NRC Hanson's renomination clears Senate committee

May 2, 2024, 9:30AMNuclear News


The U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee voted 18–1 yesterday to advance the renomination of Christopher T. Hanson as a member of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Hanson has been a commissioner since 2020, and was named chair by President Biden in January 2021. The full U.S. Senate will consider Hanson’s nomination later this month.

Voices of support: “Chair Hanson is a dedicated public [servant] who has thoughtfully and . . . skillfully led the [NRC] during his tenure as its chair. Throughout his time on the[NRC], he has demonstrated his commitment to ensuring the safety and the security of our nation’s use of nuclear energy,” said EPW committee chair Tom Carper (D., Del.) before the vote.

Ranking member Shelley Moore Capito (R., W.Va.) voted in favor of Hanson’s nomination, citing various commitments he has made:

  • Improve the timeliness and efficiency of the NRC’s review and approval process to keep operating reactors on line.
  • Increase efficiency of advanced reactor licensing.
  • Improve the NRC’s culture to better carry out its mission.
  • streamline the NRC’s internal operations.
  • Take accountability and fix the NRC’s shortcomings.

“We should focus on increasing the [nation’s energy] supply from baseload, reliable power sources, like nuclear energy,” Capito said. “The NRC chairman’s leadership is central to achieving that goal.”

“Chair Hanson must lead the NRC to ensure that the NRC staff is prepared to meet this critical moment,” she added. “During Chair Hanson’s confirmation hearing, I raised concerns about some of the ways that he managed the NRC and the need to establish an effective, timely, and affordable licensing review process. I would like to thank Chair Hanson for his commitments to address some of those concerns, such as directing the staff to get the subsequent license renewal review and approval process back on track. In light of these commitments, I will support Chairman Hanson’s nomination. I will also monitor the agency’s progress as these commitments are implemented.”

Background: Hanson was nominated for a seat on the commission by President Trump in February 2020 to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Stephen Burns. His appointment was confirmed by the Senate in May of that year. He is currently serving the remainder of Burns’s term, which expires on June 30, 2024.

Hanson has more than two decades of government and private-sector experience in nuclear energy, fuel cycle, security, and radioactive waste issues. Prior to joining the NRC, he served as a staff member on the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Energy and Water Subcommittee under Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.), and before that as a senior advisor in the Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy. Hanson also was a consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton, where he led multiple engagements for government and industry.

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