Potential Government Shutdown: The Path Forward for the NRC — UPDATED
September 27, 2013
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Executive Director for Operations
Update: This week’s Waste Confidence meetings will be held as scheduled. We’ll keep you updated on the status of meetings scheduled for next week.
The NRC can’t predict the likelihood of a government shutdown next week, but we are prepared for all contingencies in case of a lapse of appropriations for federal agencies effective on Tuesday.
If there is a lapse, many agencies will shut down operations and furlough employees except for those necessary to support possible emergencies. At the NRC, however, we have some “carryover” funding, which is essentially previous year’s funding that was not expended. By being careful with that money, the NRC should be able to remain open for at least one additional week of largely normal operations.
At this time, then, the NRC is not issuing employee furlough notifications. Should the lapse of appropriations last longer than our “carryover” funding allows, the NRC has a plan reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget for identifying staff members who will remain on the job to perform the excepted NRC functions for emergencies.
The planned staffing for NRC “excepted functions” necessary to support emergency operations during a lapse of appropriations is approximately 300 of the agency’s 3,900 employees. Of that number, roughly half are resident inspectors assigned to reactor and fuel facilities. The rest of the “excepted” personnel include staff necessary to initially respond to emergency situations at NRC licensed facilities. The Chairman, the NRC Commissioners and Inspector General are in addition to this number and are exempted from furloughs because they are Presidential appointees.
We will notify licensees and external stakeholders through a Regulatory Issue Summary if there is a lapse of appropriations on Oct. 1, and then again if the lapse exceeds our carryover funding.
OMB and OPM websites have more information about the situation government-wide.
The NRC will to continue to uphold our important mission of protecting public health and safety. We will also make every effort to reduce uncertainty and disruption for our valuable staff members, to the extent we can.