Marc Morano 202-224-5762
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                                                        Sen. Inhofe Speaks to the Press                     Sen. Inhofe and Sen. Domenici at Today's Press Conference

WASHINGTON, DC – Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), ranking member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, welcomed the news of NRG's filing of the first nuclear reactor license application in nearly 30 years with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for two new reactors at a plant in Texas . NRG's application is the first to be reviewed under NRC's new combined construction and operating license process. Senator Inhofe, as chairman of the EPW Committee, helped ensure passage of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPACT05) which included a suite of new reactor incentives. Senator Inhofe joined several of his Senate colleagues at a news conference this morning recognizing the importance of this first filing.  

“Today’s announcement by NRG of their filing of the first nuclear reactor license application in 30 years is a significant leap forward for our nation’s energy needs,” Senator Inhofe said. “A strong, robust nuclear industry must continue to play a growing part of our nation’s energy future, both for the sake of national security and environmental progress. Nuclear energy is clean, reliable, cost-effective, and most important, increases our domestic energy supply.”  

“One of the most significant factors contributing to this announcement today is the NRC’s transformation over the last 10 years. In 1997, the NRC was an inefficient, subjective, and unpredictable agency that had run amuck without oversight for a dozen years. When I began chairing the Nuclear Safety Subcommittee of EPW, I was determined to conduct rigorous oversight and reform the agency.  When utilities first applied to extend the licenses for new plants, the time estimate for NRC review was 4 years.  After my subcommittee examined the issue, the NRC implemented ‘lessons learned’ and decreased the review time to 2 years.  After 10 years of consistent oversight, the NRC is now a more safety-focused, objective, and efficient regulator capable of executing it’s responsibilities in a timely fashion.  

“This application is the first of many.  I expect the NRC to manage this new challenge while maintaining the high level of safety of the existing fleet.  I will be watching closely to ensure that it does.”