Republican bill would rein in nuclear regulator

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“The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has a supremely important role within our government, and it cannot effectively operate without common sense legislation supporting it. We want to support the function of the Commission, but put some simple checks and balances in place,” Vitter said in a statement. “Our bill will allow the Commission to run itself efficiently, and to preempt abuse of power.”

The bill would spread out power from the NRC chairman to all five commissioners, giving them power to fill vacancies and assuring access to all information. According to the lawmakers, that would prevent mismanagement and abuse at the agency.

"Trust at the Commission has been broken before, and it shouldn't happen again,” Terry added in a statement. “This legislation is a good first step in the process to help the Nuclear Regulatory Commission function at a level the American people expect."

Vitter and other critics of former NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko have accused him of abusing his power at the agency and pushing around his colleagues.

Jaczko stepped down from the NRC last year. Allison Macfarlane is the agency's current chairwoman.