U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Nuclear Power Plant Staff Working Hours
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