The Senate last evening confirmed by voice vote Annie Caputo and Bradley R. Crowell to seats on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, returning the agency to its full, five-member complement. Caputo’s term expires in June 2026, Crowell’s in June 2027.
Nominated by President Biden in May to serve on the commission, Caputo and Crowell appeared before the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee on June 8 to field questions. On July 27, the EPW Committee unanimously approved both and sent their nominations to the Senate floor.
“With nuclear power providing over half of all carbon-free energy in our country, the importance of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s role in maintaining the safe operation of our existing nuclear fleet and preparing for the next generation of nuclear reactors cannot be overstated,” said Sen. Tom Carper (D., Del.), EPW chairman, in an August 2 statement. “Both Mr. Crowell and Ms. Caputo are proven leaders and consensus builders. Their confirmations to the NRC will fill long-standing vacancies, allowing the agency to more effectively carry out its responsibilities to the American people.”
Background: Caputo is a familiar name in nuclear circles, given that she concluded a three-year stint on the NRC in June 2021. She was most recently a consultant for Idaho National Laboratory regarding international collaboration on advanced reactors. In addition, she has worked as a professional staff member and senior policy advisor for the EPW Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Prior to that, she held positions involving nuclear fuel and government affairs at Exelon Corporation.
Crowell has more than 20 years of experience in the fields of energy, environment, natural resources, climate change, and national security, including executive leadership positions in federal and state governments. He most recently served as director of the Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. He also worked in the Obama administration and in 2013 was confirmed by the Senate as assistant secretary of energy for congressional and intergovernmental affairs. Notably, from 2004 to 2007, Crowell worked as a legislative advocate for the antinuclear Natural Resources Defense Council.
Our take: “The American Nuclear Society applauds the Senate for restoring the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to five commissioners with the confirmations of Annie Caputo and Bradley Crowell,” ANS President Steven Arndt and Executive Director/CEO Craig Piercy stated in a press release. “A full five-member commission is essential to the effectiveness of the NRC in protecting public health and safety while enabling the deployment and applications of new nuclear technologies. The American Nuclear Society has consistently highlighted the need for a full commission of qualified individuals, preferably with strong technical education and backgrounds.
“The NRC has a vital role to play in addressing our most pressing climate and energy security challenges. We look forward to commissioners Caputo and Crowell’s tenures in overseeing the continued safe and efficient operation of our current nuclear power plants and in establishing an effective licensing framework for a new generation of nuclear technologies.”