A problem that has plagued the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission since 2009, when it was founded, is the aging of the nuclear fleet.
And it could cause the agency to delay the delivery of new reactors.
The issue is a key component of President-elect Donald Trump’s bid to revitalize the nuclear industry and cut the deficit, and it has forced the commission to take tough action to protect its credibility.
The commission’s chairman, New York Senator Carl Levin, said in a recent speech that the aging fleet of nuclear reactors was so problematic that he was forced to order a study of how to fix it.
In March, the commission announced that it had commissioned a study to determine how to repair or replace the fleet of ageing reactors.
It’s a big job that requires extensive, high-tech equipment, but it’s not that hard, Levin said.
And he said that he expects the report to be completed by mid-2018.
In a news conference, the chairman called the commission’s study “the most significant and definitive assessment of how best to fix a nuclear fleet that is aging at a rate that has been out of control for so long.”
In his speech last month, Levin promised that he would bring the commission into the 21st century, a goal that has become a key pillar of his campaign to restore confidence in the nuclear power industry.
“Our nation’s leadership in nuclear power is at stake,” Levin said at the time.
“We have to get the nuclear plants built in the right place, the right time, the correct way, to provide the reliability that we need.”
In fact, the agency has been slow to put new reactors online.
That’s despite the fact that it has the most advanced infrastructure in the country, and that the number of reactors is growing rapidly.
That means the agency can’t wait for the right people to take over and make sure the reactor is fully operational and ready for service.
A report from the nuclear safety regulator found that the nuclear fuel is leaking at a higher rate than the average, according to a recent report from Bloomberg News.
That could mean the fuel is becoming unstable.
In the meantime, some nuclear experts worry that the problem will worsen if the nuclear program is delayed, because it will slow down the pace of the clean-up of the reactors.
They also worry that a nuclear accident could cause radioactive contamination to rise because the reactors could be operating in a dangerous way.
The commission has also been trying to address the problem by creating a special task force to study the matter.
The task force was formed after a 2009 accident at the Brookhaven National Laboratory caused a huge leak of radioactive material into the groundwater and a subsequent fire.
The task force, which is led by the Nuclear Regulatory Agency, has not been able to complete its study, and the commission is working with the NRC to figure out how to deal with the problem.
It said it expects the task force report to come out sometime in early 2019.
But the commission hasn’t gotten much cooperation from the White House, and there is no indication that the Trump administration is interested in bringing it back into the fold.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, a spokesman for the Trump transition team said that the president has not yet decided whether he will appoint the task group, but he has called for a study on the issue.
“The President is very interested in seeing how we can get this thing right,” the spokesman said.
In another interview with NPR, Levin expressed frustration that the commission was not doing more to prevent accidents.
“It’s like trying to put on a pair of gloves and trying to be a firefighter,” he said.
“I think that’s really what it’s been trying.”
But the administration has made some progress.
In March, Trump named John B. Reilly to head the commission, a job that would give him more authority to oversee the agency and make recommendations to the president on issues such as safety and nuclear waste.
“The administration has taken important steps to restore the commission as an independent, nonpartisan, and bipartisan organization,” said Matthew Whitaker, an analyst with the Union of Concerned Scientists, a nuclear safety group.
“They’ve also been working to address some of the challenges, such as making sure that the agency is fully responsive to congressional oversight.”
And in September, the NSC announced that a commission report would be published in late 2019.