NRC Kabuki Gets Senate Curtain Call

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Many of us who have been following the disaster at Fukushima Daiichi have also been paying attention to what the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has been doing to respond. A preliminary report was released last year highlighting the weaknesses in U.S. nuclear plants identified by the events at Fukushima.

Yet when NRC Chairman Greg Jaczko tried to spur action in the form of new regulations related to risks from earthquakes, flooding, lousy designs, lousier engineering, corner-cutting and negligent-to-nonexistent maintenance, the other four industry-connected commissioners staged a coup d’etat and took their war with Jaczko to the U.S. Congress.


It was a staged bureaucratic lynching, but it didn’t manage to “get rid of” Obama’s appointed Chairman. It was, however, effective in stalling any new regulations, which was the point. This has allowed the industry to avoid spending any significant money to ensure the next nuclear disaster doesn’t result in dead zones and permanently displaced populations right here in the “Homeland.”

Last December’s Kabuki act quickly faded into the holiday season, all things nuclear went back to Business As Usual.

No new regulations, 2 new licenses – the first issued in decades – several more rubber-stamp 20-year extensions for aging rustbuckets, and no necessary steps taken by the nuclear industry to address the identified weaknesses of those rusty old nukes.

Jaczko’s still the NRC Chairman, his votes to uphold the commission’s public safety mandate routinely overridden by the industry protection squad majority.


Turmoil at U.S. nuclear regulator spills into Congress

WASHINGTON, April 19 (Reuters) – A toxic internal battle that has scarred the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission as it works on historic reforms now threatens to hold up the work of the U.S. Senate as leaders spar over an opening on the five-member panel.


Seems the Republican Senate leadership wants President Obama to renominate the only female member of the commission, Kristine Svinicki, while Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wants her O-U-T. Politico reports this afternoon that Obama will comply and renominate Svinicki, but no word on when Reid might bring the nomination to the floor.

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