General Information on Topical Reports

A topical report allows for a single Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) staff review of a safety-related topic that applies to multiple nuclear power plants (NPPs). Topical reports increase the efficiency of the licensing process and reduce the burden on licensees by minimizing the time and resources that both industry and the NRC staff expend on multiple reviews of the same topic. For additional information, see the following topics on this page:

Applicable Regulations and Guidance

The NRC's regulations related to topical reports are set forth in Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR) Part 21, and sections 10 CFR 2.390, 10 CFR 50.5, 10 CFR 50.7, and 10 CFR 170.11. The NRC staff has also developed internal Office Instruction LIC-500, "Topical Report Process" to standardize the process of reviewing a topical report within the NRC.

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Criteria for a Topical Report

A report submitted for review as a topical report should meet all three of the following criteria:

  1. The report deals with a specific safety-related or other generic subject regarding a U.S. nuclear power plant that requires a safety evaluation (SE) by the NRC staff; for example, component design, analytical models or techniques, or performance testing of components and/or systems that can be evaluated independently of a specific license application.
  2. Be applicable to multiple licensees, for multiple requests for licensing actions, or both. Examples of requested licensing actions include license amendment requests (LARs), relief requests, and other types of TR-based submittals that are not submitted pursuant to 10 CFR 50.90 or 50.55a.
  3. Increase the efficiency of the review process for applications that reference the TR.

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Exceptions to the Criteria

Exceptions to these criteria, especially criterion (2), may be allowed on a case-by-case basis if the NRC staff determines that an exception is in the public interest. The submitting organization must provide written justification of this to the NRC staff prior to submitting the topical report for review, preferably at the pre-submittal meeting stage. Examples of justification for an exception include a contribution to resolving a safety-related issue, a technological advancement that would benefit safety or reduce an operational burden, or significant cost savings to the industry.

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Using Topical Reports in Plant-Specific Licensing Actions

Licensees may not reference a topical report in a licensing amendment request until the topical report is fully completed and the approved ("-A") version of the topical report is verified by the NRC staff. Using a –A version provides a report that has all the documentation related to the review in one place. It includes the technical report, revised to incorporate answers to NRC staff requests for additional information (RAIs); the NRC staff RAIs and answers; and the NRC staff safety evaluation. Exceptions to using a version other than the –A version may be allowed on a case-by-case basis if the NRC staff determines that an exception is in the public interest.

Plant-specific concerns must always be taken into account when using an accepted-for-use topical report in a specific licensing action. For this reason, a licensee who references a topical report in a licensing application must demonstrate that the application of the topical report to their facility is within the conditions in the topical report defining its application. The NRC staff verifies relevant criteria for accepted-for-use topical reports during each licensing action to ensure that the topical report's conclusions are both valid and applicable to the particular licensing action under review. The NRC staff believes that this is an essential step in ensuring that the otherwise time-saving topical report program fully meets the NRC's high standards for protection of public health and safety.

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Public Availability

10 CFR 2.390 does not require nonproprietary versions of proprietary information. However, the NRC staff greatly encourages the submission of nonproprietary versions of topical reports and any other information provided in support of the topical report review. All nonproprietary topical reports, nonproprietary versions of proprietary topical reports, and nonproprietary correspondence regarding the NRC's review of topical reports are available to the public through the Agencywide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS) and in the NRC's Public Document Room.

Use the following steps to access topical reports using Web-Based ADAMS:

  1. In the Web-based ADAMS paragraph, select "Begin Web-based ADAMS Search"
  2. Select Advanced Search
  3. Under Document Properties, change the Property column to "Document Type"
  4. In the Value column, type in "Topical Report"
  5. Click the blue Search button near the top of the frame

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