IE Circular No. 80-02, Nuclear Power Plant Staff Work Hours
SSINS No.: 6830
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
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
b. There should be at least a 12-hour break between all work periods.
IE Circular No. 80-02 February 1, 1980
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c. An individual should not work more than 72-hours in any 7-day
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.
Page Last Reviewed/Updated Tuesday, September 01, 2015