New bill calls for improvements in NRC oversight practices

August 2, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News


Rep. Debbie Lesko (R., Ariz.) last week introduced legislation to require the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to assess its nuclear power plant oversight and inspection practices and to implement improvements.

According to a press release from Lesko’s office, the bill—the Advancing Nuclear Regulatory Oversight Act—directs the NRC to report to Congress any policies that it revised or suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic and how these changes impacted the agency’s ability to conduct its oversight duties. In addition, the measure requires the NRC to submit a report identifying improvements to its oversight and inspection programs to maximize efficiency without compromising safety.

Words from the sponsor: “I am proud to introduce this legislation to require the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to provide a comprehensive report to Congress on how they can safely improve their oversight and inspection programs and save taxpayers’ money,” said Lesko. “For example, the NRC already has inspectors on-site at nuclear power plants, yet they send additional inspectors to conduct oversight of operations that on-site inspectors can do. The NRC then bills the companies for having sent these additional inspectors. This is a waste of government resources and creates unnecessary costs for nuclear companies.”

In case you missed it: In early June, Lesko debuted a one-page bill, the Domestic Uranium Saves America Act, aimed at providing a pathway for increased uranium production in the United States by adding uranium to the U.S. Geological Survey’s critical minerals list.

The critical minerals list was initially developed in 2018 in response to a December 2017 Trump administration executive order. Uranium was included as one of 35 minerals on the original list but was dropped from a revised list issued by the USGS in February of this year.

Joining Lesko in sponsoring the bill were Reps. Andy Biggs (R., Ariz.), Madison Cawthorn (R., N.C.), Paul Gosar (R., Ariz.), and David Schweikert (R., Ariz.).

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