Republicans are saying: \u201cgo slow\u201d and \u201cdon\u2019t change the way America regulates nuclear plants.\u201d Democrats say they want to \u201cmove immediately on shoring up operating plants.\u201d During an Aug. 2 Senate Environment & Public Works Committee hearing, an equally divided Nuclear Regulatory Commission recounted to Congress what it is, and is not, learning from the Fukushima Daiichi reactor meltdowns. Urging the commission to act quickly on its Japan Task Force recommendations, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), panel chair, noted that California\u2019s two operating nuclear plants are located in seismically-active areas. \u201cMillions and millions of people live close to those plants. Any stalling will not be viewed favorably by the American people. Their confidence in nuclear power is waning,\u201d she said. Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) set the framework for his party\u2019s position. \u201cWe have time,\u201d he said, and shouldn\u2019t \u201cbe distracted by redesigning [nuclear] regulatory framework.\u201d Senators called the hearing because federal regulators are hesitating to move on new ways to help shore up nuclear plant safety recommended by the commission\u2019s Japan Task Force. The task force\u2019s recommendations have split commissioners over the last couple weeks. At press time, three commissioners floated opposition votes to implementing task force recommendations. Two have not made public statements. Yet, commissioner William Magwood said the commission is \u201ccoming together\u201d on consensus to implement new safety recommendations in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi meltdowns. The commissioners were clearly ill at ease before Congress in defending their roles to protect public health and safety from radioactivity. At one point, Boxer implored them to smile--then gave up. The July 19 task force recommendations include that the commission reevaluate what is considered \u201cdesign basis\u201d--the construction threshold to which nuclear plants are built to withstand natural and unnatural (like terrorist) events. The new term, in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi meltdowns, is \u201cbeyond design basis.\u201d The Japanese plants were thought to be designed to withstand measured events. Now, some regulators are concerned that those assumptions are not enough. The report also suggests some voluntary safety measures be made federal requirements. Among the task force\u2019s suggestions that can be performed in the near term, NRC member Magwood told the committee, are \u201cwalkdowns.\u201d That process checks on nuclear plants\u2019 ability to withstand earthquake hazards, like those that California plants face.