The Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Friday that it had submitted its budget request for fiscal year 2018 to the U.S. Congress, asking for $45 million less than the previous annual request, in part to adjust to a smaller staff required due to work completed in response to the Fukushima Daiichi accident of 2011.
The agency said in the same week President Donald Trump announced he would nominate Kristine Svinicki to serve a five-year term as chairwoman, that it required funding for a full time staff of 3,284 full time members, a reduction of approximately 270 full time members from the fiscal year of 2016. “Reductions in staffing were related to completion of work related to the Fukushima Near-Term Task Force and improved efficiency of agency operations, including reductions in procurement operations, physical and personnel security and information technology,” The NRC said in a statement.
Previous reductions were attributed to a slowdown in applications for new reactor build projects.
The 2018 request for appropriations is based on a budget of $952 million, including funds for the Officer of the Inspector General, with the expectation that the agency recover approximately 90 percent of its budget from licensee fees, which are sent directly to the U.S. Treasury. As a result, the net appropriations request is for $138 million.
“The agency's budget has decreased more than $100 million, including a reduction of more than 500 full time employees since 2014,” said the agency's Chief Financial Officer Maureen Wylie. “We believe this budget is appropriate and reflects our commitment to fiscal responsibility,” she said.
The budget includes $466.7 million for nuclear reactor safety, $171.1 million for nuclear materials and waste safety, which includes $30 million to support activities for the proposed Yucca Mountain deep geological repository for spent fuel and other highly radioactive materials, according to the statement. It also includes $301.4 million for corporate support.
The allocation for the Office of Inspector General is $12.1 million. The OIG is an independent office that audits and investigates NRC programs with respect to financial efficiency. This includes funding to provide auditing services for the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, the agency noted.
Svinicki has served on the NRC commission since 2008 and had already been appointed by Trump to serve as chairwoman until June. The president also nominated two new commissioners, a Senate aide Annie Caputon and former Exelon executive David Wright, who is also the former chairman of the South Carolina Public Service Commission. All three posts require Senate confirmation.
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