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Democrats approve nomination of nuclear regulator

Democrats voted to send a nuclear regulator’s confirmation to the floor despite Republican protests. The move could preserve Democratic influence on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission after the party loses control of the Senate in January.

President Barack Obama nominated Steve Baran, who was already confirmed to a term on the commission through June 2015, to fill a different opening that would keep him with the agency into 2018. All eight Republican’s on the committee voted against Baran by proxy. At stake may be the fate of the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste repository.

Baran has been a somewhat controversial figure since his first nomination. He oversaw the NRC’s work in his job as counsel to the House Energy and Commerce Committee when Democrats controlled it, but Republicans criticized his lack of experience in the nuclear industry.

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