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90% of Nuclear Regulators Sent Home Due To Shutdown

Soulskill posted 1 year,13 days | from the homer-simpson-asked-to-come-in-for-overtime dept.

Power 358

An anonymous reader writes "More than 90% of nuclear regulators are being sent home due to the Federal Government shutdown, as the agency announced today that it was out of funds. Without Congressional appropriations, the nuclear watchdog closes its doors for what appears to be the first time in U.S. history. CNN reports that while a skeleton crew remains to monitor the nation's 100 nuclear reactors, regulatory efforts to prevent a Fukushima-like incident in the United States have ceased."

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What could possibly go wrong? (5, Funny)

TWiTfan (2887093) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084959)

The idea that anything bad could happen is just crazy talk. This is the United States!

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (1)

Talderas (1212466) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085009)

Very little as apparently the article thinks the NRC is responsible for foiling terrorist plots to go after nuclear reactors.

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085149)

Very little as apparently the article thinks the NRC is responsible for foiling terrorist plots to go after nuclear reactors.

Personally, I'm more worried about increased negligence from operators without somebody breathing down their necks than I am about terrorists.

(The most recent example, luckily nonnuclear, being the juxtaposition between the marathon bombers and the West Fertilizer company. Kill three people with a backpack full of explosives and all of greater Boston goes full tactical on you. Blow up 500,000 pounds of ammonium nitrate, killing 15 and leveling a good portion of the nearby town? Eh, we try to avoid burdensome regulations here in Texas...)

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (2)

Talderas (1212466) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085237)

Read the article. The onsite inspectors and regulators aren't being furloughed.

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (1)

alexander_686 (957440) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085449)

I assume this means the people working on important but not urgent projects are being furloughed.

Approval of remolding current and build future plants and such - or does somebody have a better idea?

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (1)

Mike Buddha (10734) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085423)

And tsunami prevention.

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45085027)

Whatever happens, its Obama's fault.

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (5, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085055)

Having a bunch of bureaucrats sitting around doing nothing but shuffling papers provides no additional safety.
Sending them home provides no less safety.

The article and the summary would suggest everyone walked away from the control room, or at the very least, that the plant operators will now start drilling through the containment walls to roast hot dogs, or sell all the fuel to Iranians on the black market. More Scare tactics.

Everyone in the lapdog press is running around crying Oh No'es but NOTHING bad is happening.
The country is once again reminded how useless most layers of government really are.

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085551)

Everyone in the lapdog press is running around crying Oh No'es but NOTHING bad is happening.

Well, nothing bad other than millions of Americans suddenly becoming essentially unemployed, even if temporarily, for which I can see no possible negative effect. /sarc

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (-1, Troll)

Jawnn (445279) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085063)

Right. And nukular power is safe, clean, and efficient. Right? Why, having all those government regulators is just more wasteful spending, anyway.
The Koch brothers were right. We're better off without troublesome regulations being enforced.

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (2)

lgw (121541) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085065)

Nothing bad could happen due to regulators being off for a few weeks. These aren't reactor operators we're talking about (who would mostly be employees of utility companies, not government employees in the first place). These are people who write and enforce regulations. It will take quite some time for their absence to matter (especially since they might return any day).

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (1)

tttonyyy (726776) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085119)

In all fairness nothing is likely to go wrong unless a reactor is being experimented on, or an unusual catastrophic event/mechanical failure occurs (even a fully staffed reactor doesn't necessarily mean they'll be avoided). Lack of staffing should be the least of our worries!

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (1)

icebike (68054) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085195)

If a "mechanical failure" occurs, the last people you call are the regulators.
You call your own technicians.
You seem to have a very odd understanding of what these paper pushers really do in life.

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (1)

thaylin (555395) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085227)

yes but you only have a few hours to call the regulators, literally.

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (2)

icebike (68054) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085347)

How many hours do they have to respond.
Big deal, you make the call.
Their answering machine and your telephone log relieves you of any fault.

