NRC’s RIC to focus on nuclear's changing landscape

January 29, 2024, 12:03PMNuclear News

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has opened registration for its 36th annual Regulatory Information Conference, to be held March 12–14 online and in person in North Bethesda, Md. The NRC is expecting several thousand attendees from the United States and around the world for the three-day event.

Registration is required to attend. The full conference program and registration information is available on the NRC’s RIC website and on NRC social media platforms under the tag #NRCRIC2024.

Report: White House drops Jeff Baran as NRC nominee

January 23, 2024, 9:30AMNuclear News

Baran

The White House has given up on the renomination of former Nuclear Regulatory Commission member Jeff Baran because of bipartisan opposition in the Senate, according to multiple media reports. After a handful of Democrats joined Senate Republicans to block the nomination last year, President Biden has decided to drop Baran as his pick, HuffPost first reported on Monday.

Baran joined the five-person federal panel in 2014 as an appointee of former president Barack Obama. The NRC oversees atomic energy and radiation safety and has become increasingly politicized in recent years, as different parties push for new processes and procedures for building new reactor types and expanding nuclear infrastructure.

Baran’s term ended in June 2023, and since then the commission has been without a tie-breaker for party-line votes among the four current members. Come June 30, NRC chair Christopher Hanson will complete his term and has yet to be renominated.

Lawmakers urge federal funding for Palisades restart

December 23, 2023, 3:30PMNuclear News
Palisades nuclear power plant. (Photo: Holtec)

A bipartisan group of nine House members is calling on the Department of Energy to give “fair, full, and swift consideration” to Holtec International’s application for DOE Loan Programs Office funding to restart the company’s Palisades nuclear plant, closed last year by the facility’s previous owner, Entergy.

Recap: The 2023 ANS Winter Meeting

December 6, 2023, 3:03PMNuclear News

The American Nuclear Society’s 2023 Winter Meeting and Expo opened on November 12, and its packed opening plenary the next day generated a lot of buzz. Featured speakers included West Virginia senators Shelley Moore Capito and Joe Manchin as well as Nuclear Regulatory Commission chair Christopher Hanson. They each addressed top issues facing the nuclear enterprise to a full house of more than 1,000 members of the wider nuclear community.

W.V. senators Capito, Manchin address ANS Winter Meeting

November 14, 2023, 7:01AMNuclear News

The American Nuclear Society’s 2023 Winter Meeting and Expo opened on November 12 and its packed opening plenary the next day generated a lot of buzz. Featured speakers included West Virginia senators Shelley Moore Capito and Joe Manchin as well as Nuclear Regulatory Commission chair Christopher Hanson. They each addressed top issues facing the nuclear enterprise to a full house of more than 1,000 members of the wider nuclear community.

ANS's Piercy interviews NRC chair Christopher Hanson

September 22, 2023, 7:37AMANS News

American Nuclear Society Executive Director/CEO Craig Piercy visited One White Flint North, where he sat down with U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission chair Christopher Hanson for a one-on-one interview on September 18, 2023. The interview is available exclusively to ANS members to watch this week before it is released to the public. ANS members won’t want to miss the hour-long discussion, where Hanson opens up about important topics facing the NRC and the nuclear community and what he sees as the big successes during his first term as chair.

U.S., Polish nuclear regulators renew pact

June 29, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News
From left, NRC chair Christopher Hanson and PAA president Andrzej Głowacki sign a cooperation agreement in Washington, D.C. (Photo: PAA)

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Poland’s National Atomic Energy Agency (PAA) have renewed their cooperation agreement for the next five years.

NRC advisors give nod to Hermes construction permit

June 2, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News
A rendering of the Hermes low-power demonstration reactor. (Image: Kairos Power)

Having completed its review of the construction permit application for Kairos Power’s Hermes test reactor early last month, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards (ACRS) recently submitted its conclusions to the agency, recommending approval.

NRC chairman visits ANS student section at University of Puerto Rico

September 21, 2022, 12:00PMANS News
Highlights from Chairman Hanson’s visit with the ANS student section at UPRM. (Photos: NRC/Twitter)

The American Nuclear Society student section at the University of Puerto Rico—Mayagüez (UPRM) recently welcomed Christopher T. Hanson, chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. While at UPRM, Hanson met with graduate students conducting nuclear-related research, as well as with deans, professors, and other university officials. He also delivered a speech, “Preparing to Regulate the Nuclear Technology of the Future.”

Agency favors revising population-related siting rules for advanced reactors

July 28, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission recently approved, in a 2–1 vote, a recommendation from its staff that could potentially lead to the siting of advanced reactors in more densely populated areas than is permitted for traditional light water units.

NRC chairman Christopher Hanson and David Wright voted in favor of the recommendation, with Jeffery Baran casting the lone “nay” vote. (There are currently two open seats on the five-member commission.)

NRC’s new strategic plan includes stakeholder confidence goals

April 6, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission yesterday unveiled its Strategic Plan: Fiscal Years 2022-2026, providing what it terms “a blueprint for how the agency will plan, implement, and monitor the work needed to ensure the safe and secure use of radioactive materials.”

According to the NRC, the four-year plan also includes a new focus on efforts to inspire stakeholder confidence and to continue fostering a healthy organization.

From the chairman: The 38-page document includes a message from the NRC chairman, Christopher Hanson: “In expanding the strategic plan to incorporate these areas of focus, I believe that this strategic plan will serve the agency better over the next four years by providing a clear roadmap that can be utilized in budget development and the agency’s ongoing implementation of the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018."

