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N.R.C. Chairman to Resign After Stormy Tenure

Chairman Jaczko set to resign position at NRC

The longest-serving member of the five-member commission announced in a press released statement that he will resign his post, adding “Serving the American people as the Chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has been an honor and privilege. The mission of this agency – protecting people and the environment, and providing for the common defense and security – could not be more clear, or more critical.”
Those of us paying attention have known this was coming for awhile now. As the only non-industry operated puppet on the regulatory commission, Jaczko weathered a coordinated coup d'etat highlighted in a dog and pony show last December in Congress and led by the likeliest industry-approved successor to the chair.
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.
Congressman Ed Markey of Massachusetts said of his former advisor,
"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 insupport of much-needed safety upgrades recommended by the commission's safety staff," Mr. Markey said in a statement Monday.
Jaczko's announcement comes following last week's NRC action to gut emergency planning and exercises designed to ensure coordinated response to emergencies at U.S. nuclear plants.

The new rule, reported Thursday, May 15, 2012, was issued with no fanfare and cuts nuclear emergency exercises involving federal, state and local governments.

Linda Lewis, a radiological emergency planning specialist and policy analyst, writes…

Not since the bungled response to Hurricane Katrina has the US federal government so callously ignored disaster red flags. Disregarding lessons of the Fukushima Daiichi disaster, the Nuclear Regulatory Administration [NRC] secretively issued a new rule that decreases the frequency of emergency exercises and requires the use of exercise scenarios with no release of radiation, the Associated Press (AP) article reported Tuesday. The new rule will be implemented jointly by the NRC and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
The entire article is well worth a read, though you're not likely to like what it's telling you.

Regulatory capture of the agency charged with ensuring the safety of nuclear reactors has actually worsened since the disaster last year at Fukushima, and there was never really anything one man could do to change that situation. I wish Jaczko well, and hope he will use what he has learned about how things nuclear really [don't] work to continue advocating strongly for the health and safety of the American people over the profits and graft of an industry embracing the most dangerous means of boiling water ever conceived in the twisted minds of men.

Originally posted to Joieau on Mon May 21, 2012 at 10:59 AM PDT.

Also republished by Whistleblowers Round Table.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Looking on the bright side... (8+ / 0-)

    yeah, that's me. There may be a silver lining here. If Jaczko continues to live by his principles, he may be free to pursue the public interest more aggressively now that he's no longer constrained by his office. Hello, whistle-blower!

    •  Well, it was obvious that (6+ / 0-)

      the industry shills who have worked so hard to ensure that the NRC operates as industry lapdog weren't ever going to allow Jaczko to turn the tide toward the actual job description, especially not after Daiichi proved to the entire world just how insane this power source really is.

      So yeah, he could likely accomplish much more from outside the NRC than he could ever have hoped to accomplish from the inside. I truly hope he does.

      •  It's amazing Jaczko lasted as long as he did (5+ / 0-)

        considering the people who surrounded him. The man has been positively heroic, but he was fighting uphill all the way. He must be exhausted by now.

        His biggest foe on the Commission was a guy named Bill Magwood, a long time industry lobbyist who at one time worked for Tepco Daichi as a safety consultant. Are we supposed to laugh or cry?

        President Obama gets to appoint the new Chairman, and probably Harry Reid will have the last say as to who gets the job, but it's hard to imagine why anyone would want it.

        "Here's another nice mess you've gotten me into." - Oliver Hardy

        by native on Mon May 21, 2012 at 12:08:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  All things considered, though... (0+ / 0-)

        it's still a really good day here at DK, isn't it Joieau? I am amazed and deeply grateful that decency has prevailed. Enjoy!

  •  The chair will most likely (5+ / 0-)

    be awarded to coup leader Bill Magwood, a Democrat and industry insider who led a strikingly similar coup against his previous boss at the Department of Energy (and having himself appointed to the position). Magwood and his cronies on the commission will likely then resurrect Yucca Mountain, which Jaczko managed to 'kill' as his only useful act during his tenure at NRC. The nuclear industry is desperate to have a high level waste repository in operation as quickly as possible, damn the suitability and the public expense as well as the wishes of the people in whose state they plan to dump the waste.

