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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

House Oversight Committee / NRC hearing, Dec. 14

Today's hearings by the House Oversight Committee in regards to the complaints registered against NRC Chairman Jaczko by the other four NRC Commissioners have ended... although there is a two week period before the record is published which allows some interviewees to receive further questions and give answers.

Here are my first take observations, having watched the session:

-Chairman Jaczko does not believe he has done anything wrong, or at least will never admit to it. This is of course quite impossible given the complaints by all four NRC Commissioners, and complaints by NRC senior staff. Jaczko's continued but worn thin defense is his passion for safety - but belligerence masquerading as passion certainly seems to be the thrust of the questioning regarding his behavior at least so far as the Oversight Committee is concerned.

-Given the complete lack of credible responses by the Chairman, this author is inclined to believe all of the allegations put forward by the Commissioners. Jaczko has only apologized for causing a distraction - not for his behavior.

-Committee Chairman Issa essentially proved during the session that the behavior of Chairman Jaczko as described in the complaints constitutes harassment. Harassment cases at any private sector company are immediately addressed and assigned to Human Resources, but in this case Jaczko and apparently the White House feel as if the problem can be solved inside the NRC... thus leaving the fox in charge of the hen house once again, as it were.

-Chairman Jaczko apparently, as a result of repeated and heated questioning, does in fact feel as if he is better qualified to determine anything on any safety related issues than the other Commissioners, even though he has no nuclear experience whatsoever.

-Chairman Jaczko was clearly outside his legal authority to declare emergency executive control of the NRC at the time of the Fukushima Daiichi accident, since the accident was not at a facility regulated by or licensed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. This facility, half way around the world, is of different sovereignty (nationality) and as such is regulated by that nation's system; no emergency existed at the time at any U.S. facility and never has as a result of the Fukushima Daiichi accident. This point was made clear by Mr. Issa.

-Most Democratic Party members of the Oversight Committee functioned essentially as expected, attempting to turn this into either a partisan politics issue or attempting to point the finger at the other four Commissioners who, it was implied, are in the employ of the nuclear industry... this, for example, is why (it was said) they attempted to hold up one or more NRC reports on Fukushima Daiichi.

Author note: The reports on Fukushima Daiichi's impact will become important to be released immediately at any time, including all the way back to the date of March 11, 2011, when forty foot tsunamis become possible in the Continental United States. Other than this eventuality, which is total flood derived derangement of plant equipment, there is (and has been) no immediate threat at any time to any US nuclear plant as a result of exactly the same circumstances which have caused the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident.

As a result of the above fact, attempts by the four Commissioners to review and correct such reports as the NRC 21 day Fukushima Report SHOULD HAVE BEEN ALLOWED. The contention of Jaczko (and his compatriot, Rep. Kucinich) is that the other members were attempting to stave off any post- Fukushima safety changes to protect the nuclear industry from cost or trouble. Later lines of questioning proved this to be a false accusation; the Commissioners have a responsibility to review and correct any materials produced, as stated by Commissioner Ostendorff.

In the final analysis, it is this writer's opinion that Jaczko should either resign (which he will not do) or be removed. Jaczko could (as posited during the hearings) become a Commissioner once again, with one of the other members appointed as Chairman. At the very least, mediation and oversight must be put in place to stop any future behavior of the sort described today. As I said earlier, if this were a private firm HR would be all over this. Who serves as HR for the NRC?

3:15 PM Eastern Wednesday December 14, 2011
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