Mean time you solve the problem by the book, and document it the same way you always would.

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (1)

BenSchuarmer (922752) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085201)

Yup, the things practically run themselves.

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (1)

Russ1642 (1087959) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085327)

In the short term there should be absolutely no impact. If the shutdown lasts more than a year then I'd start getting concerned.

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45085391)

If these guys are so important, why doesn't Obama just declare them "essential". Apparently he feels signing people up on Obamacare exchanges is much more critical than nuclear regulators. That has managed to remain operational during the shutdown. Hell, the entire department of defense was declared "essential". This is all either political scare tactics or just pathetic journalism trying to stir people up.

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (1)

gmuslera (3436) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085443)

If the government don't worry about it (spent 5 billons [foreignpolicy.com] in the eve of the shutdown in defense, that is really a priority), why should you?

We have a pack of homer simpsons to fill in for th (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085499)

We have a pack of homer Simpsons to fill in for them

October 17th Conspiracy Theorists Welcome! (3, Informative)

conner_bw (120497) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084965)

Meanwhile an October 17th debt ceiling that will cripple the world economy goes mostly unnoticed.

Re:October 17th Conspiracy Theorists Welcome! (1, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084975)

What do you mean goes mostly unnoticed?

This should be fun, we already have another salmonella outbreak this time drug resistant too.

Re:October 17th Conspiracy Theorists Welcome! (1)

conner_bw (120497) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085057)

> What do you mean goes mostly unnoticed?

Ie. Let's shut down the government because of a healthcare disagreements! And keep talking about healthcare disagreements! (and not that other thing that has nothing to do with anything don't look over there.)

Re:October 17th Conspiracy Theorists Welcome! (0, Troll)

h4rr4r (612664) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085091)

Give it a few days.

Hopefully these teahadists are not going to go that far. Even that seems too much.

If you can't get the votes to repeal something, just shutup sit down and deal with it.

Re:October 17th Conspiracy Theorists Welcome! (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085545)

The Debt Ceiling can remain ignored for months. The government takes in enough tax revenue each month to pay the interest on bonds many times over. There is zero possibility of the government 'defaulting' and wiping out their credit rating.

Now, if you got that government job and thought you were 'set for life' it might not work out as well.

Re:October 17th Conspiracy Theorists Welcome! (1)

Chemisor (97276) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085199)

we already have another salmonella outbreak this time drug resistant too.

The immune system naturally purges salmonella infections in about a week. Antibiotic treatment is not required and is not recommended. The only people who worry about this are the handful of immunosuppressed individuals who already have many other things to worry about. To the remaining 99.99% of the population a "salmonella outbreak" is at most a week-long inconvenience.

Re:October 17th Conspiracy Theorists Welcome! (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085363)

So why are these folks being hospitalized?

The very young and very old make up more than .01% of the population.

Re:October 17th Conspiracy Theorists Welcome! (1)

SpaceCadetTrav (641261) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085489)

Because salmonella makes them barf, dehydrate, and causes severe stomach pain. They go in for some liquid and a dose of morphine.

Re:October 17th Conspiracy Theorists Welcome! (1)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085483)

Shouldn't simply cooking the infected meat to the correct temperature kill the bacteria?

Re:October 17th Conspiracy Theorists Welcome! (2)

mrchaotica (681592) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085003)

You know what the sad thing is? Even with the government "shutdown" we're apparently managing to spend money so fast that we'll hit the debt ceiling just as soon. You'd think that the cuts would make enough of a dent to push it back a few days, but no.

Re:October 17th Conspiracy Theorists Welcome! (2)

thaylin (555395) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085047)

We dont have to spend money to hit the debt ceiling, our debt will do it for us, damn interest.

