Gregory Jaczko has resigned his chairmanship of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), saying the time was right to work on public safety in other ways.
Announcing his forthcoming departure, Jazcko said, "After an incredibly productive three years as chairman, I have decided that this is the appropriate time to continue my efforts to ensure public safety in a different forum." He will continue as chairman with safety his "paramount priority" until a successor is appointed.
Jaczko recounted some of the NRC's major areas of work during his chairmanship, including its response to the Fukushima accident and closure of some long-running issues to do with sump strainers and closer management of radioactive sources.
He also oversaw much work to review plans for new reactors, of which four were approved during his tenure. However, Jaczko himself abstained from approving combined construction and operating licences for units at Vogtle and Summer, insisting that post-Fukushima improvements should be in place before licensing. On this matter he was outvoted by the other four members of the politically-appointed commission, with whom he had a sometimes difficult relationship.
Jaczko's background was as an advisor on nuclear matters to Nevada Senator Harry Reid, a major figure in the Democratic party as well as an opponent of the Yucca Mountain waste disposal project in his home state.
Having joined the NRC as a commissioner in January 2005, Jaczko was designated to be chairman by President Barack Obama and he took the role on the departure of Dale Klein in May 2009. Jaczko was then able to use this position to help Obama and Energy Secretary Stephen Chu to permanently shelve the Yucca Mountain project.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News