Implementation of Knowledge Management Strategies to Sustain Regulatory Expertise in Certification and Licensing Activities for Radioactive Material and Spent Nuclear Fuel

Haile Lindsay - U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Chris Bajwa - U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Matt Bartlett - U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Richard Jervey - U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) began operations in January 1975. Our mission is to license and regulate the civilian use of nuclear material for commercial, industrial, academic, and medical uses to protect public health and safety, and the environment, and promote the common defense and security. As part of our mission, we oversee the transportation and storage of radioactive material including spent nuclear fuel which is regulated under various parts of Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR) including Parts 70, 71, and 72. Recently, the NRC lost expertise due to retirement of the experienced nuclear workforce and movement of mid-level career staff either internal to the Agency or externally. Knowledge management (KM) initiatives and strategies have been implemented Agencywide. In keeping with the NRC’s broader KM initiative, the Division of Fuel Management (DFM), in the Office on Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards (NMSS) formed a KM team that facilitates the dissemination of regulatory knowledge to enable staff to perform their work even as DFM experiences staff attrition. The following KM strategies are in place to achieve this goal: addition of KM content to Nuclepedia, an internal knowledge sharing platform, implementation of a DFM “Cross Training” program to provide staff within DFM additional knowledge and skills, development of DFM seminars on a variety of topics which are recorded and placed in our document repository (Agency-wide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS)) and Microsoft Stream; technical discipline group meetings to share knowledge within specialty areas; use of mentoring strategies for experienced staff to “train” new staff; use of Microsoft SharePoint portals in capturing, transferring, and documenting knowledge for staff across the Division; development and revision of written guidance to capture 'administrative and technical' knowledge (e.g., division instructions (DIs), generic communications (e.g., bulletins, generic letters), standard review plans (SRPs); development and implementation of a Division KM Plan, and facilitation of KM using work assignments. A short description of each of these KM strategies and a discussion of the successes and challenges of implementing them at the NRC, and particularly in DFM/NMSS, will be provided.