United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Nuclear Power Plant Staff Working Hours

HPPOS-024 PDR-9111210135

See the letter from D. G. Eisenhut to All Power Reactor Licenses dated June 15, 1982. The letter provides a revised policy statement on working hours for reactor power plant staffs, including HP's. Individual staff members should not work more than 16 hours straight, more than 16 hours in a 24-hour period, more than 24 hours in a 48-hour period, or more than 72 hours in a 7-day period. HPPOS-173 and HPPOS-253 contain related topics.

Licenses of operating plants and applicants for operating licenses shall establish controls to prevent situations where fatigue could reduce the ability of operating personnel to keep the reactor in a safe condition. The controls should focus on shift staffing and the use of overtime as key job-related factors that influence fatigue.

The objective of the controls would be to assure that, to the extent practicable, personnel are not assigned to shift duties while in a fatigued condition that could significantly reduce their mental alertness or their decision making capability. The controls shall apply to the plant staff who perform safety-related functions (e.g., senior reactor operators, reactor operators, health physicists, auxiliary operators, and key maintenance personnel).

Enough plant operating personnel should be employed to maintain adequate shift coverage without heavy routine use of overtime. The objective is to have operating personnel work a normal 8-hour day, 40-hour week while the plant is operating routinely. However, in the event that unforeseen problems require substantial amount of overtime to be used on a temporary basis, or during extended periods of shutdown for refueling, major maintenance or major plant modifications, the following guidelines shall be followed:

  1. An individual should not be permitted to work more than 16 hours straight (excluding shift turnover time).

  2. An individual should not be permitted to work more than 16 hours in any 24-hour period, more than 24 hours in any 48-hour period, or more than 72 hours in any 7-day period (all excluding shift turnover time).

  3. A break of at least eight hours should be allowed between work periods (including shift turnover time).

  4. Except during extended shutdown periods, the use of overtime should be considered on an individual basis and not for the entire staff on a shift.

Recognizing that very unusual circumstances may arise requiring deviation from the above guidelines, such deviations shall be authorized by the plant manager or his deputy, or higher levels of management. The paramount consideration in such authorization shall be that significant reductions in the effectiveness of operating personnel would be highly unlikely.

In addition, procedures are encouraged that would allow licensed operators at the controls to be periodically relieved and assigned to other duties away from the control board during their tour of duty.

Regulatory references: Technical Specifications

Subject codes: 1.4, 1.5, 1.7

Applicability: Reactors

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Thursday, June 04, 2015