Skip to main content

LATEST UPDATES: Tracking COVID-19 | Vaccines | Racial Justice

Obama Names Yucca Mountain Critic Allison Macfarlane To Lead NRC

President Barack Obama has nominated an expert on nuclear waste to lead the federal agency that regulates the nation’s nuclear power plants.

She is Allison Macfarlane, who served on a presidential commission that studied new strategies to manage nuclear waste. Macfarlane wrote a book in 2006 that raised technical questions about a proposed nuclear waste dump at Nevada’s Yucca Mountain. She is an associate professor at George Mason University.

If confirmed by the Senate, Macfarlane would replace Gregory Jaczko as head of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. He announced his resignation this week after a tumultuous three-year tenure.

Jaczko pushed for sweeping safety reforms but came under fire for an unyielding management style that fellow commissioners and agency employees described as bullying. He is a Democrat and former congressional aide.

Activists concerned about the safety of the San Onofre nuclear power plant said they were disappointed with Jaczko's resignation.

Senator Barbara Boxer endorsed Macfarlane's nomination.

"Dr. Allison Macfarlane’s background and experience demonstrate that she has the strong commitment to safety that is so needed in this post-Fukushima era," Boxer said in a statement. "I look forward to proceeding with a joint hearing on the two NRC nominees in June.”


San Diego News Now podcast branding

San Diego news; when you want it, where you want it. Get local stories on politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. New episodes are ready weekday mornings. Hosted by Anica Colbert and produced by KPBS, San Diego and the Imperial County's NPR and PBS station.

  • Need help keeping up with the news that matters most? Get the day's top news — ranging from local to international — straight to your inbox each weekday morning.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Curious San Diego banner

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or sign up for our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.