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First ‘nuclear’ Senate casualty: a hearing on nuclear safety

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid went nuclear on Thursday. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images) Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid went nuclear on Thursday. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Get the fallout shelters ready — the Senate has gone nuclear. And in what caused some chuckles around the otherwise testy chamber on Thursday, it looked like the first casualty of the new dynamic was a hearing on… wait for it… nuclear safety.

When Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid triggered a series of procedural votes culminating in a rule change essentially eliminating the ability of the minority party to filibuster most nominees (a move dubbed the “nuclear option”), he asked senators to drop what they were doing to come to the floor to vote.

One of the events cancelled to allow senators to do so was a hearing at the Senate Environment and Public Works committee.

The topic: the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s follow-up to the 2011 accident at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan. The committee announced that the session would be rescheduled — presumably during less toxic times.

“We look forward to a return engagement when the fallout dissipates,” an NRC spokesman deadpanned.

Emily Heil is the co-author of the Reliable Source and previously helped pen the In the Loop column with Al Kamen.

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