    Then we can look forward to almost daily shipments of our accumulated 70,000 tons of high level waste (a.k.a. "spent fuel assemblies") on the railroads and highways of the nation, where of course there is NO chance it will ever meet with destructive accident or terrorist hijacking (heh). Thereby freeing up some room in those glorified swimming pools with no containment - some of them hovering 100 feet above the ground - for ever more high level waste to be generated at an overt cost of $10,800 per kilowatt, and an occult cost of many thousands more. The most dangerous and expensive means of generating electricity that has ever existed, bar none.

    The industry and its governmental lapdogs fully intend to keep right on nuking us forever. It will be up to we the people to put a stop to it. I expect that battle front to heat up to nearly nuclear temperatures in record time.

  •  Bernie Sanders said the other (7+ / 0-)

    day that congress / government is entirely controlled by corporate interests, this is just another example.

  •  Jaczko is responsible for what happened. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mcrab, Roadbed Guy

    Jaczko allowed himself to become a liability to the President.

    He embarrassed the administration during Fukushima by recommending a 50-mile evacuation zone for Americans when he falsely believed a spent fuel pool was dry without consulting the Japanese, without consulting the other commissioners, without seeking firm corroborating evidence from satellite photos. It was all Jaczko.

    Nobody likes being played. Of course the other commissioners were pissed at Jaczko for deliberately keeping information from them about Yucca Mountain and then unilaterally stopping the program, probably in violation on the law.

    Congressmen don't like being played either. Jaczko repeatedly denied under oath acting like a complete dick around female staffers, but then reportedly apologized to four of them after the hearings. Reportedly the Office of Inspector General was finishing up another unflattering report on Jazko's behavior that substantiated the allegations that he could be a complete prick. The Republicans would have had a field day claiming Obama was shielding a women-hating prick. Obama simply doesn't need that kind of distraction and attention during an election year. Jaczko did what Reid sent him to the NRC to do, he killed Yucca Mountain. He could be cut loose.

    Jaczko probably could have survived everything else if he had been smart, but being verbally abusive to female staffers was unnecessary and stupid. He did it to himself.

    •  Retaliatory smears are SOP (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PreciousLittle

      in the nuclear industry, and I that probably was one of them.

      •  Retaliation for what? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mcrab, Roadbed Guy

        Are you saying a person can't be anti-nuclear AND an ass? Are you suggesting that a gaggle of catty female staffers just made up wild stories about Jaczko having a bad temper and verbally abusing them in front of others in retaliation for....? Aren't you one of those read the OIG reports? Is your confirmation bias so bad that you need to construct elaborate conspiracy theories to fit the facts into your world view?

        •  Please, that's putting words in people's... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Deep Harm

          mouths, your tone is inflammatory, and the level of personal insult toward the other commenter is unprovoked and uncalled for.

          Yes, we know, Blubba: this is a victory for pro-nuclear proponents and a defeat for those of us who are critics of the nuclear industry. The occasion reminds me of the adage: show humility in victory and be gracious in defeat.

          For your part, you are not off to a good start with these taunts and jeers about "catty female staffers...confirmation bias...and conspiracy theories"; to say nothing of your characterizations of Jaczko as a "complete dick...complete prick...and a woman-hating prick".

          Basically, you just took a victory dump all over the thread; which doesn't leave you any moral high ground from which to admonish Jaczko or anybody else. Still, I truly hope we will try to do better when it's our turn to celebrate :-)

          •  My comments had nothing to do with (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Mcrab, Roadbed Guy

            "winning" anything. I wasn't gloating. I merely provided an explanation of what happened and why that did not rely on the need for elaborate conspiracies.

            The implication that the industry created an elaborate smear campaign involving fictional or co-opted female NRC staffers and an incompetent or corrupt OIG is what is inflammatory.

  •  Thanks for this post, Joieau (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    randallt, PreciousLittle, Creosote

    I think I know how Jaczko feels.  I tried to push back against efforts to water down preparedness, and blew the whistle on coverups.  Without a critical mass of people committed to public safety, however, it was a futile attempt.

