United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Nuclear Power Plant Staff Working Hours

HPPOS-024 PDR-9111210135

Title: Nuclear Power Plant Staff Working Hours

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


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, March 29, 2012