Vacancies undermine the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s mission
The American Nuclear Society (ANS) requests President Biden restore the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to five commissioners by naming and expediting nominees to the agency. The impending vacancy of Commissioner Annie Caputo’s seat after June 30 will reduce the five-member NRC to three commissioners. NRC commissioners are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate for staggered five-year terms.
In a July 1 letter, ANS President Steven Nesbit and ANS CEO and Executive Director Craig Piercy told President Biden that a full complement of five commissioners is essential to the effectiveness of the NRC in protecting public health and safety while enabling the deployment and applications of nuclear technology.
Nesbit and Piercy recommended President Biden act expeditiously and nominate qualified nuclear professionals to fill Caputo’s seat and an additional seat vacated by former chair Kristine Svinicki in January:
“ANS believes the Commission should be well-rounded in terms of education and experience. To restore the needed balance, the White House should seek nominees who are scientists or engineers with significant, recognized accomplishments in their field. Fortunately, the nation has many such qualified candidates, including Ms. Caputo.”
ANS noted that most NRC commissioners have had technical educations and backgrounds as the regulators oversee a highly technical field. “However, with Ms. Caputo’s departure from the Commission, it has no remaining members with a strong technical foundation,” ANS said.
As the scientific and professional organization for over 10,000 nuclear engineers and technologists in the U.S., ANS offered to assist the administration. “We recognize the challenges the White House faces in nominating the right candidates for important federal positions like NRC Commissioner. ANS stands ready to assist in any way it can.”
Established in 1954, ANS is an international professional organization of engineers and scientists devoted to the peaceful applications of nuclear science and technology. Its more than 10,000 members represent government, academia, research laboratories, medical facilities, and private industry. ANS’s mission is to advance, foster, and spur the development and application of nuclear science, engineering, and technology to benefit society.