Lawmakers seek more details on NRC travel

During a congressional hearing Dec. 12, the five members of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) were called upon to provide more details and justification of their foreign travel.

 Rep. Kathy Castor (D-Fla.) became the second Democrat in congress to express concern about the level of NRC travel overseas. There appears to have been much international travel by in the past two years, Castor said during a Dec. 12 hearing. The NRC commissioners should provide congress with the rundown of those trips and the need for them, Castor said.

Her comments came during a joint hearing hosted by House Energy and Commerce Subcommittees on Environment and the Economy and Energy and Power.

A spokesperson for Rep. Castor could not be immediately reached for comment.

In a Nov. 21 statement, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), suggested that NRC commissioners are spending too much time outside the United States. Boxer chairs the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, which oversees NRC in the Senate.

“Another concern I have is that this Committee’s efforts to schedule oversight hearings have been consistently impeded by claims the NRC Commissioners are unavailable due to foreign travel,” Boxer said. “An initial review of travel records for those Commissioners who make such information publicly available reveals nearly 100 days of foreign travel by these Commissioners since 2010 – 100 days of foreign travel.  I intend to request a complete accounting of each Commissioners’ foreign travel since the date of their first confirmation,” Boxer said. 

Not all lawmakers are too concerned about the level of NRC foreign travel. Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) said considers it important that NRC commissioners travel and share NRC expertise across the world.

NRC commissioners have typically done foreign trips to visit nuclear sites in other countries and NRC was very involved in consulting with regulators in Japan following the Fukushima disaster in 2011.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.