NRC on the ropes over new office lease

The executive director for operations at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) took a grilling on Capitol Hill Wednesday, after the agency acknowledged it had leased too much office space, The Washington Post reports.

Testifying before the Senate subcommittee overseeing public buildings, R. William Borchardt was challenged by committee chairman Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Pa.) over the NRC’s $350 million lease of new office space at 3 White Flint in Bethesda, MD. The NRC moved to lease the new space back in 2009, under the assumption that it was preparing for a wave of new nuclear license applications as part of the then-burgeoning nuclear renaissance. When the need for increased staffing did not bear out, the NRC was left with unneeded office space in the Washington, D.C. suburbs.

The NRC has requested a lease extension on its old office space at 2 White Flint, the Post reports, with the unoccupied space at 3 White Flint being sub-leased to other federal agencies. Barletta was reportedly unimpressed, telling Borchardt, “You had a real tough argument today and I don’t think you made it.”

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