As the federal government shutdown continues to take its toll in our nation’s critical functions, 3,600 employees at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission will not be heading in to work Thursday.
They’re now on furlough.
A handful of those NRC employees work in regulatory and inspection roles at the Catawba Nuclear Station in northern York County.
NRC spokesman Roger Hannah says while the furlough is unfortunate, the public’s safety is not impacted.
“We have the resident inspectors there, we have the option of calling in additional staff,” Hannah said, who himself is on indefinite furlough.
Two NRC employees, known as Resident Inspectors will remain at the Catawba Nuclear Station and at other nuclear power plants throughout the country.
Duke Energy declined to comment on the furloughs, but did confirm the company employs 1,200 workers at the Catawba Plant.
In total, only a skeleton crew — 300 or so employees — will be working at the NRC during the shutdown.
If an emergency does occur, employees have been instructed to answer their phones in the event of a call from the agency’s Emergency Operations Center.
“We have normal emergency response procedures in place, as most utilities do,” Hannah said. “We’re not telling people to sit by the phones in the event that something happen, but people will be available if necessary.