The greenies have lost their guy at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The New York Times:
WASHINGTON — Gregory B. Jaczko, whose three-year tenure as chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has been marked by bitter battles with colleagues and with Congress, announced Monday that he would step down as soon as a successor was confirmed.
Dr. Jaczko, chairman since May 2009 and the longest-serving member of the five-member commission, was an outsider and a maverick. He had drawn sharp criticism for helping to end government consideration of a proposed nuclear waste dump at Yucca Mountain, a volcanic ridge about 100 miles from Las Vegas, and for assuming some emergency powers at the commission after the triple meltdown of Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi reactors in March 2011.
He sought to address some longstanding safety problems at America’s nuclear power reactors, but with a background in nuclear physics and nuclear policy but not the nuclear industry, Dr. Jaczko was long viewed with skepticism and mistrust by some industry insiders.
In a telephone interview Sunday, Dr. Jaczko refused to talk about his clashes with other commissioners, which resulted in an internal commission investigation and Congressional hearings.
“I thought it was really the right time to make that announcement, to give the president an opportunity to take whatever time may be needed to identify and work through the process of selecting a successor,” he said. While acknowledging the fierce attacks from Republicans, Dr. Jaczko said they were not a factor in his choice to resign. “This was my own decision,” he said.
Until he is replaced, he said, he will come to work every day “to continue to do just the same things I’ve been doing” — directing the regulatory commission’s work overseeing health and safety at American nuclear installations. “And I will do it with the same smile on my face,” he said.
Representative Edward J. Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts, praised Mr. Jaczko, a former Markey adviser.
“Greg has led a Sisyphean fight against some of the nuclear industry’s most entrenched opponents of strong, lasting safety regulations, often serving as the lone vote in support of much-needed safety upgrades recommended by the commission’s safety staff,” Mr. Markey said in a statement Monday.