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Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Jaczko Resigns

The Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Gregory Jaczko, resigned today. Activists concerned about the safety of the San Onofre nuclear power plant are disappointed.

Jaczko was known as a maverick that stood up for safety on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, but was deeply unpopular with the other four commissioners.

The Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Gregory Jaczko, resigned today. Activists concerned about the safety of the San Onofre nuclear power plant are disappointed.

He visited San Onofre in April after an accidental leak resulted in the shutdown of the plant in January.

Damon Moglen of Friends of the Earth, who spoke with the chairman about the problems at San Onofre, said Jaczko’s resignation is a blow.

“He’s the only NRC commissioner to come out to visit the plant, to meet with citizens,” Moglen said. “He was making a real commitment and I think people should be very concerned and disturbed that this real leader in the NRC has now been forced to announce his resignation.”

Friends of the Earth has sponsored studies that suggest Southern California Edison misled the NRC when it replaced the steam generators at San Onofre, describing the new design as as equivalent to the old design.

Jaczko told Edison the company could not reopen the plant until the cause of the steam generator leak had been established. Edison has still not announced its conclusions, but has said the new design may be a factor.

Jaczko was accused last year by other commissioners of being a bully. However, last December, Senator Barbara Boxer characterized those accusations as “a witch hunt.“

During his tenure, Jaczko worked to scuttle plans for a spent fuel repository in Yucca Mountain. He also tried to rewrite the NRC’s safety goals after a tsunami caused a major accident at Fukushima.

Jaczko’s term was not due to end until next June. The White House will appoint his replacement, who must also be confirmed by the Senate.

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