.... It is our job today, as Members of this Committee, to ensure that the NRC remains a strong and independent regulator, true to its mission of protecting public health and safety, and promoting the common defense and security.
The NRC cannot condone, and this Committee cannot ignore, security guards sleeping on duty in violation of procedures.
There are reports that NRC staff recommended an additional $22 million for new reactor licensing that was NOT included in the final budget request and that the shortfall will lead to delays of 8 months or more in reviewing applications filed in FY'09. If this is true, then I am very concerned to hear that the NRC may already be jeopardizing its ability to conduct thorough reviews in a timely fashion by setting the stage for a funding shortfall. In contrast, the requested budget increase for reactor oversight -- a process that even GAO has found to be logical and well-structured -- is $16.1 million, over 5 times the increase for new reactor licensing. Testimony from our October hearing certainly didn't indicate program shortcomings requiring a strong funding increase as a remedy.
I'm concerned by this disparity and I'm eager to understand the basis for it.
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