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Rule

Retirement Eligibility for Nuclear Materials Couriers Under CSRS and FERS

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Office of Personnel Management.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is adopting its interim regulations applicable to nuclear materials couriers employed under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and the Federal Employees' Retirement System (FERS). These final rules are pursuant to the Strom Thurmond National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1999 enacted on October 17, 1998. The Act provides early retirement and enhanced annuity benefits for nuclear materials couriers employed by the United States Department of Energy under CSRS and FERS; requires an increase in the percentage rate of withholdings from the basic pay of nuclear material couriers; and establishes mandatory retirement of nuclear materials couriers at age 57. These regulations are necessary to put the new retirement provisions into effect.

DATES:

Final rules effective September 28, 2000.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Kenneth R. Brown, (202) 606-0299.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

On January 18, 2000, we published (at 65 FR 2521) interim regulations to implement the provisions of section 3154 of Public Law 105-261, enacted October 17, 1998, which governs the retirement eligibility, annuity benefits and deductions from basic pay of nuclear materials couriers employed by the United States Department of Energy under CSRS and FERS.

OPM received comments from one Federal agency. The commenter proposed that, for the purpose of entitlement to early retirement and enhanced annuity authorized by Public Law 105-261, the regulations be amended to extend coverage under that law for service performed as a nuclear materials courier prior to October 1, 1977, by employees of the predecessor agencies of the Department of Energy. We are unable to implement that proposal. Section 3154 of Public Law 105-261, for purposes of benefits under CSRS and FERS, specifically defines nuclear materials courier as “an employee of the Department of Energy * * *” We are aware that the nuclear materials courier function was performed by employees of the Department of Energy's predecessor agencies (Atomic Energy Commission and the Energy Research and Development Administration). However, the statutory definition reflects the specific intent and understanding between OPM and the Department of Energy that only service performed by couriers since the establishment of the Department of Energy on October 1, 1977, would be used in determining entitlement to early retirement and enhanced benefits under sections 8336(c) (CSRS) and 8412(d) (FERS) of title 5 U.S. Code as amended by Public Law 105-261. This intent is further manifested in 5 U.S.C. 8334, as amended by the law, which lists the applicable employee deductions for nuclear materials couriers under CSRS beginning on October 1, 1977. Additionally, the higher agency contributions and additional annual Start Printed Page 52296payments by the Department of Energy to reimburse the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund for the estimated increase in the unfunded liability to the Fund are based on estimated additional costs of using courier service only since October 1, 1977, to provide the enhanced benefits and early retirement.

Accordingly, we are now adopting the interim regulations as final without change.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

I certify that this regulation will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities because the regulation will only affect retirement benefits of retired nuclear materials couriers and their survivors.

Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Review

This rule has been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget in accordance with Executive Order 12866.

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List of Subjects in 5 CFR Parts 831 and 842

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U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Janice R. Lachance,

Director.

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Accordingly, OPM is adopting its interim rules amending

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[FR Doc. 00-22003 Filed 8-28-00; 8:45 am]

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