Sanders Blocks NRC Confirmation
06/29/11 7:04AM By Bob Kinzel
(Host) Senator Bernie Sanders is blocking the confirmation of a member of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Sanders says the NRC is "inappropriately" taking steps to extend the license of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant.
Sanders says William Ostendorff was one of three commission members who voted last week to ask the Department of Justice to intervene in a lawsuit on behalf of Yankee's owner.
Entergy is suing the state to keep the plant operating for another 20 years.
Sanders says the NRC has gone beyond its basic authority.
(Sanders) "We think that by a 3 to 2 vote, that he was one of the people who really did not understand what the authority of the NRC is. That authority is safety it's not to tell states like Vermont what they should be doing economically in terms of their energy future."
(Host) Sanders says he is prepared to block the confirmation until the Department of Justice says whether it will support Entergy in its lawsuit.
(Sanders) "I do not want to see the Department of Justice intervening in this lawsuit between Entergy and the state of Vermont on the side of Entergy I think that would be totally inappropriate and when I hear that when I understand that the Department of Justice is not going to intervene I'm prepared to lift the hold."
(Host) Ostendroff has served one term on the NRC and he's been re-nominated by President Obama.
However, if Sanders' "hold" remains in place, the full Senate might not vote on his confirmation before his current term expires at the end of this month.