Statements and Speeches

WASHINGTON - Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Nuclear Safety, and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Chairman of the Committee on Environment and Public Works, convened the hearing, "Hearing on the nomination of Allison Macfarlane and re-nomination of Kristine L. Svinicki to be Members of 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 Kristine Svinicki and Dr. Allison Macfarlane to our committee. I look forward to today's hearing.

"I am quite favorably impressed by the technical breadth and depth of these two nominees and by the set of skills that one has already brought, and the other nominee would bring, to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

"I am encouraged that the President moved quickly to nominate Dr. Macfarlane to serve as a commissioner and to chair the NRC. I am also pleased that he has submitted the name of Christine Svinicki to serve a full five-year term on the Commission. Hopefully, we can make a decision on both of these nominees before June 30 so the Commission will have a full complement of commissioners and a new chair to lead it.

"I believe that it's important for us to have a fully functioning Commission because today the NRC is addressing some of the most pressing issues that the nuclear industry has faced in years. Clarity in leadership as we face the future is critical.

"Under this Committee's encouragement, the NRC is reviewing our domestic nuclear fleet and implementing lessons learned from the Japan Fukushima Daiichi crisis that occurred last year. We need to make sure that every precaution is being taken to safeguard the American people from a similar nuclear disaster here. And just a few months ago, the NRC approved the construction of four new reactors, an undertaking the United States has not witnessed in 30 years.

"The events that struck Japan and disabled the Fukushima Daiichi plant last year is a reminder that adequate preparation and response planning are vital to minimize injury and death when it does happen. In no small part because of the hard work of the NRC, there have been no direct deaths from nuclear power plant radiation exposure in this country.

"While I am a strong proponent of clean energy, my top priority for our nuclear power has been and remains public safety, and I have worked with the NRC, my colleagues and the industry to ensure we build and maintain a 'culture of safety' in every one of our 104 nuclear power plants.

"I expect – and the public expects – the NRC to be a strong, independent, and effective regulator: a regulator that acts prudently, firmly and decisively; a regulator that acts openly and transparently; and a regulator that produces results and is worthy of the public's confidence and that of both the executive and legislative branches of our federal government. In sum, the NRC must continue to work every day to ensure our nation's health, safety and security while also endeavoring to protect our the environment.

"Commissioner Svinicki has been a member of the Commission for almost five years now and has appeared before this Committee a number of times to answer questions since her nomination. Over the course of those years, I've had the opportunity to discuss a wide range of nuclear power issues with Commissioner Svinicki. While I may not have agreed with her on every single one of them, I have found her to be knowledgeable, hard-working and committed to safety, as well as to ensuring that the NRC remains a strong and impartial regulator.

"While I do not know Dr. Macfarlane well, I welcomed the opportunity to meet with her earlier this week for a wide ranging conversation of issues that have come, and that will come, before the NRC. By the conclusion of that meeting, I was encouraged that her expertise, experience and past leadership on some of the most pressing nuclear issues facing our country could bring a valuable and unique perspective to the Commission on policy issues. I look forward to learning more about her and her views on nuclear policy and the NRC today and in the days ahead.

"At a time when there are so many challenges facing the nuclear industry, I hope that this proves to be a productive hearing that will enable us to move forward through the nomination process for both Commissioner Svinicki and Dr. Macfarlane. I believe that both of these nominees clearly have the potential to play important leadership roles that will help strengthen the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in the critical work that it does for our nation in the coming years. I hope that when this hearing is concluded, all members of this committee will share that belief.

"I want to thank you both for being here today and for your willingness to serve your country on this important commission."