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Nuclear Regulatory Commission

June 13, 2012 | By Neela Banerjee, This post has been corrected, as indicated below.
WASHINGTON -- The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, led by California Democrat Barbara Boxer, held a confirmation hearing Wednesday for two members of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that signaled new leadership would soon be coming to the troubled agency. The hearing Wednesday morning was held to review the nomination of Allison M. Macfarlane, a geologist and professor at George Mason University in Virginia, to chair the NRC, succeeding Gregory Jaczko. The hearing also took up the nomination of Kristine Svinicki, an engineer and longtime staffer for several Republican members of Congress, to another term as commissioner at the NRC. Jaczko announced in May that he would be departing the NRC after a tumultuous term when some colleagues and Republican members of Congress criticized his management style as little short of bullying.
May 25, 2012 | By Lisa Mascaro, Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - Stirring the lingering debate over storing nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain in Nevada, President Obama tapped Yucca critic Allison Macfarlane as the new chairwoman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The nomination of Macfarlane, an associate professor at George Mason University in Virginia who has written extensively on Yucca Mountain, is sure to be a lightning rod in the Senate, setting up a confirmation showdown. Republicans in Congress continue to lead the fight against Obama's decision to halt development of the nation's nuclear dump 90 miles north of Las Vegas.
May 21, 2012 | By Lisa Mascaro
WASHINGTON -- The chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission who was championed by watchdogs for his cautious approach to nuclear power but criticized by Republicans in Congress for an overly hard-charging style has announced he will step down. Gregory Jaczko, who led the commission's efforts to protect Americans in Japan during the nuclear crisis at Fukushima and played a key role in fighting the nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain as a former top aide to Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.)
April 29, 2012 | Michael Hiltzik
Reading between the lines, it's probably fair to say that Greg Jaczko may not be someone you'd want to work for. As chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, he's been accused of yelling at people, browbeating subordinates and picking fights with his fellow NRC commissioners when he doesn't get his way. That's pretty much the totality of the bill of particulars Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista) put out in December in support of a concerted, albeit unsuccessful, campaign to drive Jaczko from his job. (Jaczko has acknowledged that there are strong disagreements within the agency, but vehemently denies being especially tough on women, another charge made by Issa.)
April 13, 2012 | By David Ropeik
California's initiative process can be both a wonderfully democratic and perilously dumb way to make law. On no issue could that be more true than the proposed initiative to shut down nuclear power in the state. The initiative would shut down the Diablo Canyon and San Onofre nuclear plants until the federal government approves a permanent disposal site for nuclear waste. The issue is scientifically, environmentally and economically complex, and tangled with powerful emotions. Between the facts and those feelings, guess which will have more influence on the choice people make?
April 7, 2012 | By Abby Sewell, Los Angeles Times
The head of the federal agency overseeing the nation's nuclear power toured the troubled San Onofre plant Friday and promised that the facility's reactors would not restart until officials find the root cause of the mysterious equipment problems that have closed them for the last two months. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko toured the darkened plant along with Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D- Calif.) and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista) and talked to Southern California Edison officials about the unusually fast degradation of steam generator tubes that carry radioactive water in the plant's two working reactor units.
March 30, 2012 | By Rick Rojas, Los Angeles Times
Concern over the safety of the San Onofre nuclear power plant is growing among Orange County cities closest to the facility, which has been shut down since January because of system failures. Officials in nearby San Clemente and Laguna Beach - both within 20 miles of the San Onofre facility - have registered their fears after significant wear was found on hundreds of tubes carrying radioactive water inside the plant's generators. Residents in the Orange County beach towns for years have lived with the twin-domed nuclear plant as a backdrop.
March 28, 2012 | By Abby Sewell, Los Angeles Times
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, citing serious concerns about equipment failures at the San Onofre nuclear power plant, has prohibited Southern California Edison from restarting the plant until the problems are thoroughly understood and fixed. The plant has been shut down for two months, the longest in San Onofre's history, after a tube leak in one of the plant's steam generators released a small amount of radioactive steam. Since then, unusual wear has been found on hundreds of tubes that carry radioactive water.
February 9, 2012 | By Ralph Vartabedian and Ian Duncan
A consortium of utilities in the South won government approval Thursday to construct two new atomic energy reactors at an estimated cost of $14 billion, the strongest signal yet that the three-decade hiatus of nuclear plant construction is finally ending. Several new projects will test whether new technology and streamlined government licensing can help the industry avoid the economic and safety disasters that have tainted its past, nuclear experts say, though critics condemned the action by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
August 27, 2011 | By Tom Hamburger and Melanie Mason, Washington Bureau
The earthquake that rattled much of the East Coast last week is sparking angry calls from elected officials seeking an immediate reevaluation of seismic risks at two dozen or so commercial nuclear plants around the country, including two in California. The frustration is directed at members of the federal agency charged with regulating commercial nuclear plants, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. "I question their dedication to safety," Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), chairwoman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, said in an interview.
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