Re:October 17th Conspiracy Theorists Welcome! (4, Insightful)

intermodal (534361) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085313)

Technically, the Federal Government takes in more than enough to pay the interest and principal payments on the debt every month. I love how everyone pretends that's the first thing to get screwed, when the reality is that there are a lot of other agencies, programmes, and other entities and expenditures that disappear before we "default". All this talk about "default" and "full faith and credit" has been nothing but dishonest propaganda.

Re:October 17th Conspiracy Theorists Welcome! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45085421)

Yes, the federal government would just need to let other checks bounce instead of the debt payments. Much better.

Tell me something: if you stop paying your electric bill, does it affect your credit rating when you later try and get a car loan? Of course it does, even though you never defaulted on a loan! You just didn't pay some other expenditure!

Re:October 17th Conspiracy Theorists Welcome! (2)

intermodal (534361) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085527)

The fact that you think the Feds operate under such a similar system to we the people tells me you don't follow politics as closely as you seem to think you do. By the logic you are using, we'd have to send the entire government to prison on charges running our full range of felonies. Racketeering, Ponzi schemes, war crimes... the list is far too extensive to cover here.

Re:October 17th Conspiracy Theorists Welcome! (0, Troll)

ArsonSmith (13997) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085077)

Because it's all a show!! There are no real cuts just a reverse dog and pony show to try to "prove" how important the federal government is.

Re:October 17th Conspiracy Theorists Welcome! (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085141)

So WIC does not exist in your world?

Re:October 17th Conspiracy Theorists Welcome! (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085211)

Not the point in the lease, the reduction of WIC is the no dog and no pony show that you are getting.

Re:October 17th Conspiracy Theorists Welcome! (1)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085231)

WIC is such a small part of the federal budget that it doesn't make any difference. It follows the pattern of everything else that's been "shut down." Nothing that actually costs the government enough money to make a difference has been affected: the military is still out killing brown people, people are still getting their medicare, it's just a few high-profile things like WIC, like the national monuments to cause enough of a stir. Naturally, Republicans are blaming Obama and Democrats are blaming the Republicans, keeping the status well and truly quo.

Re:October 17th Conspiracy Theorists Welcome! (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085395)

Which I why I suggest we fully fund WIC and defund our foreign wars.

We could start with small things like not buying tanks the military does not want and then move onto bigger things like not buying F-35s.

Re:October 17th Conspiracy Theorists Welcome! (2)

malakai (136531) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085249)

WILL SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN!
And the Women!
uhh.. AND THE INFANTS !

My god, WIC is a triple threat!

What's the difference by the way between a child and an infant. I wonder if some of these women aren't making double by labeling their child both a child and an infant.

There should be an investigation!

Re:October 17th Conspiracy Theorists Welcome! (4, Insightful)

malakai (136531) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085279)

Sadly, we'll pay all the back-pay, so it's really just a free vacation for more federal workers.

The ones who have to stay on their jobs with no pay really get the short end of the stick. Should given them a 33% bonus, and if they do a good job, should fire the workers they made up for.

Re:October 17th Conspiracy Theorists Welcome! (2)

gtall (79522) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085143)

You don't understand the cost of the Federal Gov. Last I checked, wages and such cost approximately $88 Billion/year (http://blogs.marketwatch.com/capitolreport/2013/10/01/send-furloughed-federal-workers-home-for-good-wont-save-much-money/) and that's from the discretionary side. Grandma, disability, medicaid, medicare, etc. is 2/3 of the approx. $3.8 trillion budget. So while much of the government (I would argue the effective part) is on furlough, Grandma is not, and boy will she be pissed if the pols put her on furlough. There'll be an army of blue haired retired people tar and feathering members of Congress, I'm stockpiling buckets of tar and old feather pillows for the event.

Re:October 17th Conspiracy Theorists Welcome! (2)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085299)

Grandma is not, and boy will she be pissed if the pols put her on furlough.

They've already cut her effective benefits in half with bureaucratic accounting tricks [youtube.com] .

