NRC: Agency likely will reduce workforce in efficiency move

During a House oversight hearing on Thursday, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Chairman Stephen Burns said the commission aims to increase efficiency and likely will trim its current workforce, the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) said.

“I think part of it is us listening, engaging with the industry and other stakeholders, Burns said. "I think being responsive to things like the cumulative effects of regulation, that’s a way of us getting better at doing our work in a more effective way and still focusing on safety and security.”

Burns said there are approximately 3,700 employees at the commission and that by the end of fiscal year 2016, the NRC aims to pare that to 3,600 employees. The commission reached a peak of approximately 4,000 employees in 2010.

Congress members at the hearing raised concerns over decreasing licensing activity while still seeing growth in the NRC's size. U.S. Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX) said that since 2005, licensing activity has fallen by approximately 38 percent, but that the agency's workforce has grown by approximately 21 percent.

The NRC had planned to reduce staffing within its Project Aim 2020 initiative, which aims to improve the NRC's efficacy and efficiency in its operations.

"Many fact-of-life changes are appropriately causing us to take a fresh look at how we do business and what the proper staffing level is,” NRC Commissioner William Ostendorff said at a briefing on Tuesday. “I don’t see this as something that is being driven by external forces. I think it is being driven internally for the right reasons."

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Nuclear Energy Institute U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

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