The Secretary established the mission of the Chief Technical Authority (CTA) and supporting Chief of Nuclear Safety (CNS) in 2005 to provide independent analysis, advice, and recommendations to DOE senior management, program offices, field offices, and contractors on the health of the oversight and practices associated with the nuclear facility safety.  Beginning in 2011, the Deputy Secretary also delegated EM CTA responsibilities to the CNS.

Nuclear Facilities at Major DOE Sites Managed by the Office of Environmental Management (EM)

Over the past 10 years, the CNS functions have evolved to address the full range of policy, implementation, and executive decision-making activities that bear directly on nuclear safety. Currently, these activities are carried out in support of the Under Secretary for Management and Performance, as directed by the Secretary and identified in multiple DOE Orders—for example, O 410.1, O 226.1, O 251.1, O 413.3, and O 450.2.  These include:

Table 1.           Original and expanded current set of CTA and CNS responsibilities.

Nuclear Safety Requirement Concurrence and Exemption 
  • Concurs with the determination of the applicability of DOE directives involving nuclear safety included in Environmental Management (hereafter specifically referring to EM activities) contracts pursuant to Department of Energy Acquisition Regulation (DEAR), Title 48 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Section 970.5204-2, Laws, regulations, and DOE directives, item (b).
  • Concurs with nuclear safety requirements included in EM contracts pursuant to DEAR 970.5204-2(c).
  • Concurs with all exemptions from nuclear safety requirements in EM contracts that were added to the contract pursuant to DEAR 970.5204-2.
Guidance for Implementing Nuclear Safety Requirements
  • Advises the Under Secretary on recommendations to AU and the program offices for issues and proposed resolutions concerning DOE safety requirements.
  • Concurs with the adoption or revision of nuclear safety requirements (including supplemental requirements).
  • Provides expectations and guidance for implementing nuclear safety requirements, as necessary, for use by DOE EM employees and contractors.
Operational Awareness of Nuclear Safety Requirements Implementation
  • Maintains operational awareness of the implementation of nuclear safety requirements and guidance consistent with the Integrated Safety Management (ISM) guiding principles and core functions across the EM complex as defined in DOE O 450.2. Awareness is accomplished by working with Headquarters, Field Office, and Facility Representative (FR) staff to implement DOE O 226.1B, Implementation of DOE Oversight Policy. To fulfill this responsibility, CNS staff participate in project reviews, , ensure operational readiness, and review documented safety analyses to evaluate the adequacy of safety controls and their implementation.
  • Ensures that DOE Orders, Guides, and Standards, and industry standards are correctly applied in the conduct of DOE’s mission.
Maintaining Adequate Numbers of Technically Competent Personnel
  • Periodically reviews and assesses whether DOE EM organizations are maintaining adequate numbers of technically competent personnel necessary to fulfill their nuclear safety responsibilities.
  • DOE O 450.2, Integrated Safety Management. Provides concurrence on delegation of approval of documented safety analyses, technical safety requirements, and unreviewed safety question procedures below the most senior-level program officer or deputy at a Field Element. Provides concurrence on compensatory measures related to the delegation-of-authority process. Conducts an annual review of the delegation process to evaluate whether it is adequate and functioning properly and to identify any concerns to the CTA, who will notify the Under Secretary and the Secretarial Office (SO) and recommend action, as appropriate. Independently reviews the EM self-assessments of delegations; notifies the Under Secretary if issues are unresolved.
Advising DOE-Wide Nuclear Safety-Related Research and Development Activities
  • Serves as a voting member of the Nuclear Safety Research and Development Committee providing direction and concurrence of the DOE-wide nuclear safety-related research and development activities.
  • Evaluates annual, DOE-wide nuclear safety-related research-and-development proposals and contributes to their selection.
Managing Differing Professional Opinion (DPO) Evaluation and Decision Authority at DOE Nuclear Facilities
  • DOE O 442.2, Differing Professional Opinions for Technical Issues Involving Environment, Safety and Health. Establishes a DPO process to provide DOE and contractor employees with an alternate path for resolving technical issues related to environment, safety, and health. In a memorandum dated November 7, 2013, the Deputy Secretary appointed the CNS as the DPO Manager for issues affecting any nuclear facility under the auspices of the Under Secretary for Management and Performance.
Program and Project Management Safety Documentation and Critical Decisions
  • DOE O 413.3Ba, Program and Project Management for the Acquisition of Capital Assets. Reviews, and provides concurrence on, multiple safety and quality documents generated at the various phases of capital projects. Reviews and provides concurrence on Critical Decisions for major modifications and new facility projects. Participates as a member of the Energy Systems Acquisition Advisory Board (ESAAB) and similar advisory boards for nuclear facility design and construction projects.
Safety Basis Documentation
  • DOE-STD-1104-2014, Review and Approval of Nuclear Facility Safety Basis and Safety Design Basis Document. In circumstances where no viable control strategy exists in an existing facility to prevent or mitigate the offsite dose consequence of one or more of the accident scenarios from exceeding the Evaluation Guideline (EG), the CTA provides concurrence on the technical adequacy of the DSA submittal.
EFCOG Engineering Practices Working Owners Group
  • CNS volunteered to be DOE sponsor for the EPWOG. The Engineering Practices group will be sponsored by CNS and will develop a business plan with deliverables. This function will reside in the new EFCOG Project Working Group that is sponsored by the Office of Acquisition and Project Management (OAPM).


For more information about the Chief of Nuclear Safety, contact us by email.