  •  I hope this goes from rescued to recommended! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Deep Harm, PreciousLittle, Creosote

    Thanks!!! Joieau.

    if a habitat is flooded, the improvement for target fishes increases by an infinite percentage...because a habitat suitability index that is even a tiny fraction of 1 is still infinitely higher than zero, which is the suitability of dry land to fishes.

    by mrsgoo on Mon May 21, 2012 at 09:10:13 PM PDT

  •  Joieau is a valuable expert resource (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PreciousLittle, Creosote

    and banning her from this website was seriously wrongheaded.

    I invite everyone who enjoyed Joieau's diaries to visit Enformable.com, where intelligent discussions of nuclear issues--like hers--are welcome.

    •  DH, what just happened? (0+ / 0-)

      Joieau isn't currently banned is she?

      •  Check out her profile (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PreciousLittle

        ...you'll see the skull and bones.  

        It's my understanding that she had been attacked by a known, pro-nuke troll making misogynist comments, and felt forced to stand up for herself because the site administrators refused to protect her.  As a woman, I'm outraged.

        •  The misogyny, it burns... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Deep Harm, Andhakari

          This is sick $hit.

          Joieau gets banned for referring to bryfry as an "a-hole", when being an "asshole" is his stated aspiration.

          Bryfry, who identifies himself in his personal profile as: an "Aspiring Assholyte"; whose avatar caption is: "Being an Asshole is all Part of My Manly Essence". Bryfry who called Joieau a: "s-nile f-ing c-nt".

          Only on this reservation are these two events equivalent. The verdict is in: it appears that being called a "s-nile  f-ing  c-nt" is the price women have to pay if they want to go on doing business at DK. A few weeks ago, Slinkerwink was banned for making reference to the fact that she had been called the "C" word.

          Joieau has often written that when Kos has to deal with a complaint he bans victims and perpetrators, all in one fell swoop. So, I'm guessing old bry played the "C" card; knowing that Joieau would feel she had no choice but to report him -- he figured Kos would ban him, but they'd also get Joieau in the process. Then again, that would have required foresight and strategy, and those were NOT bry's strong suites.

          Joieau and Jaczko gone on the same day.

          The policing of dissent is only gonna get worse heading into teh election and all.

           

        •  But not outraged that the Chairman of the (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mcrab, bryfry

          NRC is apparently mysogynistic? Are you suggesting that if true he should get a fee pass?

          •  I know how the system works (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            PreciousLittle

            and your comments suggest that you don't.

            1) Here's how it works:

            2a) Unfair treatment of women is widespread in the federal government.  But, the feds routinely cover that up, defending the perpetrators and attacking the victims.

            2b) Unfair treatment of whistleblowers is also widespread in the federal government. Those who tell truths about the nuclear industry are subjected to particularly nasty retaliation, including character smears.

            2 plus 2, meet 4.

            4) Accusations against a truth teller have a high probability of being untrue or exaggerated.  That doesn't mean they are never true.  But, they usually are. Unfortunately, there is no shortage of people willing to lie to keep their jobs or get promoted. I personally know people whose employment was threatened just for saying something positive about a whistleblower's performance. The system cannot tolerate any such interference with its carefully crafted lies.

            •  Jaczko is no whistleblower. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Mcrab, bryfry

              He had two of the most powerful men in the world in his corner in the form of Reid and Obama, not to mention Markey and others. If there was corruption going on he could have blown the story sky high and there would have been nothing stopping him.

              Instead it was several women at the NRC who had reason to fear the very unfair treatment you describe who came forward.

              Jaczko is no truth teller. His public claims of having an open administration run in sharp contrast to the autocratic and retaliatory management style documented in the OIG reports.

              But go on and make excuses and play the hypocrit.

              •  Blub, if this is you being gracious in victory... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Deep Harm

                I'd hate to see what it looks like when you work yourself up into full gloating mode.

                No doubt, the whole of the Republican party is celebrating on this day as well. In fact, Rush Limbaugh is probably on the air as we speak -- smearing Jaczko in the same giddy, hyperventilating manner you are doing right now.

                And yes, Blub, we've also seen how Rush likes to feign the feminist at times like these. Faux-feminism in the service of a Limbaughian witch-hunt, we know how that works. For sure, nothing pleases Rushy more than to pit women against women in the take down of a politically progressive man. Nothing pleases him more, unless it's calling women "hypocritical" sluts if they don't pick up the pitch fork and join his slovenly mob.

