Nuclear safety agency seeks comment on fatigue proposal

April 27, 2011

Washington – The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is seeking comment until May 26 on a proposed amendment to its fitness-for-duty rule that would change the method used to determine when nuclear power plant employees must be given time off from work.

Under the current rule, which went into effect March 28, power plant licensees must provide workers with a minimum number of days off in an effort to ensure fatigue does not affect plant safety and security.

The proposed rule, published in the April 26 Federal Register, would allow – but not require – a more flexible approach to limit the number of consecutive extended workweeks. The alternative proposal includes a maximum average 54-hour workweek over a period of up to six weeks.

The proposal was prompted by two petitions raising concerns about the current requirement. After hosting three public meetings and being briefed on the subject, NRC ordered an expedited rulemaking to develop the new proposal.