The mission of the Board shall be to provide independent analysis, advice, and recommendations to the Secretary of Energy to inform the Secretary, in the role of the Secretary as operator and regulator of the defense nuclear facilities of the Department of Energy, in providing adequate protection of public health and safety at such defense nuclear facilities.
The Board shall perform the following functions:
(1) Review and evaluation of standards
The Board shall review and evaluate the content and implementation of the standards relating to the design, construction, operation, and decommissioning of defense nuclear facilities of the Department of Energy (including all applicable Department of Energy orders, regulations, and requirements) at each Department of Energy defense nuclear facility. The Board shall recommend to the Secretary of Energy those specific measures that should be adopted to ensure that public health and safety are adequately protected. The Board shall include in its recommendations necessary changes in the content and implementation of such standards, as well as matters on which additional data or additional research is needed.
(A)The Board shall investigate any event or practice at a Department of Energy defense nuclear facility which the Board determines has adversely affected, or may adversely affect, public health and safety.
(B)The purpose of any Board investigation under subparagraph (A) shall be—
(i)to determine whether the Secretary of Energy is adequately implementing the standards described in paragraph (1) of the Department of Energy (including all applicable Department of Energy orders, regulations, and requirements) at the facility;
(ii)to ascertain information concerning the circumstances of such event or practice and its implications for such standards;
(iii)to determine whether such event or practice is related to other events or practices at other Department of Energy defense nuclear facilities; and
(iv)to provide to the Secretary of Energy such recommendations for changes in such standards or the implementation of such standards (including Department of Energy orders, regulations, and requirements) and such recommendations relating to data or research needs as may be prudent or necessary.
(3) Analysis of design and operational data
The Board shall have access to and may systematically analyze design and operational data, including safety analysis reports, from any Department of Energy defense nuclear facility.
(4) Review of facility design and construction
The Board shall review the design of a new Department of Energy defense nuclear facility before construction of such facility begins and shall recommend to the Secretary, within a reasonable time, such modifications of the design as the Board considers necessary to ensure adequate protection of public health and safety. During the construction of any such facility, the Board shall periodically review and monitor the construction and shall submit to the Secretary, within a reasonable time, such recommendations relating to the construction of that facility as the Board considers necessary to ensure adequate protection of public health and safety. An action of the Board, or a failure to act, under this paragraph may not delay or prevent the Secretary of Energy from carrying out the construction of such a facility.
The Board shall make such recommendations to the Secretary of Energy with respect to Department of Energy defense nuclear facilities, including operations of such facilities, standards, and research needs, as the Board determines are necessary to ensure adequate protection of public health and safety. In making its recommendations the Board shall consider, and specifically assess risk (whenever sufficient data exists), the technical and economic feasibility of implementing the recommended measures.
(c) Excluded functions
The functions of the Board under this subchapter do not include functions relating to the safety of atomic weapons. However, the Board shall have access to any information on atomic weapons that is within the Department of Energy and is necessary to carry out the functions of the Board.
1991—Pub. L. 102–190designated existing provisions as subsec. (a), inserted heading, and added subsec. (b).
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