                Yeah, heckuva job there, Blub.

              •  Keep saying that Blubba (0+ / 0-)

                The industry pays good money to those who are willing to attack their opponents, and credibility is entirely optional.

          •  Personally (0+ / 0-)

            I don't think that Jaczko is misogynistic. I think that it is far more likely that he was simply out of his league and his frustration manifested itself by abusing those under him.

            It is unfortunate that this allegedly took a particularly hard toll on some of the female employees, but I'm far from convinced that he singled them out.

            Then again, I could be wrong.

            Quid novi ex Africa

            by bryfry on Tue May 22, 2012 at 08:10:44 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Joieau is banned. What a draconian travesty. n/t (0+ / 0-)

      This is a partial sequence of the events in question, fwiw:

      Sorry, it ain't gonna work, (1+ / 0-)

      a-hole. APSRs are the bullshit of the century - the one past, Fuku's gonna be the bullshit of this one. APSRs exist as part of the retinue of shaping absorber rods, mostly in the periphery, and always have. They are not among the bundled control rods that MUST fall in order to stop fission in a reactor.

      You are saying that all the 'expert' engineers and physicists on the Kemeny Commission AND the Rogovin Commission (which was an NRC snow job) perpetrated a grotesque LIE about the accident at TMI2 swearing - some of them under oath - that 69 rods fell. A LIE that apparently had no reason for existing until 3 years later when we pointed out that 8 of the 69 control rods they universally deemed "necessary" to successful scram never managed to fall. What's 8 rods between friends in a reactor deprived completely of heat removal, eh?

      Nothing you can say at ten bucks a pop changes reality one bit. At TMI2, or at Fukushima Daiichi/Daiini.

      Now I've some ducks and chickens to tend to, a beautiful evening to enjoy, and lots of loved ones to enjoy it with. Bye.

      Home Health Physics: Now Bilingual.

      by Joieau on Sun May 20, 2012 at 05:55:25 PM EDT

      [ Parent | Reply to This ]

      Still won't let go of the lie (3+ / 19-)

      will you, s-nile f-ing c-nt? (See, you're not the only one who can use salty language that is hidden behind a hyphen sign.)

      You and your equally clueless "colleagues" (a bunch of people with, what ... a high school education? ... I'm guessing here) merely stumbled upon the  eight ASPR's, and not having the first clue how a B&W nuclear reactor is controlled, you made the mistake of turning it all into a giant, but rather pathetic, conspiracy theory.

      I can understand why you're frustrated, since I can't imagine that anyone with any knowledge about the accident ever took you seriously — although I'm sure that a few enjoyed a good laugh — but here you are, over 30 years later, still making up conspiracy theory crap.

      It's rather cute, actually. You're kind of like a pet of this site — our very own electronic version of the guy on the corner wearing the sandwich board claiming that the world will end tomorrow.

      Although, I have to admit that you have some serious competition in the nuttiness department from ngk01001, who appears to be making a hobby out of posting diaries that collect well-deserved HR's in the tip jar.

      Better get crack'n if you don't want to be outdone.

      Quid novi ex Africa

      by bryfry on Sun May 20, 2012 at 07:04:58 PM EDT

      [ Parent | Reply to This ]

      [bryfry] Banned for insults (11+ / 0-)

      and upraters have lost their ratings ability.

      by kos on Mon May 21, 2012 at 04:54:00 PM EDT

      [ Parent | Reply to This | Recommend Hide ]

      [Joieau] Banned for personal insult (3+ / 0-)

      and uprater has lost ratings ability.

      by kos on Mon May 21, 2012 at 04:54:44 PM EDT

      [ Parent | Reply to This | Recommend Hide ]

  •  Contentious diaries and comments on Daily Kos (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PreciousLittle

    bring out so much bad behavior that it's really not worth the time taken and the angst induced slogging through them. I found it easier to debate the Vietnam War with fellow students circa 1968. Long ago I told myself that I would know when I was getting old when I stopped finding the world a familiar place and started more and more to say to myself, "I just don't understand ______ anymore." Well, I'm getting very old now.

    Moderation in most things.

    by billmosby on Thu May 24, 2012 at 07:18:45 AM PDT

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