U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), top Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, made the following statement regarding President Obama's nominee, Jeff Baran, to fill a full term on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). Baran was first nominated to serve on the NRC in September 2014, and was confirmed to fill the remainder of former Commissioner William Magwood's term, which expires on June 30, 2015. Baran's nomination increases the likelihood that Stephen Burns, previously the chief counsel to the former NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko who was forced out of office due to his failed leadership, could be nominated to be the new NRC Chairman.
"The President's nominee to ensure the safety and success of our nuclear future visited a nuclear facility for the first time in his life this summer," Vitter said. "It is vital to the security and reliability of our nation's energy needs for the members of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to be independent, thoughtful, and highly qualified. Baran clearly lacks that experience, and we need to hold a full EPW committee hearing."
Baran was formerly a top aide for Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Waxman was a strong opponent of domestic nuclear energy, having close ties to far-left environmental groups that have been working to eliminate domestic nuclear energy jobs. Following a September hearing with Baran, EPW Republicans submitted questions for the record asking about a number of issues, including his experience with nuclear safety. Baran indicated that he has no experience and the first time he has been to any nuclear facility was earlier this year on June 20, 2014. Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) strongly supports Baran, likely due to the role he is expected to play in continuing to undermine the Yucca Mountain project, a nuclear repository in a secluded region of Nevada.
Vitter first raised concerns about Baran when he was nominated to serve a one-year term on the NRC in September. Click here to read more.