House hearing to examine DOE, NRC roles in approving new reactors

The House Committee on Science, Space and Technology will hold a hearing on the licensing process of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) on Wednesday.

NRC Chairman Stephen Burns is scheduled as the hearing's only witness.

The hearing's charter said budgetary recovery rules require that 90 percent of the commission's budget must be recovered through licensing activity, specifically for light-water-moderated reactor cores. The hearing aims to uncover the capabilities of the NRC to be able to provide timely licensing for "new concept" or alternative reactor types.

The charter said the Department of Energy (DOE) has the authority to construct and test nuclear reactors under its mission of advancing nuclear-energy technology. The concerns are over whether the DOE should pursue these "new concept" developments and whether the NRC would be required to provide technical assistance if it were to undertake such projects.
The charter said the DOE does take part in testing activity, but that it has not facilitated the construction of a new reactor in several decades.

The NRC acts as an independent regulatory agency and is the main licensing authority  and regulator of civilian nuclear material usage, primarily in energy, academic, medical and industrial fields.

The hearing will take place at the Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2318, at 9 a.m. EDT.

Organizations in this Story

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

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