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Is Government Shutdown Threatening Safety of Nation’s Nuclear Plants?

The NRC and the 2013 Shutdown – Next Steps

Posted by  on October 4, 2013

Mark Satorius
Executive Director for Operations
19 Comments 
 

As you may know, the NRC has been operating largely normally this week using “carryover” funds in the absence of an appropriation. Based on our current projections, however, we do not believe the agency can continue to operate beyond the middle of next week.

In the absence of action by Congress and the President, we expect to begin notifying employees whether they are excepted (non-furloughed) or non-excepted (furloughed). Most of the excepted employees are the resident inspectors and the Headquarters Operations Officers. Individuals assigned as excepted employees will perform the excepted functions listed in Management Directive and Handbook 4.5 if the agency shuts down.

Meetings scheduled for next week are in the process of being cancelled or postponed. We apologize for the inconvenience we know this is causing. For the most up-to-date details, please see our Public Meetings page.

It is possible that circumstances will require additional NRC employees to perform excepted functions, for example, in an emergency event requiring NRC response. If that situation arises, additional NRC employees who are required to perform excepted functions will be contacted, designated as excepted and removed from furlough status.

It is illegal for employees who are furloughed to perform agency work. So once the NRC begins furloughs, most employees will not be coming to the office, taking work phone calls, or reading or responding to email messages. The Office of Public Affairs and the Office of Congressional Affairs will have skeleton staffs on hand to respond as appropriate to inquiries. A limited Allegations staff will also be on hand to evaluate allegations and address those with immediate safety or security ramifications. As Presidential appointees, Chairman Macfarlane and the four Commissioners will not be furloughed and will continue to perform their responsibilities.

The NRC is also reviewing its contractors to determine which ones will receive “stop work orders” during a furlough.

While the NRC website will remain up, it may not be updated once a furlough has started. We will use the blog to provide up-to-date information about NRC actions.

We sincerely regret these actions are necessary and are eager to resume our important mission as soon as possible.

source: public-blog.nrc-gateway.gov

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