Thursday, October 1003:01 GMT: The Federal Aviation Administration has recalled 800 of the over 3,000 aircraft inspectors who were ruled non-essential at the beginning of the shutdown to oversee the “most critical” aspects of airplane production, the FAA announced in a statement. Since October 1 FAA inspectors have not been able to perform random safety checks, analyze flight data for safety trends, or examine airline maintenance procedures.
02:53 GMT: The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission will have no choice but to close on Thursday due to the ongoing government shutdown, agency spokesman Eliot Brenner told reporters. The NRC is responsible for maintaining the safety of US nuclear plants, and will furlough 3,600 of its 3,900 researchers and engineers, although all resident inspectors at nuclear sites would remain on duty. Brenner also said enough staff will remain on hand to respond to emergencies but all other functions would be severely restricted. The agency’s daily reactor status and event report will not be available during the shutdown.
02:40 GMT: Influential Republicans in the House are considering a short-term increase in the US debt limit, a move that could potentially break the stalemate in Washington and save the US from what some fear would be devastating economic damage. Officials told the Associated Press Wednesday night that rank and file Republicans are expected to debate the issue Thursday before Speaker Boehner, and a small cadre will meet with President Obama in the White House. What, if any, conditions the bill would carry remain unknown, but the sources did say that raising the debt ceiling has taken precedence over resolving the shutdown among Washington lawmakers.