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Thursday, May 14, 2009

White House names Gregory Jaczko US NRC chairman


Washington (Platts)--13May2009
President Barack Obama has named Commissioner Gregory Jaczko as chairman of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the White House announced Wednesday.

Senate confirmation is not required because Jaczko is already a member of the commission.

Jaczko, a physicist who currently is the only Democrat on the presidentially appointed commission, will replace Dale Klein as chairman. Klein said early this year that he plans to serve out the remainder of his term -- ending in June 2011 -- as a commissioner if replaced as chairman.

Before joining the commission in 2005, Jaczko was science adviser to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada. Reid, a fierce opponent of the DOE high-level nuclear waste repository project at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, pushed for Jaczko's appointment to the commission in 2005. Jaczko's second term ends in June 2013.

"The industry expected this to happen," the industry official said of Jaczko's appointment. He said the industry will continue to work with Jaczko. "He has always had an open door," the official said.

One of the biggest issues the new chairman will have to deal with is the licensing of new reactors. In a keynote address at the NRC's Regulatory Information Conference in February, Jaczko expressed frustration that NRC?s new streamlined licensing process for new reactors wasn't operating as smoothly as had been envisioned.

Klein and Commissioners Pete Lyons and Kristine Svinicki are Republicans. No more than three members of any one political party can be appointed to the commission. One seat on the five-member commission is vacant. Lyons' first five-year term expires at the end of next month. Svinicki's first term ends in June 2012.
--Elaine Hiruo, elaine_hiruo@platts.com
--Steven Dolley, steven_dolley@platts.com


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