WASHINGTON, D.C.—Legislation introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives today would permit a commissioner of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to continue to serve on the NRC until a successor is confirmed or until the end of the Congress. Currently, once a commissioner’s term has expired, the commissioner must leave the agency and a vacancy results until a new or re-appointed commissioner is confirmed. Tony Pietrangelo, the Nuclear Energy Institute’s senior vice president and chief nuclear officer, made the following comment about the introduction of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission Continuation Act by U.S. Reps. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) and Mike Ross (D-AR):
“The nuclear energy industry welcomes the introduction of this important legislation. We thank Congressmen Kinzinger and Ross for introducing it, and the many other House members who are cosponsoring it on a bipartisan basis.
“An independent, credible regulatory agency is required for public confidence in the safety of commercial nuclear energy facilities. During the next few years, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission will be challenged to continue its inspection and licensing activities while analyzing the Fukushima Daiichi accident and determining 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 the companies that operate nuclear energy facilities have clear guidance on implementation of the lessons learned.
“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. This legislation helps immensely to achieve that goal.”