Statements and Speeches
Hearing Statement: "The Re-Nomination of William Ostendorff to Serve as a Commissioner on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission"
May 25 2011
WASHINGTON - Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Nuclear Safety, participated in the Environment and Public Works hearing, "the re-nomination of William Ostendorff to serve as a Commissioner on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission." For more information on the hearing or to watch a webcast of the hearing, please click here. A copy of Sen. Carper's opening statement, as prepared for delivery, follows:
"I would like to welcome Commissioner Ostendorff, Mr. Howorth, and Lt. General Bostick to our committee, and I look forward to today's hearing. I am impressed by the technical breadth and depth of these three nominees and the set of skills that they would each bring to the federal government.
"As Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety, which oversees the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, I am especially happy to see us moving forward with Commissioner Ostendorff and Mr. Howorth's nomination process.
"Over the years, I have worked with the NRC to ensure we have a "culture of safety" in our U.S. nuclear energy industry. As a result of the hard work from the NRC, we have not seen any direct deaths from nuclear power plant radiation exposure in this country.
"However, the events that struck Japan, Alabama, and just recently Joplin, Missouri are reminders that we are all vulnerable to unexpected disasters, whether an act of nature or terrorist attack. While we cannot predict when or where the next major disaster will occur, we know adequate preparation and response planning are vital to minimize injury and death when it does happen. That is especially true for nuclear power.
"While I am a proponent of clean energy, my top priority for our nuclear power remains public safety. Under this Committee's encouragement, the NRC is currently reviewing our domestic nuclear fleet to make sure every precaution is being taken to safeguard the American people from a similar nuclear incident. We anxiously await their results.
"I expect –and the public expects—that the NRC must be a strong, independent, and effective regulator. A regulator that acts firmly and decisively, a regulator that acts openly and transparently, a regulator that produces results and is worthy of the public's confidence. In sum, the NRC must ensure our Nation's health, safety, and security and the protection of the environment.
"Although Commissioner Ostendorff and I have disagreed on different issues, he has shown a commitment to safety and to making the NRC a strong and impartial regulator. At a time when we have so many challenges in the nuclear industry – I hope we can quickly move forward on the nomination process for Commissioner Ostendorff.
"In the past few years, the Tennessee Valley Authority has also seen its fair share of challenges. Being a federal corporation means higher responsibilities - and a few years ago TVA was not meeting them. Two years ago I called on TVA's Board of Directors to change its culture –clean energy, conservation and transparencies needed to be a priority, not an afterthought. TVA needed to be on the forefront of new, clean energy, not a laggard. So far, I believe the TVA has stepped up to the plate and met my challenge.
"I look forward to hearing today how Mr. Howorth will help TVA continue on this path. I believe all three of these nominees fill critical leadership vacancies that will help provide a vital balance and strength to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Tennessee Valley Authority, and the Army Corps of Engineers. I want to thank all of you for being here today and for your willingness to serve your country on this important commission."