Re:October 17th Conspiracy Theorists Welcome! (0)

MouseTheLuckyDog (2752443) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085319)

Putting up all those Barrycades costs money. So is the search for a gtarp large enough to cover the Grand Canyon.

Re:October 17th Conspiracy Theorists Welcome! (1)

mythosaz (572040) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085203)

Meanwhile an October 17th debt ceiling that will cripple the world economy goes mostly unnoticed.

Mostly unnoticed by whom?

The debt ceiling is the #2 political story right now, and delivered as a tie-in to the lead news story of the shutdown.

It's listed in the first story that Google News shows me about the shutdown -- and the shutdown is the first thing on the page. In short, the second story on Google News is debt ceiling.

Nope. (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084977)

Like they were going to stop earthquakes???

Re:Nope. (1)

thaylin (555395) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085067)

It is not just the earthquake that caused the meltdown, it was poorly designed safeguards against the earthquake.

Re:Nope. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45085083)

well, I think the poster is referring to this process:

http://www.nrc.gov/reactors/operating/ops-experience/japan-dashboard.html

Re:Nope. (1)

kannibal_klown (531544) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085107)

Like they were going to stop earthquakes???

It depends on how you define "incident"

If you mean "Prevent the natural disaster that occurred" then obviously they couldn't do anything. If you mean the cluster-f#@k that followed involving incompetence, lies, and not doing as much as you could to try to clean up afterwards... then yeh this plays into that.

Let's face it, if it hits the fan and there IS a natural disaster... you want to keep the amount of incompetence to a minimum. Having almost everyone who's responsible to monitor the reactors and coordinate with everyone in case of a cluster-f#@k isn't a great scenario.

The fact that Fukushima got hit by a disaster is a tragedy that nobody could stop. The fact that they were so ill-prepared afterwards COULD have been better. And the whole hand-waving thing afterwards has no excuse other than pride and greed.

I'm NOT saying that the US regs involving nukes are any better... I could see them being worse. But telling 90% of the people who's job it is to try to PREVENT the screw up isn't making things better.

Re:Nope. (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085219)

Like they were going to stop earthquakes???

How's that joke go - "What do you call 90% of an agency's bureaucrats standing out in front of a tsunami"?

Re:Nope. (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085297)

Hard at work?

How many does it take? (1, Funny)

chill (34294) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084985)

Checklist:

1. Is it glowing?
2. Is there a smoking, glowing crater where the plant used to be?

If both are no, the back to napping.

Re:How many does it take? (2)

tttonyyy (726776) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085253)

Checklist:

1. Is it glowing?
2. Is there a smoking, glowing crater where the plant used to be?

If both are no, the back to napping.

Perhaps an urban legend (I can't find a reference), but didn't operators of nuclear reactors used to sit on one legged chairs, so they couldn't nap at the controls?

Efforts to prevent a Fukushima-like incident (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45085001)

So the government can control earthquakes now? Sounds like some FUD to me. The millions of shipping containers going un-inspected pose a much bigger risk than a skeleton crew causing a meltdown. Smithers.... who is that fellow sleeping on the job? Simpson eh?

Re:Efforts to prevent a Fukushima-like incident (2)

thaylin (555395) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085089)

The meltdown could have been prevented had safeguards been put in place to save the plant from the resulting effects of the earthquake. The NRC has been hard at work in implementing the recommendations to prevent that here, by implementing those safeguards, that is what the article speaks about. It may be fud, but it is accurate fud.

things just went nuclear... (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45085007)

lol

Pushing the Button (1)

FredGauss (3087275) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085021)

As long as there is at least one person there to punch in the required code every 108 minutes, what's the worst than can happen.

And yet the TSA remains at the airport. (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45085023)

Why must the world be so cruel?

Re:And yet the TSA remains at the airport. (2)

intermodal (534361) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085339)

The answer to your rhetorical question of "why must the world be so cruel" is that our nation elected 536 preschoolers with suits and grey hair, expecting them to act like adults.

