Nuclear Regulatory Commission: Efforts Intended to Improve Procedures for Requesting Additional Information for Licensing Actions Are Under Way, Report to Congressional Requesters [open pdf - 1MB]
"NRC [Nuclear Regulatory Commission] issues RAIs [Requests for Additional Information] to obtain information in licensing requests to ensure that officials can make a fully informed, technically correct, and legally defensible regulatory decision. RAIs are necessary when the information was not included in an applicant's initial submission, is not contained in any other docketed correspondence, or cannot reasonably be inferred from the information available to agency staff. NRC's use of RAIs has come under scrutiny in the past. For example, NRC's Inspector General, in a 2015 report, cited concerns about RAIs, including the amount of time it took to complete the RAI process and the resources required to do so. GAO [Government Accountability Office] was asked to review how NRC uses RAIs. This report examines (1) NRC's guidance for developing and issuing RAIs and how it differs across offices; (2) how many RAIs NRC has issued over the past 5 years and the kinds of activities that elicit RAIs; and (3) strengths and weaknesses of NRC's processes to develop RAIs identified by NRC and licensees and the actions NRC is taking to address concerns. GAO examined agency guidance documents and selected licensing actions containing RAIs. GAO interviewed NRC officials and selected licensees. GAO randomly selected licensing actions and licensees from a sample of recent licensing actions that included cases from each of NRC's RAI-issuing offices. [...] GAO is not making any recommendations. NRC generally agreed with GAO's findings."
Government Accountability Office: http://www.gao.gov/