Shutdown furloughs about to hit nuclear safety agency

Posted at 8:59 AM, Oct 08, 2013
and last updated 2013-10-08 08:59:12-04

(CNN) — The federal shutdown is about to hit those who keep an eye on the nation’s 100 commercial nuclear power plants.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Monday it expects to furlough some 3,900 employees at the close of business on Thursday if Republicans and Democrats in Congress still have not resolved their impasse over federal spending.

The 300 essential personnel who would stay on include about 150 so-called “resident inspectors.” They serve as the NRC’s eyes and ears at nuclear plants.

The retained group would also include employees who support emergency response, investigators, a skeleton management team, the five NRC commissioners and a few commission staff members, the NRC said.

In a blog post, Mark Satorius, the agency’s executive director for operations, said it has generally operated normally using “carryover” funds, but that it cannot continue beyond midweek without new funding from Congress.

In the event of a nuclear-related emergency, he said, additional NRC employees can be recalled.

“We sincerely regret these actions are necessary and are eager to resume our important mission as soon as possible,” he said.

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