The nuclear renaissance will get stopped in its tracks if the NRC doesn't have the resources to get the job done -- so Lynn Weaver, president emeritus of the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, has a suggestion:
The reason for the licensing delay is simple and straightforward: a critical shortage of manpower, which is expected to become acute within a year, at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The NRC knows that it needs to expand its work force, because it's facing a flood of regulatory reviews for new nuclear plants and existing plants that are seeking a renewal of their operating licenses. But it doesn't have the money.For a previous post on this topic, click here.
Congress is bogged down in a dispute over federal spending. It passed only two of the 11 spending bills for the fiscal year that began last October, those covering defense and homeland security. The rest of the government is operating under a continuing resolution that holds spending to last year's levels. As a result, the NRC's budget is lower by $95 million, or 12 percent, compared with the level approved by both the House and Senate appropriations committees but not the full House.
The best thing Congress could do now is to break the budget impasse and provide the NRC with the additional funds it needs. The House and Senate must stop the partisan bickering that's having a crippling effect on the ability of the NRC and other government agencies to perform their jobs.
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