.

Reliability means an individual's ability to adhere to security and safety rules and regulations.

Safety concern means any condition, practice, or violation that causes a substantial probability of physical harm, property loss, and/or environmental impact.

Security concern means the presence of information regarding an individual applying for or holding an HRP position that may be considered derogatory under the criteria listed in 10 CFR Part 710, subpart A.

Semi-structured interview means an interview by a designated psychologist, or a psychologist under his or her supervision, who has the latitude to vary the focus and content of the questions depending on the interviewee's responses.

Site Occupational Medical Director (SOMD) means the physician responsible for the overall direction and operation of the occupational medical program at a particular site.

Supervisor means the individual who has oversight and organizational responsibility for a person holding an HRP position, and whose duties include evaluating the behavior and performance of the HRP-certified individual.

Transfer means an HRP-certified individual moving from one site to another site.

Unacceptable damage means an incident that could result in a nuclear detonation; high-explosive detonation or deflagration from a nuclear explosive; the diversion, misuse, or removal of Category I special nuclear material; or an interruption of nuclear explosive operations with a significant impact on national security.

Unsafe practice means either a human action departing from prescribed hazard controls or job procedures or practices, or an action causing a person unnecessary exposure to a hazard.