House Panel to Meet With NRC Next Week

House Republicans will finally get a chance to grill members of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on agency procedures and policy decisions in a joint hearing next week.

The Tuesday session will be the first time that newly sworn-in chairwoman Allison Macfarlane will testify along with three of her four fellow commissioners — Kristine Svinicki, William Magwood, and William Ostendorff. Commissioner George Apostolakis will not attend because he had long-standing plans to visit his mother in Greece, a committee aide said.

Two House Energy and Commerce subcommittees had originally planned to hold the hearing in May, but abruptly postponed it just two days before it was scheduled to occur, explaining that they wanted to wait until the nominations of Macfarlane and Svinicki were confirmed by the Senate.

The hearing planned by the Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy and the Subcommittee on Energy and Power was entitled "NRC Policy and Governance Oversight" and was meant to look into the commission's "governance, chilled work environment, and recent votes."

Specifically, House lawmakers were hoping to dig into the recent turmoil at the agency surrounding Gregory Jaczko, who stepped down as chairman after his fellow commissioners questioned his management style and accused him of bullying agency staff. Jaczko announced in May that he would resign as soon as his replacement was confirmed.

Now that the commission has a new chairwoman, the committee plans to address how she will take the lead in restoring the agency so that it can move forward with its work in safety and licensing of nuclear plants.

"The agency is still suffering the consequences of Chairman Jaczko's controversial tenure, and it is our hope that Dr. Macfarlane will be successful in repairing the agency's credibility and returning its focus to a mission of safety," Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich.; Environment and the Economy Subcommittee Chairman John Shimkus, R-Ill.; and Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., said in a joint statement.