APR: your source for nuclear news and analysis since April 16, 2010

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The NRC's internal problems resurface in revenge

I would have to imagine that all of my regular readers will recall the situation that burst into open view at the end of last year regarding the internal situation at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. If you don't, I'll just sum up by saying that a serious struggle within the actual Commission itself got to the point where the four Commissioners who are not the Chairman decided to contact the Congress in order to attempt to resolve the problems they were experiencing with the treatment given them by Chairman Jaczko. All four were in agreement that something had to be done; all four had serious problems with Jaczko's operational method, his demeanor, his selection of information to provide or withhold, and his policy making. The four Commissioners are a varied lot of appointees, both placed by Democrats and by Republicans.

For a good and thorough summation of last year's events CLICK HERE for a December 13 article on APR.

For my opinion on the outcome of the House Oversight Committee hearings (which I watched) CLICK HERE. Remember after reading this that no punitive actions were taken by any government body against Jaczko.

This backstory is relevant today, April 19, 2012 because Commissioner Svinicki is up for reappointment... and the former employer of Chairman Jaczko, Harry Reid (Democrat) and one of his pals (Barbara Boxer, Democrat) have apparently decided to try to hold up Svinicki's reappointment.

Based on safety issues. That's right - safety issues.

Somebody want to tell me how many nuclear accidents we've had in this country during Svinicki's tenure? I'll tell you - it's zero. (We've only had one commercial nuclear plant accident in this country, in which no one was killed or even injured, no property was lost, no long term effects reported or surmised.) So saying that Svinicki is promoting an unsafe nuclear culture, as they are, is ludicrous. It's asinine. Click here to see the Huffington Post article on this new development (thanks to Dan Yurman for a very early morning heads up on this article.)

If we just take a second to look into the details that this article offers (and perhaps if the HuffPo is really on the D side of the aisle, it should think about "editing" the Boxer history vis a vis events concerning Svinicki) it's clear that Boxer had dropped the Yucca truthfulness issue after Svinicki explained her answer to Boxer again. It's only too convenient that Boxer "recalls" this issue once again now.

And looking at Harry Reid - well it could not be more obvious than it is that Reid is simply trying to get rid of anyone that might oppose Jaczko. Reid's modus operandi has been built on "No Yucca Mountain" and Jaczko's job, while working for Reid, was to ensure that. Once Jaczko was NRC Chairman he was in a position to attempt to enforce it, even though the Federal Government is still obligated to do something about a central waste repository. (Reid and Jaczko don't care about building one - they only care that no one EVER builds one in Nevada.) Now, Reid will turn the heat on Svinicki as punishment for the entire Oversight Committee episode, during which not only Svinicki but all four Commissioners in total attempted to halt Jaczko's dictatorial management and political agenda.

The political agenda couldn't be more clear today, folks. It really couldn't. If there were no political association, would Reid care about reappointing an NRC Commissioner whose tenure has covered a period of total safety at US nuclear plants? Would he want a change of leadership while post-Fukushima work is still so heavily in progress? The answers to those questions are "No."

Nuclear safety is far too serious an issue for us to continue to allow partisan politics to be inserted. Partisan politics has placed a man (Chairman Jaczko) in position of a Commissioner of an agency wherein he has not one day's worth of operational experience. That's right - I've said this before and will say it again now - Jaczko has not one day's worth of nuclear power plant operational experience or education. How is this conceivable? How is this possible? How is this sensible? And now, it's clear that Reid et al would like to remove Svinicki.. and replace her with what, another selected appointee with political motivations and ties and no nuclear experience?

THAT'LL help safety? Really?

This situation is becoming more and more ludicrous by the day. Had the proper action been taken after the Oversight Committee hearings and Jaczko been censured or fired (you all know that at a civilian business, HR would have become involved instantly and taken action) we would not be here right now. The fact that partisan politics have already pushed the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's conditions to this point should be enough to make everyone realize that nuclear plant safety has nothing to do with being right of left of the aisle. It has to do with qualified people making informed decisions in consensus regarding all issues that have an impact on safety.

You can't do that properly with no experience and a political tiedown. Filling the Commission with politically selected lap dogs is the vision of Reid - and it's a vision of peril.

9:25 AM Eastern Thursday April 19, 2012



It did not take long at all for the White House to make a response to this situation in the form of a statement that President Obama will RENOMINATE COMMISSSIONER SVINICKI.

Thanks to Mimi Limbach and to Dan Yurman we have links below to stories just hitting the wires right now about the renomination announcement.

REUTERS - First link on Svinicki renomination

REUTERS - Second link on Svinicki renomination

POLITICO PRO link to Svinicki renomination

I can assure you that a number of us are following these developments and further news will be posted here at APR either amending this post again, or as a new post.



Two links from THE HILL.

First link, 3/15 with back story

Second link, today's brand new post.

One has to imagine that McConnell was not aware yet of the Administration's announcement to renominate Svinicki when the comments were made - what this second link does is help indicate what the overall view on the Republican side of the aisle is over this issue.

APR has attempted to get a statement from Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Cal) who chaired the House Oversight Committee hearings on the NRC Commissioners' letter about Jaczko's behavior. If and when a reply is received which has been approved for release you'll see it here; if it is a general news story published elsewhere or on Mr. Issa's site I'll link it.


  1. So Jaczko never worked on Yucca-related issues before he was on NRC? Is that the criterion for admission? Give me a break.

    Let’s have a subcommittee with subpoena power look at the office, home, and cellphone records of both Reid and Jaczko and get a measure of the collusion. Then we can tell Boxer who the real NRC liar is

  2. @Atomikrabbit: I have to agree!