GAO asked to evaluate NRC’s preparedness for advanced reactor reviews

February 9, 2022, 12:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe

Two GOP lawmakers are calling on the Government Accountability Office to undertake an assessment of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s preparedness to review and approve advanced reactor applications.

In a February 4 letter to the GAO, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R., W.Va.), ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R., Wash.), ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, wrote, “Recent NRC actions concerning certain licensing activities raise questions about the agency’s capability to manage effectively first-mover applications for new, advanced technologies.”

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.”

Bill to preserve, expand U.S. nuclear energy sector reintroduced

July 19, 2021, 7:02AMNuclear News

Capito

A bipartisan group of senators has reintroduced the American Nuclear Infrastructure Act (ANIA), initially introduced last fall in the previous Congress. Sponsors include Sens. Shelley Moore Capito (R., W.Va.), the ranking member of the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee; John Barrasso (R., Wyo.); Cory Booker (D., N.J.); Mike Crapo (R., Idaho); and Sheldon Whitehouse (D., R.I.).

Last month, the American Nuclear Society joined 23 other nuclear-focused entities in signing a letter to those lawmakers urging reintroduction of the bill.

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.

New inspector general confirmed for NRC

May 7, 2020, 2:28PMNuclear News

Robert Feitel, speaking at his December 3, 2019, nomination hearing before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee’s Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety.

The Senate voted unanimously 87–0 on May 4 to confirm Robert Feitel as the inspector general of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The position had been vacant since the end of 2018, when the NRC’s longtime IG Hubert T. Bell retired.

A Department of Justice attorney, Feitel was nominated for the job by President Trump in October last year, and in December he was approved by the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee, also by unanimous vote.