Destroy the US in order to save it (2, Insightful)

SoupGuru (723634) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085037)

In order to prevent people from feeling the economic pain of Obamacare it is necessary to inflict economic pain.

Re:Destroy the US in order to save it (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085173)

You act like these morons thought this out at all. Their Orange leader has not a single sensical thought in his head. Probably all that fake tan. All they know is if it says Obama on it they must fight it. No matter if it is a republican plan to begin with or not.

Unsafe Under 30 Days? (5, Interesting)

ScottCooperDotNet (929575) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085041)

If your nuclear systems become unsafe in under 30 days, are they really safe at all?

Some people are confused about why the lapse of appropriations is affecting the NRC when we collect fees for 90 percent of our budget. The bottom line is this: the NRC is not funded directly by the fees we collect. Fees collected by the NRC must be deposited in the U.S. Treasury, and the Congress provides us an appropriation.

Sounds like the NRC should be funded solely by fees paid by the companies they regulate.

Re:Unsafe Under 30 Days? (2)

thaylin (555395) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085183)

If you do that then congress has no control over the organization they created.

Re:Unsafe Under 30 Days? (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085491)

If you do that then congress has no control over the organization they created.

Ding ding ding! We have a winner.

Congress hates independent government agencies.
Without the power of the purse, they have nothing.

Remember the shit show over the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau?
Because it was created to be independent of Congress, all the Republicans could do is refuse to vote on the nominee for director.

Re:Unsafe Under 30 Days? (1)

malakai (136531) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085215)

Sounds like the NRC should be funded solely by fees paid by the companies they regulate.

I think we need to move the majority of government services to this concept. Sure, there are exceptions. But a lot of what the government does is necessary for commerce. And Commerce pays the government for those services. So let's take out the middle man, and allow entities like this to collect and manage their own funds. If they consistently go broke and come back to congress for more money, either OK a fee increase or fire the head and bring in a new one.

Re:Unsafe Under 30 Days? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45085401)

Nope. That makes things worse. You want your rice bowl filled?

Re:Unsafe Under 30 Days? (1)

Talderas (1212466) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085221)

Sounds more like, "We get to raid NRC fees for funds for other shit and starve the NRC whenever we feel like it." -Congress

Re:Unsafe Under 30 Days? (1)

Hatta (162192) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085273)

Conflict of interest. If the NRC is funded by those it regulates, it has an incentive to keep those funds coming, which won't happen if it shuts down plants.

Re:Unsafe Under 30 Days? (1)

mjr167 (2477430) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085481)

Or it will be motivated to fine plants...

Re:Unsafe Under 30 Days? (1)

malakai (136531) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085557)

Same conflict exists in all the inspector type operations. We seem to do fine. Your job may be funded by Tyson Chicken, but your boss works for the USDA, and so do you. IG's make sure there's no shenanigans.

Re:Unsafe Under 30 Days? (1)

guru42101 (851700) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085275)

I think a lot of areas should be funded solely by the fees paid. Especially ones involved in regulation.

Re:Unsafe Under 30 Days? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45085445)

That is incredibly shortsighted. What if a new nuclear plant design is unveiled, but we need new regulations to handle it, and to come up with the regulations required, the company pays the regulators directly to ... uh, how does that not beg for corruption in the worst way?

Government wasn't thought up by someone in their mom's basement... it exists the way it does because it works (mostly).

SNP (2)

SloWave (52801) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085071)

At least the Springfield Nuclear Plant is in good hands.

10% staffed... (5, Insightful)

malakai (136531) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085073)

Another way to look at this, is that the NRC determined it only needs 10% of it's work force for 'essential' operations. Makes me wonder why we pay for the other 90%.

Also, it's amazing to go through the list of government services and see which shutdown and which remain open. Often the ones remaining open work off of 'user' fees. For example, certain meat packing plants pay for food and safety inspectors being on site. Passport fees will keep most passport operations flowing.

