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Hanson in the hot seat

Apr 15, 2024
Illustration of a hardhat with an atom on the front.

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

We'll get a close look at NRC Chair Christopher Hanson's future this week.

Why it matters: Hanson's confirmation hearing comes at a critical time, with the commission trying to figure out how to license next-generation nuclear reactors.

Driving the news: The Environment and Public Works Committee will question Hanson Wednesday, as Democrats look to get his renomination through the Senate before his current term expires June 30.

The intrigue: Ranking Member Shelley Moore Capito already sank one NRC nom — Jeff Baran — because she thought he wasn't friendly enough to advanced nuclear.

  • But Hanson may have alleviated similar concerns about his nomination with recent revisions to the Part 53 rulemaking that could ease the path for advanced reactors.
  • That helped show Hanson is "embracing the opportunity for the NRC to evolve," said Ryan Norman of Third Way.
  • The issue has garnered intense attention from nuclear boosters on both sides of the aisle.

What they're saying: Capito told Axios last week she has a "good relationship" with Hanson, but also has questions about "the way the commission has been run."

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