WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, today held a hearing to consider the nomination of Jeffery Baran to serve as a member of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Below is the opening statement of Chairman Tom Carper (D-Del.), as prepared for delivery:
“Today, we‘ve come to consider Jeff Baran’s nomination to serve an additional term on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, or NRC. Let me begin by welcoming Commissioner Baran back to our committee. I would also like to welcome my friend, Congressman Don Beyer, before our committee this morning. We look forward to hearing both of your testimonies today.
“Before we do, let me say a few words about Commissioner Baran and the important role a well-functioning NRC has in ensuring that we continue to safely and reliably power our nation into the future.
“As we all know, nuclear power plays a critical role in our efforts to address the climate crisis and strengthen our nation’s energy security, while also creating economic opportunity. Nuclear energy is currently the largest source of reliable, clean energy in our country—providing approximately half of our emissions-free energy. Meeting our nation’s ambitious climate goals will most certainly involve nuclear power—including the development and deployment of new technologies and nuclear reactors.
“As we discussed with the full Commission during last month’s NRC budget hearing, we must ensure that the agency has the resources that it needs to effectively maintain the safety and security of our nation’s nuclear facilities and materials. A well-resourced and fully staffed NRC is essential to maintaining the safe operation of our nation’s current fleet of reactors while also preparing for the next generation of technologies.
“In addition to sufficient funding, the NRC must have a complete leadership team in place. A vacancy on the Commission at this critical moment could delay important decisions and slow down the deployment of new nuclear reactors. At the end of June, when Commissioner Baran’s current term ends, one of the five seats on the Commission will become vacant. Fortunately, President Biden has nominated Commissioner Baran to serve another term on the NRC.
“Jeff Baran is a dedicated public servant who has served as a Commissioner of the NRC since 2014. Throughout his time on the Commission, the NRC has maintained its status as the world’s gold standard for nuclear regulatory agencies. This level of excellence is due in no small part to Commissioner Baran’s leadership.
“In his time on the NRC, Commissioner Baran has focused on the need to serve the public and provide opportunities for engagement and input from all stakeholders, especially those in disadvantaged and underserved communities. He has brought a welcome perspective to the NRC about its role in promoting environmental justice.
“It is clear that Commissioner Baran also understands that the NRC’s work is critical in our fight against climate change. Commissioner Baran has demonstrated this commitment to addressing climate change through the Commission’s work to establish the right regulatory framework for the safe licensing and operation of new technologies—like the next generation of nuclear reactors and fusion energy systems.
“Before beginning his service on the NRC, Jeff Baran worked as a staff member for the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. During that time, oversight of the NRC was one of his primary areas of responsibility. In addition, he has successfully worked to coordinate between relevant federal agencies and two Native American tribes to clean up uranium contamination in and around the Navajo Nation.
“As I mentioned, maintaining a full slate of commissioners will help the NRC continue to carry out its responsibilities effectively and efficiently. That is why I hope to work with members of this committee to expeditiously move Commissioner Baran through the confirmation process to ensure that this impending vacancy is filled.”