Frequently Asked Questions

What is an Implementation Plan?

Department of Energy Implementation Plans contain defined actions or commitments necessary to resolve the identified technical and management issues defined in a DNFSB Recommendation. DOE provides evidence of completion of these commitments to the Board.  You can view Implementation Plans on the individual Recommendation webpages in the Recommendations section of this website.

What is a Recommendation?

The Board's power to issue recommendations to the Secretary of Energy is outlined in our Enabling Legislation, stating that "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 the technical and economic feasibility of implementing the recommended measures."

Once the Board makes a recommendation, the Secretary of the Department of Energy must respond within 45 days of its publication in the Federal Register. The Secretary may accept or reject the Board's recommendation in whole or in part. Further, the Secretary must submit an Implementation Plan to the Board for each accepted recommendation within 90 days of the date the Secretary's acceptance of the recommendation is published in the Federal Register.

What is a Staff Issue Report?

Staff Issue Reports are reports sent as letters by the Board to the Department of Energy which address one or more safety issues either at a specific Defense Nuclear Facility (DNF) or across all facilities. They are usually authored by a group of the Board's Technical Staff, but have been known to include collaboration from outside experts as well as Board Members. These reports are usually written on nuclear safety topics based on safety reviews conducted at Defense Nuclear Facilities.

What is a Technical Report?

Technical Reports are white papers that address a nuclear safety topic that relates to a specific recommendation. They are usually provided as attachments to Recommendations and are designed to assist the Department of Energy in developing their response to the recommendation.

How do I access information under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)?

DNFSB's FOIA rules are found at 10 CFR 1703. These rules, along with the DNFSB's FOIA Reports for FY 1998 through FY 2006, can be accessed from the DNFSB Web site, reviewed in the PRR, or requested by mail from the Board's Information Officer.

We will begin processing your FOIA request immediately upon receipt. Every effort will be made to minimize your cost for the search and to respond well within statutory deadlines. Most document requests are filled within a few days.

What is a Defense Nuclear Facility (DNF)?

As defined in the Board's Enabling Legislation, the term "Department of Energy defense nuclear facility" means any of the following: 

  1. A production facility or utilization facility (as defined in section 2014 of the Atomic Energy Act) that is under the control or jurisdiction of the Secretary of Energy and that is operated for national security purposes, but the term does not include:
    • any facility or activity covered by Executive Order No. 12344, dated February 1, 1982 [42 U.S.C. § 7158 note], pertaining to the Naval nuclear propulsion program;
    • any facility or activity involved with the transportation of nuclear explosives or nuclear material;
    • any facility that does not conduct atomic energy defense activities; or
    • any facility owned by the United States Enrichment Corporation.
  2. A nuclear waste storage facility under the control or jurisdiction of the Secretary of Energy, but the term does not include a facility developed pursuant to the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 (42 U.S.C. 10101 et seq.) and licensed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

How do I obtain DNFSB Public Records?

There are four ways to obtain records and information:

This constantly expanding resource provides rapid access to many important Board documents, such as Recommendations to the Department of Energy, Resident Inspector Weekly Reports, Staff Issue Reports, Technical Reports, Letters and Correspondence, and Reports to Congress. Links are also provided to many other Web sites at DOE and other locations here. Upcoming Board Public Hearings and Meetings are posted here on the website and in the Federal Register.

You can make a direct request for documents to DNFSB using our web-based contact form, e-mail or telephone. See Contact Us for more information.

  1. Visit our Public Reading Room (PRR)

    DNFSB maintains a PRR for the purpose of providing easy access to a substantial portion of the Board's records.

    • Location: 625 Indiana Avenue, NW, Washington, DC
    • Public Hours: Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
    • Assistance and Resources: Librarians are on hand to assist users in finding documents. A computer terminal is also available to search the Board's public electronic files. Copies can be made on the premises for a nominal charge.

      As a visitor to the PRR, you are entitled to:

    • Access posted Recommendations, notices of meetings, and personnel vacancy announcements.
    • Review any of the 100,000+ documents in the DNFSB Library. The Library staff will provide you with a subject printout covering your areas of interest from which you can make selections for full text.
    • Receive, free of charge, DNFSB's Annual Reports, Recommendations, and all other reports. If needed, all other material will be provided to you at minimal cost, using the DNFSB's current Fee Schedule. DNFSB's copying fees are posted here and in the PRR.
    • Expect to be received with courtesy and respect. Knowledgeable staff will be helpful, and we will work with you to help define your areas of interest. You will be helped immediately and will receive service that is responsive to your needs. We strive to provide "same day" research and duplication service for documents currently in our public files.
  2. Access the DNFSB website 
  3. Contact DNFSB 
  4. Get on our mailing list

    You are entitled to be placed on our mailing list to receive new Board Recommendations, Reports, Reports to Congress, Public Hearing/Meeting Notices, and special announcements.

What is Board Activity?

The Board Activity section of shows the most recently posted or updated content within at least the past 90 days.  The content types you can see in this view include:

This view does not show Resident Inspector Weekly Reports for the simple reason that they would clutter up all of the other updated pieces of content on the site.  Click here to view the most recent Resident Inspector Weekly Reports.

About DNFSB's Systems of Records

DNFSB maintains nine confidential systems of records. The confidential systems are Privacy Act Systems of Records:

  1. Personnel Security Files
  2. Time and Attendance Records
  3. Drug Testing Program Records
  4. Personnel Files
  5. Occupational Radiation Exposure Records
  6. DNFSB Staff Resume Book
  7. Supervisory Files
  8. Travel, Procurement, and Administrative Files
  9. Occupational Beryllium Exposure Records

Access to these systems is controlled by the Privacy Act. The Board's Privacy Act rules are found at 10 CFR 1705.

What is the difference between a Public Hearing and a Public Meeting?

Public Hearing: A hearing accessible to individuals from the public, authorized under the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board’s enabling statute, for the purpose of taking testimony and gathering information from Department of Energy (DOE) and contractor witnesses relevant to public and worker health and safety at DOE Defense Nuclear Facilities.

Public Meeting: An agency meeting of a quorum of Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board members, noticed in the Federal Register, pursuant to the Government in the Sunshine Act and open to public observation.