One wonders why that power plan companies don't simply pay the NRC directly, like food inspectors.

This fee system seems like an elegant way to run a business....

Re:10% staffed... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45085157)

I agree that the NRC inspections could be paid by user fees.

I disagree that when a team elects a 'bare essentials' skeleton crew, that suddenly 90% of the workforce is unnecessary. This is the kind of thinking that lays off a dev team and outsources 10% of the manpower to India and expects the same product. Just because you can pick a couple of people to perhaps be on call when the world ends, does not mean the 90% are unnecessary. This mentality is what produces failed projects and missed deadlines.

Re:10% staffed... (2)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085255)

Makes me wonder why we pay for the other 90%.

Who else is going to deny every application to build safer, more modern reactors?

Re:10% staffed... (1)

malakai (136531) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085385)

Who else is going to deny every application to build safer, more modern reactors?

EPA kept 6% on staff.... probably enough to sign a piece of paper talking about some endangered owl on the future plant site....

Re:10% staffed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45085417)

This fee system seems like an elegant way to run a business....

Yes lets have our regulations carried out by the lowest bidder. There is a reason cops should be paid above what the market may decide on [webpronews.com] (not just most people not wanting to be in that line of work).

Do you really want regulators of nuclear power plants looking to pad their income?

Worse their is no democratic representation in a company (not likely to be much competition in the nuclear regulation market, this isn't something just anyone can do) so who is going to regulate the regulators? Politicians can and do get voted out for corruption and other scandals.

Re:10% staffed... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45085529)

Another way to look at this, is that the NRC determined it only needs 10% of it's work force for 'essential' operations. Makes me wonder why we pay for the other 90%.

"Essential" operations are also "short-term" operations. I do some work related to the NRC... one thing that they study is hazards to power plants. As it happens, these hazards are often geographically related -- hurricanes hit in one area, flooding is expected somewhere else, earthquakes and tsunamis... you get the idea. Because of this, it is often better to do risk assessment of this type for entire regions. This kind of work can be delayed a couple of weeks without any catastrophes, but it is critical in the long-term. Just because it is not "essential" this week does not mean that it is not important.

Also, it's amazing to go through the list of government services and see which shutdown and which remain open. Often the ones remaining open work off of 'user' fees. For example, certain meat packing plants pay for food and safety inspectors being on site.

And news reports suggest that corruption in the food and safety inspections starts this way.

Fukushima-like incident? (1)

EMG at MU (1194965) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085079)

regulatory efforts to prevent a Fukushima-like incident in the United States have ceased.

I didn't know the Nuclear Regulatory Commission prevented earthquakes. Japan's government wasn't shut down when Fukushima happened, why didn't Japan's regulators stop it?

Re:Fukushima-like incident? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45085287)

Because General Electric selected the location of the Fukushima 1 reactor back in the 50s. When they added 2,3,4 to the plant, they built them parallel without the original protective wall to the ocean. Fukushima 5 and 6 were built uphill and further back. They did not fail during the earthnami. However, this ignores the fact that Reactor 1 failed prior to the tsunami hitting the plants, probably due to pipes breaking during the shake so that the pumps couldn't do their job.

Thus, in summary - GE chose the original location badly so it was exposed to the tsunami, but all of the reactors had the potential to fail due to earthquake movement alone.

Re:Fukushima-like incident? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45085523)

Your sarcasm is misguided. The Fukushima disaster was caused by the lack of strong safety measures [wikipedia.org] .

Big Bird got $445 million (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45085097)

I wonder if the $445 million that Big Bird got would have helped to keep at least a few of those regulators around:

http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2013/10/08/government-gives-445-million-to-corporation-for-public-broadcasting-on-first/

Re:Big Bird got $445 million (1)

BenSchuarmer (922752) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085223)

Nope. The problem isn't lack of money. The problem is that congress and the president can't agree to spend the money.

