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Nuclear Energy Institute
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 12, 2011
Contact: media@nei.org, 202.739.8000 or 703.644.8805 (after hours and weekends)

Effective Regulation of Nuclear Energy Important for Public Confidence in NRC

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The following statement concerning the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is from the Nuclear Energy Institute’s president and chief executive officer, Marvin Fertel:

“Safe performance of nuclear energy facilities and the NRC’s credibility are the two most important factors for policymaker and public confidence in nuclear energy. As such, the industry is concerned with anything that threatens the credibility of either. We are confident that Congress and the White House will take the steps necessary to ensure that the NRC is an efficient, effective regulator that provides oversight of commercial nuclear technology.

“The issue that is of most concern is the question of a chilled working environment at the agency, including the possibility of staff intimidation and harassment, at a time when the senior management and staff are working on critical licensing activities and post-Fukushima safety recommendations. The industry takes safety culture issues seriously and we expect the same priority treatment of these issues by our regulator.

“The NRC functions best when it has a full complement of five capable commissioners to provide guidance and direction to the NRC staff. Safety is maximized when NRC and industry resources are focused on those matters that are most important to safety. It is important that the dynamics that exist within the commission be resolved professionally and expeditiously so that the important work of the agency can continue without interruption or distraction. The American people expect and deserve nothing less.

“The industry’s commitment to nuclear power plant safety is unwavering and we will not be distracted from this mission by events at the NRC. Of the top 20 performing plants in the world, 16 of them are American reactors. The industry exceeds federal safety standards and it is critical that our entire industry keep a sharp focus on safety. Furthermore, the industry is taking steps to make safe nuclear energy facilities even safer by applying the lessons learned from the accident in Japan at America’s nuclear power plants.”