WASHINGTON, D.C.—Legislation introduced in the U.S. Senate today would provide for continuity of service on the five-member Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The measure would amend the Energy Reorganization Act to allow a commissioner to continue in office until a successor is confirmed. The chief sponsors of the “Nuclear Regulatory Commission Continuation Act” are Sens. James Webb (D-Va.) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) The Nuclear Energy Institute’s senior vice president for governmental affairs, Alex Flint, made the following comments about the legislation.
“The Nuclear Energy Institute thanks Senators Webb and Alexander for introducing legislation that will have a meaningful, lasting impact on the effective conduct of oversight responsibilities carried out by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The industry supports this legislation and believes it should be enacted in a timely fashion.
“By fostering the continuation of service as is standard practice at most independent regulatory agencies, this legislation will prevent gaps in NRC leadership that need not occur. The commission functions most effectively when it has a full complement of five commissioners, and the nuclear energy industry believes Congress’ highest priority should be ensuring that vacancies on the Commission do not occur.
“During the next few years, the NRC will be challenged to continue its inspection and licensing activities while analyzing the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident and determine what changes, if any, may be necessary in NRC requirements. Continuity and stability of the five-member Commission during this critical time will be essential to ensure that NRC staff and companies operating commercial nuclear facilities have clear guidance on implementation of the lessons learned. This will help the agency better achieve its mission at the same time that it enhances public confidence in the NRC’s independence and effectiveness.”