The Energy Department is prioritizing the three "Gs" in its government shutdown plan issued Friday: Guns, guards, and gates.
"Under the protection of property exception, DOE will be physically protecting the sites," prioritizing "guns, guards, and gates" while "maintaining government equipment and property," according to the shutdown plan.
The plan also will include caring for lab animals and ensuring that nuclear test reactors operate as normal and don't melt down if the government goes on an indefinite hiatus.
The House passed its version of a short-term spending bill Thursday night, leaving it up to the Senate to sign off on the bill by midnight or risk a government closure.
The Energy Department said the three-G priorities go into effect once all current appropriated funds dry up.
The Energy Department "operates with multi-year and no-year money," which means "each component of DOE will continue to operate until prior year balances for funding of federal employees is exhausted."
In the immediate future, Energy Secretary Rick Perry will expect two things from federal workers and contractors. First, federal employees are "to continue to report for work as scheduled" until a "prolonged lapse in appropriations" requires employee furloughs.
"If there is an imminent threat to human life or protection of property, a limited number of employees may be recalled from furlough status," the plan noted.
Second, the department will continue to perform within the guidelines of previously agreed to contracts and financial assistance instruments, it read.
"However, depending upon the length of the lapse of the appropriations, whether government oversight is needed, and the availability of prior-year funding, the department may need to review the activities of its contractors and only those activities where the suspension of the function of the contract would imminently threaten the safety of human life or the protection of property will be permitted to continue," the plan continued.
The agency said it can shut down all "non-excepted" federal functions within a half day after funds run out. Some exceptions also involve the movement of nuclear materials. "However, it will take longer than a half day to do that for some contractor performed activities in order to protect property," it said.
Nearly half of the functions of the Energy Department are related to maintaining the nation's nuclear weapons stockpile. Under a shutdown scenario, the Office of Secure Transportation, which is part of the agency that makes and maintains bombs, will "ensure that the stockpile is in secure locations and will recall employees as needed in the event that nuclear weapons must be transported during the [funding] lapse."