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NEI Welcomes Legislation to Clarify NRC Commissioner Roles

Sept. 19, 2013—The Nuclear Energy Institute has commended bills introduced in the House and Senate this week that seek to clarify the roles of NRC commissioners on policy and rulemaking actions.

Alex Flint, NEI’s senior vice president for governmental affairs, said the Nuclear Regulatory Reorganization Plan Codification and Complements Act, introduced by Rep. Lee Terry (R-Neb.) and Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), would codify the Reorganization Act of 1980 to “reinforce the fundamental principle that federal commissions are to act as collegial bodies.”

The bills would disperse “power from the NRC chairman to all five commissioners to avoid future abuses of power and mismanagement,” a news release from Terry’s office said. It would require that NRC members have equal access to all information within the agency, and the power to fill vacancies.

“The legislation recognizes the leadership role of the chairman while promoting greater collaboration among commissioners and ensuring that all commissioners can fully participate in agency decisions,” Flint said. “The bill recognizes that sound public policy is most successfully developed and implemented when commissioners share all relevant information and jointly consider policy matters,” he said.

He added, “We believe that the legislation also would improve the agency’s performance in the event of an emergency. It correctly balances the chairman’s authority to declare an emergency and address any immediate issues with the need to quickly notify to the full commission, Congress and the public.”