Click here or the image above to watch Ranking Member Capito’s questions.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, questioned Jeff Baran during his nomination hearing to serve another term as a member of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).




“One element the [NRC] staff proposed, and the rest of the commissioners supported, is limiting a shutdown reactor’s emergency planning requirements after enough time has elapsed for the spent nuclear fuel to sufficiently cool down. This is a very straightforward application of the NRC’s risk informed regulatory process, and the Commission repeatedly voted on a case-by-case basis to do so. The staff proposal formalized that established commission precedent. In your opposition, you stated you supported the theory that a spent fuel pool could immediately empty as a result of a severe accident with no subsequent mitigation actions and that the remaining spent fuel would catch fire and result in the release that impacts public health. In 2014, the NRC spent 11,530 hours and $3 million evaluating the likelihood of this scenario – it concluded that it did not warrant additional regulatory requirements. That analysis was included in the staff’s regulatory justification to the role in your post.

“So Commissioner Baran, do you know what the staff’s extensive technical analysis found to be the odds of such an accident occurring and a shutdown nuclear plant?”


“I don't know offhand.”


“The odds were one in 10 million. So you know, I could get hit by a meteor, that's probably the same odds. So in your view, does a risk lower than one and 10 million meet NRC’S statutory regulatory standard of reasonable assurance of adequate protection or what is your standard if one in 10 million is too much?”

URGING COMMISSIONER BARAN TO NOT STAND IN THE WAY OF NUCLEAR ENERGY ADVANCEMENT IN AMERICA: “So the point here I'm trying to make is we're moving forward towards this new licensing. If the standard of risk that is unacceptable to you has to be less than one in 10 million, and you also in your statement, or actually your reaction to your question to the chairman's question, extolling the expertise and technical suggestions that the terrific staff does and has made over the years…this was something that they felt that they had thoroughly researched. Will you use that same standard as you're starting to look at what we know is going to be a very busy and hopefully very productive five years?”

Click HERE to watch Ranking Member Capito’s questions.

Click HERE to watch Ranking Member Capito’s opening statement.

# # #