Nuclear Regulatory Chairman Too Sensitive to Living Things — Forced Out
Gregory Jaczko, chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, announced Monday he would resign from the five-member commission that oversees US nuclear power plant safety after a tenure in which he wrangled with other members of the commission over the direction of safety regulations.
Mr. Jaczko’s chairmanship, which began with tumult three years ago over the NRC’s controversial decision to cancel the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository – now concludes on the heels of a tumultuous year attempting to implement “lessons learned” from the Fukushima nuclear meltdowns. He announced his resignation amid an ongoing battle over his proposals to tighten safety regulations at US nuclear power plants in the wake of the Japanese disaster.
On Jazcko’s watch, the NRC responded to major incidents at reactors across the United States including flooding, an earthquake, and tornados as well as serious mechanical problems. Notably, Jaczko activated the commission’s emergency response authority and personally directed the NRC’s initial response in the days after a huge tidal wave hit the Daiichi plant on March 10, 2011 – knocking out backup generators.
Jaczko and NRC staff monitored the unfolding crisis around the clock and made key decisions. He told Americans in Japan to stay at least 50-miles away from the unfolding meltdowns. And he created a task force to recommend steps the US should take to reinforce safety measures for US reactors.
But such unilateral decisions became a flashpoint for political upset among the other four commissioners and within the nuclear power industry. The commissioners questioned whether or not Jaczko had assumed too much authority and power over NRC operations in the immediate aftermath of the meltdown – or had cut the other commissioners out of the communications loop.
Translation: The decisions Jaczko made were scaring people about the supposed “safety” of nuclear power plants. He was too honest about the risks.
Despite the pressure on Jaczko, the White House proclaimed publicly up until last month that it backed him.
Translation: But the White House caved under pressure from the nuclear industry and it didn’t defend him. It wants to whitewash the threats posed by the nuclear power industry too.
But Jaczko’s supporters noted that he had been subjected to relentless personal attacks by his fellow commissioners and nuclear industry supporters.
Exactly. When you have a “Nuclear Regulatory Commission” staffed by people in the nuclear industry, this is what you get: A worthless piece of government.
Reminds me of the bought-and-paid-for members of the Food and Drug Administration, you know, the people who are supposed to protect our food and drug supply: FDA Delays Deadline for New U.S. Sunscreen Labels.