Regulators not Operators (1)

zerosomething (1353609) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085101)

It's not like a "Regulator" can actually fix anything if it goes wrong. "No disaster here move along". Now they could prevent the operators from saying "No disaster here move along." That's a little bit important but again not a disaster.

FAA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45085113)

I've got fucking stunt planes buzzing my office all day at Bentonville Municipal Airport (VBT). Doing all sorts of crazy aerobatic shit right over the god damn airport and surrounding homes and my office! Less than 100 feet of the ground sometimes. I can see the god damn rivets on the underside of the plane when it buzzes my office. Sounds like WWII outside. Worse than a million boomcars driving around all day. Surely this isn't legal? What if I needed to make an emergency landing at this airstrip if I were a pilot flying my personal plane? You got crazy jackasses doing the equivalent of donuts all over the road.

Filed a complaint with the Little Rock Flight Standards District Office. Called them and got a busy signal. Emailed them and got a response back stating that they are in "caretaker mode" and don't have the federal funding or resources to investigate this issue.

Meh. Didn't think the FAA was affected by this, but I guess they are.

Re:FAA (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45085321)

Cool story, bro.

Wait, "congressional approval"? (3, Informative)

intermodal (534361) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085127)

It takes two to tango. Both the congress and president are to blame. Appropriations may originate in the House, but they also have to pass the Senate and either get signed by the President or overriden after a veto by a highly unified body of legislators over at the Capitol.

If the House is holding true to their strategy as used so far this round, they've probably approved this expenditure piecemal and been rejected or not taken up by the Senate. Call it political if you like, but any politician that refuses to do so deserves to to be run out of Washington on a rail.

Re:Wait, "congressional approval"? (2)

thaylin (555395) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085333)

Any politician that refuses to do what exactly? Give in to threat by a minority of people to revoke a law, or send the US crashing? Sounds like the end of the constitution to me.

Re:Wait, "congressional approval"? (4, Informative)

intermodal (534361) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085429)

I'm not sure you understand the constitution if you don't understand how passing a non-omnibus appropriations bill works.

Do nuclear reactors require daily REGULATION? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45085263)

It's not the actual nuclear plant employees that are furloughed - even if there WERE such employees on the federal payroll, they would be "essential" and still on the job.

It is the "regulators" - aka safety inspectors that are furloughed.

Now, this brings the question - is the role they play absolutely necessary on a day-to-day basis? Even weekly? I doubt it. It's not like some nuclear plant company is going to go "Oh, well then, if they're off work I'll just start spewing toxic waste into the Susquehanna River, nobody will notice!"

Yes, the government needs to be restored to functioning (well, the 'restored' part may be up to debate...) But a day, a week, even a month off for *MOST* departments isn't going to cause major issues. The financial impacts of governmental instability are far worse than the actual 'functional' impacts.

So counterproductive (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45085303)

I can't stand the dogma that says the government can't do anything right. One of my clients just ran up another $50 on their legal bill because I couldn't search the geographic names database that the USGIS runs. Some of this stuff, there's literally no substitute for- and I guess I'd count nuclear regulators among them.

Re:So counterproductive (1)

malakai (136531) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085425)

That's one way to look at it.

The other way to look at it is, the USGIS name database should have been contracted and paid for in say 10 year increments. Any funding disruption less than a full year should not impact them...

Plenty of other departments of the government are running just fine off user fees too. Not sure if USGIS required a fee to use, but why not ask for 10 bucks a year to cover their data hosting costs.

Re:So counterproductive (1)

malakai (136531) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085495)

Also this: http://www.geonames.org/ [geonames.org]

Panic Needlessly (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085315)

That would impress me at all if the ACTUAL work being done to keep nuclear reactors safe was not all done by the workers actually monitoring the reactors. The government organization is in charge of the REGULATIONS around nuclear reactors. Regulations existing reactors all conform to already...