NRC rescinds subsequent license renewals

March 1, 2022, 3:07PMNuclear News
Florida Power & Light’s Turkey Point nuclear plant.

In a major change to its subsequent license renewal process, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission last week ruled that reviews of SLR applications must rely on a more extensive environmental analysis than that provided by the agency’s Generic Environmental Impact Statement for License Renewal of Nuclear Plants (GEIS). According to the ruling, the GEIS, properly understood, does not cover the SLR period.

Looking back at 2021—Nuclear News January through March

January 7, 2022, 10:35AMNuclear News

This is the second of five articles to be posted today to look back at the top news stories of 2021 for the nuclear community. The full article, "Looking back at 2021,"was published in the January 2022 issue of Nuclear News.

Quite a year was 2021. In the following stories, we have compiled what we feel are the past year’s top news stories from the January-March time frame—please enjoy this recap from a busy year in the nuclear community.

  • Click here to see the first article in the series.

The NRC: Observations on commissioner appointments

February 26, 2021, 4:59PMUpdated December 27, 2021, 4:00PMNuclear NewsSteven P. Nesbit and Paul T. Dickman
The NRC Commission following the departure of Chairman Svinicki in January and Commissioner Caputo in June of this year.

At the end of 2021, Nuclear News is taking a look back at some of the feature articles published each month in the magazine. This article is from our February issue that focused on policy. Hopefully, Nuclear News will be updating this story in 2022 if the Biden administration follows the recommendation of ANS leadership to fill the vacant seats.

In 2015, we wrote an article for Nuclear News analyzing the history of commissioners appointed to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and assessing their backgrounds, experience, and qualifications at the time of their appointment. At the time, ANS had not established a formal position statement on NRC commissioner appointees. Our article provided an objective assessment of historical patterns and was used to develop ANS position statement #77, The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (2016). This article draws upon the 2015 article and provides updated data and analysis. Also, the recommendations of the position statement are applied to the current vacancy on the commission.

At Senate hearing, Markey attacks, Hanson defends

December 8, 2021, 9:36AMANS Nuclear Cafe

Markey

At an otherwise congenial Nuclear Regulatory Commission oversight hearing held last week by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Sen. Ed Markey (D., Mass.) made clear his strong disagreement with the agency’s November 3 decision to approve a proposed rule amending regulations for nuclear plants undergoing decommissioning.

“I fear the NRC now stands for Not Recognizing Concerns,” Markey said. “The NRC has decided that the best way to shield itself from criticism around the decommissioning process is to take itself out of the process. In the latest version of the proposed decommissioning rule, the NRC would have no ability to approve, no ability to change, no ability to deny plants’ decommissioning proposals, known as post-shutdown decommissioning activities reports. Its only job would be to acknowledge receipt of the report. Our independent nuclear safety regulator would serve as a glorified filing cabinet. Ceding the job of regulator to the nuclear industry itself is not a win for safety, communities, or for the energy sector.”

ANS weighs in on NRC vacancies

December 8, 2021, 7:00AMANS News

In a November letter to President Biden, ANS president Steven Nesbit and U.S. Nuclear Industry Council president and chief executive officer Bud Albright urged the president to proceed with nominations for the two open seats on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The letter stated, “The NRC operates best with a full complement of five qualified commissioners who have diverse and complementary backgrounds. . . . Unfortunately, the commission was last at full strength in January 2021, nearly a year ago.”

NRC names new director for operations

October 5, 2021, 2:40PMNuclear News

Dorman

Daniel H. Dorman has been chosen as the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s next executive director for operations, effective October 10. He succeeds Margaret M. Doane, who leaves the agency October 8 to take a senior position with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Dorman currently serves as the NRC’s deputy executive director for reactor and preparedness programs, which includes oversight of all four of the agency’s regional offices.

“Dan has admirably served the NRC for more than 30 years in key leadership positions,” said NRC chairman Christopher T. Hanson. “He is someone who keenly understands the needs of our agency and our people. Dan is a problem solver, a champion for agency modernization and innovation, and has proven through results his ability to rally our staff for a common purpose. He has earned the respect of our workforce, the NRC leadership, and the agency’s diverse stakeholders.”

NRC EDO leaves for senior position at IAEA

September 13, 2021, 12:00PMNuclear News

Doane

Margaret Doane, the first female executive director for operations at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, will depart the agency on October 8 to take the position of deputy director general for management at the International Atomic Energy Agency, the NRC announced this morning.

Doane, who has been the NRC’s EDO since July 2018, began her career at the agency in 1991 as a special assistant in the Office of the Secretary. Her senior leadership roles have included serving as an attorney in the Office of Commission Appellate Adjudication, chief of staff for former commissioner Jeffrey Merrifield, and NRC general counsel—a position she held from 2012 to 2018. Doane has international experience as well, having served in the Office of International Programs, both as deputy director and director.

Commissioner Caputo to leave NRC on June 30

June 23, 2021, 3:00PMNuclear News

Caputo

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Annie Caputo will depart the agency when her term expires at the end of this month, NRC Chairman Christopher Hanson said yesterday. Her departure will leave the five-seat panel with only three commissioners—the minimum number required for it to conduct business—as former chairman Kristine Svinicki resigned in January of this year.

At this writing, Caputo has not announced her post-NRC plans.

Remaining on the commission are two Democrats, Hanson and Jeff Baran, and one Republican, David Wright. President Biden has not named a replacement for either of the vacancies and can choose only one Democrat, since no more than three commissioners can be from the same political party.