NEI calls on Congress to slash NRC budget -- with agency's help

The Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) submitted written testimony late last week to the House Appropriations Committee, asking Congress to reduce the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) budget and staff so that they are more proportionate to the number of reactors and plant-license holders over which the agency has jurisdiction.

Based on President Obama’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2017, the Department of Energy (DOE) would receive $32.5 billion, with $982 million going to the NRC. That figure would primarily come from the agency’s licensees, with 90 percent of the $982 million recovered from license fees.

In its written testimony, the NEI commends the goals of the NRC’s Project Aim – which seeks to improve the commission’s agility, effectiveness and efficiency – but alleges that the agency’s budget request does not reflect them.

NEI President and CEO Marvin Fertel said in the testimony that Congress should reduce the NRC's budget by $36 million that the agency itself spotlighted for cuts under Project Aim, as well as a further $6 million reduction in corporate support.

In the testimony, the NEI said it supports continued efforts by the DOE to promote small modular reactor (SMR) technology through the SMR Licensing and Technical Support (LTS) Program, and it pledges to continue supporting initiatives to boost private-sector SMR growth.

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