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1997-12-01 18:11:30


Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC): Still Assessing



The NRC regulates the United States' 107 nuclear power plants. The NRC is not yet 2000-compliant. As of late September, it was finishing its assessment.

Capers Jones says that any organization that has not begun code revision -- the next step after assessment -- by October, 1997, will not meet the deadline.

The NRC apparently does not plan to test the final code's implementation by using parallel testing on separate computers -- the safest but most expensive way to test. The NRC's report says: "NRC's Validation and Implementation phases will be done concurrently with system renovation, and these phases are following our established milestones."

This report is Appendix A to NRC SECY-97-213 (Sept. 24, 1997).

* * * * * * * *


The scope of the Year 2000 problem at the NRC includes (1) both hardware and software in the form of computer processors (mainframes, mini-computers and microcomputers, and scientific workstations), their peripheral devices (i.e., laser printers, automated scanners, etc.), and the application systems and commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) software that reside on them; (2) application software at NRC data services host systems for government-wide financial and cross-service systems; (3) telecommunications systems with embedded microchips; and (4) non-data processing systems with embedded microchips (e.g., elevators and access/security systems). . . .

NRC is currently near the end of the Assessment phase of its program. . . .

The following systems have been identified by NRC offices as mission-critical:

•Emergency Response Data System (ERDS/AEOD)

•Operation Center Information Management System (OCIMS/AEOD) •Emergency Telecommunication System (ETS/AEOD)

•Sealed Source and Device Nationwide Registry (SSDR/NMSS)

•Licensing Tracking System (LTS/NMSS)

•General License Database (GLDB/NMSS)

•Agency computer systems network (AUTOS/IRM). . . .

In assessing the agency's microcomputer hardware, it has been determined that NRC's basic 486 PC is not Year 2000 compliant. In FY 1996 NRC began to replace these PCs with Pentium-based PCs that are Year 2000 compliant. NRC plans to be using fewer than 275 486 PCS by mid-1999, and will install a software upgrade bringing them into Year 2000 compliance. . . .

The Renovation phase of NRC's program has begun with a focus on mission-critical systems. Several systems are currently being renovated and that work will steadily increase as we approach the scheduled date for completing the renovation phase. NRC's Validation and Implementation phases will be done concurrently with system renovation, and these phases are following our established milestones.


The most significant Year 2000 issue is NRC's inability to precisely determine and document the status of systems that are outside agency control. This category includes systems services provided by other Government agencies and systems acquired from commercial sources. Most of the services are provided by major vendors such as AT&T, Bell Atlantic, Microsoft, and IBM. We are confident that these providers will correct any Year 2000 problems in such a manner as to prevent interruption of the business functions of their customers.


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