Statements and Speeches

WASHINGTON – Today, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held a hearing on the nominations of Jeffery M. Baran and Stephen G. Burns to be members of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

A copy of Sen. Carper's remarks, as prepared for delivery, follows:

“I would like to welcome the Nuclear Regulatory Commission nominees Jeff Baran and Stephen Burns to our committee and thank both of them for their willingness to serve their country in this new capacity. Although I will not be able to stay long because I have to chair another hearing in my Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee – I look forward to today’s discussion.  

“Often here in Congress, we lose sight of the important work our federal workforce does day-in and day-out.  And I can think of few places in the government that does more important work than the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). The NRC plays a critical role in protecting the public and the environment as we continue to pursue nuclear energy to meet our energy security needs. It is because of the hard work and diligence of the employees at the NRC that the United States has more nuclear reactors than any other nation in the world, while still having the safest nuclear reactors in the world. 

“During my years of public service, I’ve learned that an essential ingredient in enabling organizations to work efficiently is leadership.  That is the case both in government and in the private sector, and NRC is no different.

“Part of the Senate’s shared responsibility with the president is ensuring that we have effective leaders in place across our federal government.  That also means filling any leadership vacancies in a thorough and timely manner. Today, we have two Commissioner vacancies at the NRC – at a time when the NRC is addressing some of the most pressing issues that the nuclear industry has faced in years. Clarity in the NRC leadership as we face the future is critical. 

“If confirmed, these nominees before us have quite a challenge before them.  As the NRC tackles today’s issues, I expect – and the public expects – the NRC to be a strong, independent, and effective regulator that continues a culture of safety at our nation’s reactors.  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.  

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