United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment


                                                            SSINS No.: 6830 
                                                            Accession No.: 
                                                            7912190657

                                UNITED STATES
                        NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION
                    OFFICE OF INSPECTION AND ENFORCEMENT
                           WASHINGTON, D.C.  20555

                              February 1, 1980

                                                     IE Circular No. 80-02 

NUCLEAR POWER PLANT STAFF WORK HOURS 

Description of Circumstances: 

Studies indicate that with fatigue, especially because of loss of sleep, an 
individuals detection of visual signals deteriorates markedly, the time it 
takes for a person to make a decision increases and more errors are made, 
and reading rates decrease.  Other studies show that fatigue results in 
personnel ignoring some signals because they develop their own subjective 
standards as to what is important, and as they become more fatigued they 
ignore more signals. 

Inspections of personnel performance and training since the accident at 
Three Mile Island, have shown that in certain situations facility personnel 
are either required or allowed to remain on duty for extended periods of 
time. Also, complaints have been received from some licensed nuclear power 
plant operators concerning the number of continuous hours they have been on 
duty. 

Licensee management is responsible for providing a sufficient number of 
trained personnel who are in the proper physical condition to operate and 
maintain the plant.  Licensee management should review their administrative 
procedures covering the working hours of nuclear power plant staff.  These 
procedures should establish a sound policy covering working hours for plant 
staff who perform safety related functions (e.g., senior reactor operators, 
reactor operators, health physicists, auxiliary operators, I&C technicians, 
key maintenance personnel, etc.) 

Subcommittee ANS-3 is currently developing criteria to address the subject 
of operator work hours.  These guidelines will become a part of ANSI N18.7.  
The NRC is also considering issuing requirements for administrative 
procedures that would control staff overtime.  Until either the ANSI 
Standard it issued and endorsed by NRC (via a Regulatory Guide) or separate 
requirements are issued by NRC, it is recommended that the following 
guidance be used.  The guidance should be applied to all personnel 
performing a safety related function: 

1.   Scheduled work should be limited to the following maximum work hours: 

     a.   An individual should not be permitted to work more than 12 hours 
          straight. 

     b.   There should be at least a 12-hour break between all work periods.
.

IE Circular No. 80-02                                       February 1, 1980
                                                            Page 2 of 2 

     c.   An individual should not work more than 72-hours in any 7-day 
          period. 
     
     d.   An individual should not work more than 14 consecutive days 
          without having 2 consecutive days off. 

2.   In the event that special circumstances arise that require deviation 
from the above, such deviations should be authorized by the Station manager 
with appropriate documentation of the cause.  Plants should be staffed and 
schedules developed to operate such that exceptions are not required. 

3.   If an operator is required to work in excess of 12 continuous hours, 
his duties should be carefully selected.  It is preferable that he not be 
assigned any task that affects core reactivity or could possibly endanger 
the safe operation of the plant. 

No written response to this Circular is required.  If you desire additional 
information regarding this matter, contact the Director of the appropriate 
NRC Regional Office.

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