The lead U.S. nuclear regulator testified for the second time today before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on the ongoing crisis at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan.
Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Director Gregory Jaczko discussed U.S. efforts to assist the Japanese, as well as the preparedness of U.S. nuclear plants to withstand earthquakes and other natural disasters. Representatives from the U.S. nuclear industry and the environmental group, Union of Concerned Scientists also testified.
The aftermath of the devastation in Japan was discussed in another hearing earlier today with Jaczko when he appeared alongside Energy Secretary Steven Chu before the House Energy and Commerce Committees.
During the joint hearing, the two related how the ongoing emergency affected President Obama’s energy agenda. Chu conveyed the president’s commitment to building new nuclear plants in the U.S.; the department’s new budget requests nearly $65 billion over five-years to modernize the U.S. nuclear weapons systems, according to reports published by the department.
The Department of Energy’s FY 2012 budget request is $29.5 billion, an 11.8 percent or $3.1 billion increase from FY 2010 levels. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission's budget for the next fiscal year is a little more than $1 billion, a decrease of $28.7 million from FY2010 funding levels.