Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Christopher Hanson addresses the LAMPAC Conference in 2023.

President Joe Biden has nominated Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Christopher Hanson, who has been an advocate for IBEW members working in the industry, for another five-year term. Now, it’s up to the Senate to confirm him.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Christopher Hanson, who has been nominated for a second term by the Biden Administration. Photo provided by the NRC.

Hanson joined the commission in 2020 to serve out the remainder of a term caused by the departure of a previous commissioner. He was appointed chairman by Biden one year later.

During that time, he’s led efforts that supported the industry and kept existing facilities open that created jobs for IBEW members, while also making worker safety a priority.

“We applaud President Biden for recognizing Christopher Hanson’s work and fully support his nomination for another term as chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission,” Utility Director Donnie Colston said.

Hanson’s term ends June 30. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on the nomination April 17.

“We are in extraordinary times, with a renewed appreciation for nuclear’s contributions to a reliable grid and carbon-free energy,” Colston added. “Chairman Hanson has worked diligently to devise regulations for the construction of small modular nuclear reactors, which will meet the demands on the industry and provide work for IBEW members for years to come.”

The IBEW has more than 10,000 members employed at 65 nuclear reactorsin the United States and one in Canada. Hanson meets quarterly with International President Kenneth W. Cooper and Colston. He has also been a regular presence at the annual National Labor and Management Public Affairs Committee – commonly called LAMPAC – meeting, which brings together leaders from the IBEW and the Edison Electric Institute to advance joint initiatives between the union and energy companies.

“Through his time and actions, Chairman Hanson has shown his appreciation for the role our members play in keeping nuclear facilities safe and ensuring they play a key role in the transition to clean energy,” Cooper said. “The IBEW calls on the Senate to confirm him and looks forward to working with him for years to come.”

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which was passed by Congress and signed by Biden in 2021, is providing $6 billion to keep existing nuclear facilities open. The Inflation Reduction Act, passed and signed during the following year, provides a tax credit to promote the opening of new ones.

By law, the commission’s charge is to ensure the safe use of radioactive materials in an environmentally friendly manner, although some industry groups have pushed it in recent years to lessen that and take on a more corporate friendly role. It is supposed to have five members, with no more than three from one party, but it currently only has four following the departure of Jeff Baran.

That cost the IBEW and other unions an ally on the commission – another reason why Hanson’s renomination is important.

“Chairman Hanson works with all stakeholders in nuclear power, including the IBEW,” Colston said. “He regularly meets with our members during visits to nuclear facilities. We urge the Senate to confirm him without delay so the commission can continue its important work.”