It might hamper a new nuclear reactor being built; but since there are so many other people trying to do that anyway I can't see we'll notice much of an effect.

The sky is falling! (1)

jbmartin6 (1232050) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085341)

regulatory efforts to prevent a Fukushima-like incident in the United States have ceased

As usual when we read a panicked outburst like this in the summary, we know it isn't true. For instance, TFA says ""We are going to make sure that we continue our oversight of the plants because the resident inspectors will be on duty, and we are prepared to respond to an emergency on short notice," then goes on to mention that additional help will be recalled if there is in incident. In other words, the same thing that happens if there is an incident at midnight on a Saturday.

beyond scare tactics (1)

harvey the nerd (582806) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085345)

Whether there are any essential NRC actions that are impacted by NRC furloughs, this step is meant to terrorize and discomfit the population for political ends. The community organizer meets the Constitution's "enemies, foreign and domestic" phrase as well as high crimes and misdemeanors

A game for sheep (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45085381)

There is NO real shutdown, nor could there be. Instead, Team Obama runs publicity stunts, and the 'George Soros' press, Slashdot included, gives maximum publicity to these stunts.

The psy-op for the sheeple has several interesting dimensions. The main one is pushing the fiction that the Publican puppet-masters and the Democrat puppet-masters are two separate, opposing power groups, rather than the same people.

Here's a clue for those of you too thick to spot the truth. Rupert Murdoch runs right-wing and extreme zionist propaganda outlets across the planet, including Fox News. Bill Gates sits on many so-called left-wing foundations and backs so-called 'liberal' news outlets. And yet Bill Gates and Rupert Murdoch formed a partnership to create the COMMON CORE curriculum for US schools, and to create the inBloom full surveillance database of ALL children in the USA. Your masters do NOT who who or what they are- they just assume you are so very very thick that you will 'learn' everything about life from news outlets that they control.

Obama has ordered his goons to treat ordinary people like criminals and terrorists at all public spaces under US government control, and then George Soros orders his outlets to blame Republicans for the fact that citizens are being threatened at gunpoint, attacked and arrested when they try to use THEIR facilities. This works because in the US, most sheeple belong to Team Democrat, or Team Republican, and will cheer ANYTHING their team does, no matter how vile, and boo anything the other team does, no matter how reasonable.

By all measures, Obama is an infinitely worse monster than either Bush, but George Soros instructs his useful idiots that 'liberals', by definition, can do no evil.

Nuclear regulators can safely be sent home because, truly, their jobs serve no useful purpose. Nuclear power is NOT deployed because it is safe (although making it appear this way usefully wins public confidence). Nuclear power exists to provide facilities where the material for America's nuclear bombs are created/processed. The people that make nuclear plants 'safe' are those that design and operate them. If, for whatever reason, they are doing a lousy job, you are going to have 'problems'. No-one, and I mean ***NO-ONE*** cares to deal with the issue of unforeseen circumstances and accidents. Fukishima and Chenobyl can just as easily happen in the USA if the wrong circumstances arise. However, the USA has inherently better quality control and training than most places.

If you are NOT hating Obama for the games he is playing with your nation, and YOUR facilities, there is something wrong with your brain. However, if you did not have a million other reasons to hate Obama before this latest obscenity, there is no saving you anyway. The game of left vs right is a game for sheeple. In the USA, as in most nations of the West, you no longer have democratic rights, since your system ONLY allows possible winner to come from the exact same power base. Every US president to come will massively grow the US war-machine, massively extent the police-state, massively increase NSA spying on the general population, give absolute fealty to the depraved Siamese twins named Israel and Saudi Arabia, and do everything they can to craft the circumstances needed for the next World War.

Good, they are bad luck. (1)

technosaurus (1704630) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085457)

Many incidents occur when a regulator (who is not normally present) is "overseeing" something.

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