President Obama submitted NRC Commissioner Kristine Svinicki’s re-nomination to the Senate on May 8 and several Republican members of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works promptly urged Committee Chair Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., to move the nomination as soon as possible.
Svinicki’s current term ends June 30. If confirmed by the Senate, she would serve another five-year term.
“I was pleased today that President Obama officially re-nominated Kristine Svinicki to serve another term at the NRC; but time is running out before her term expires so the Senate must act immediately,” said Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., in a letter signed by the other Republicans on the panel.
“If she is to have a hearing it would have to be before the Memorial Day recess to get it done in time. However, Chairman [Gregory] Jaczko was able to proceed directly to his confirmation vote without a hearing so that is another possibility now that time is of the essence.”
Inhofe went on to say in a news release that the White House does not want to see a “break in service” at the five-member commission.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has indicated he is not a fan of Svinicki due to her previous statements on the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste site in Nevada. Svinicki was also among the commissioners who publicly criticized NRC Chairman Jaczko in testimony before Congress last year. Jaczko once worked for Reid.
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., and Environment and the Economy Subcommittee Chairman John Shimkus, R-Ill., urged Senate Majority Leader Reid to swiftly schedule a vote.
“We are disturbed at the baseless attacks against Kristine Svinicki that have already come out of Senator Reid’s office,” the GOP House members said. “Kristine Svinicki is one of the nation’s finest, most thoughtful and conscientious nuclear experts.”
Nuclear Energy Institute President and CEO Marvin Fertel issued a statement congratulating Svinicki. “As a nuclear engineer with exceptional technical knowledge and extensive experience as a policy advisor in the federal government, her qualifications are self-evident,” Fertel said. “Beyond that, Commissioner Svinicki has served ably and consistently in fulfilling the NRC’s mandate to ensure the safe operation of the nation’s nuclear energy facilities.”
So far this year, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has voted to approve the first new nuclear plant licenses in more than 30 years.