EPW Hearing Statement: “The President’s FY 2017 Budget Request for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission”

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Carper, a top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee and ranking member of the Clean Air and Nuclear Safety Subcommittee, released the following statement regarding the committee’s hearing on President Obama’s fiscal year 2017 budget request for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission:

“Nuclear power serves as our nation’s largest source of carbon-free energy and plays an essential role in our efforts to reduce the use of dirty fossil fuels, stem the tide of climate change and promote our public health. But our nation’s commercial reactors are getting long-in-the-tooth, posing questions about their safety and our ability to continue to rely on their power contribution. It’s time to consider new nuclear technology in the long term, and our country’s innovators are rising to the challenge.

“The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is considered the world’s gold standard when it comes to nuclear regulatory agencies. However, as science and technology evolve, so too must the NRC. If there is any clean energy technology on which our nation should take the lead, this is surely it. I look forward to hearing how the NRC will direct funding to meet the demands of licensing the next generation of advanced nuclear reactors.

“I also intend to ask the NRC about the impact of budgetary cuts on the agency’s workforce. It’s because of the hard work and diligence of NRC employees that the United States has the largest and safest nuclear power fleet in the world. By cutting the NRC’s fiscal budget, we are challenging the agency to achieve more with less, and threaten to undermine the agency’s ability to ensure nuclear safety and to attract and retain a workforce with the unique mix of skills, experience and expertise needed to lead us to a clean and safe energy future.”