Report: White House drops Jeff Baran as NRC nominee

January 23, 2024, 9:30AMNuclear News


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.

Good Energy Collective backs Baran for third NRC term

June 30, 2023, 12:03PMNuclear News
Jeff Baran (Photo: NRC)

Jeff Baran, who has been renominated for another five-year term on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, has received a vote of confidence from a progressive policy research organization. On June 14, the same day his renomination was reported favorably out of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in a 10–9 vote, the organization—Good Energy Collective—released a statement from its deputy director, Jackie Toth, in praise of the commissioner.

Coalition urges Senate to oppose renomination of NRC commissioner Baran

June 23, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News

Baran (Photo: NRC)

A coalition of environmental organizations supporting regulatory and legislative change to accelerate the licensing and deployment of new advanced nuclear reactors in the United States spoke out on June 20 against the renomination of Jeff Baran to serve another five-year term on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The groups—Build Nuclear Now, the Breakthrough Institute, Generation Atomic, Nuclear New York, and Green Nuclear Deal—pointed to Baran’s pattern of actions that the groups say contradict his claimed support for bipartisan solutions to modernize the country’s nuclear energy infrastructure.

The groups noted that despite those repeated claims before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee conducted as part of his 2018 and 2023 confirmations to the NRC, Baran’s record shows his vote consistently being the sole vote against reasonable steps to improve the efficiency of the NRC’s regulations, hindering the deployment of new nuclear.

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.

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.”

Commissioner Caputo to leave NRC on June 30

June 23, 2021, 3:00PMNuclear News


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.