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DOE Technical Standards Program
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is the difference between the generic word "standards" and the DOE term"
technical standards"?
In many instances, the term "standards" is used as a generic term for all of the regulations,
guidance, and information that we use in everyday practices and to do work. It generally includes all
of the rules, laws, regulations, DOE Orders, national and international standards, and Federal
standards. The term "technical standards" was established to identify the collection of those DOE
documents that were being used purely for technical purposes. Technical standards are used in
DOE to form the basis of a document hierarchy system where the technical standards themselves
provide specific methods and techniques on "how to" implement the Department's requirements.
However, the standards themselves are not mandatory for use until some higher tier document in
the hierarchy makes them mandatory. This hierarchy is described for DOE activities in DOE M
251.1-1A, Directives System Manual.
How can I best obtain a "current" listing of DOE technical standards?
To get the most up-to-date listing of DOE technical standards, look on the Technical Standards
Program (TSP) Home Page under the heading "Approved Standards."
Are the "adopted" non-Government standards (NGS) listed in Appendix B of DOE
TSL-1 mandatory standards when used in DOE projects?
No. The term "adoption" relates only to the Technical Standards Program (TSP) and was
established for the purpose of reporting in accordance with OMB Circular A-119. When the process
was set up in 1992, there was an agreement that NGSs referenced in DOE Orders (whether
mandatory or discretionary) would be considered to be "adopted" NGSs. Designating a particular
NGS as mandatory for a DOE contractor is a contractual decision. That is, the mandatory
designation is either imposed through a DOE Order or the M&O contract, or the contractor commits
to the NGS in their safety analysis report or implementation plan and DOE accepts it.
If I find a non-Government standard (NGS) that nearly meets my needs, how do I fill
in the missing elements?
There are, in order of preference, three methods to adapt an existing standard to fit your needs.
You, or the DOE representative on the non-Government standards committee that created
the standard, can participate in revising the document to address DOE needs. Words can
be added to individual paragraphs; the words "as specified" can be added to the end of a
requirement; or an appendix can be developed to address specific DOE additions,
expectations, or modifications.
You can obtain permission from the copyright holder to use specific paragraphs or
sentences from the NGS in a new or revised DOE technical standard.
You could develop a new DOE technical standard that uses the NGS as a primary reference
but modifies the requirements to meet the needs of the Department or of the specific

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