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McGaffigan to Leave NRC

Just off the wire from NRC:

ROCKVILLE, MD – Nuclear Regulatory Commission member Edward McGaffigan, Jr., a 31-year veteran of public service and member of the Commission since 1996, announced today he will leave the regulatory body upon the confirmation of a successor.

McGaffigan, 59, announced his intention in letters to President Bush and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev, dated Jan. 4, 2007. The longest-serving member in the NRC’s 32-year history and the only member to have served over 10 years, McGaffigan is undergoing treatment for metastatic melanoma.

“Ed McGaffigan has made exceptionally valuable contributions to the work of the NRC over the past decade. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family,” said NRC Chairman Dale Klein.
For a look back at McGaffigan's career, click here.

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That's what we need right now--the commissioner with the most experience and the one with his head squarest on his shoulders leaving.

IIRC, this is the second vacancy in the last three months, coming right before the first COL applications. Would it not also leave Jaczko as the longest-serving commissioner? Wonderful time for this to happen.

Prepare for a logjam as the lawyers pick off each "second bandwagon market" nuke as it comes out of the government meat grinder.
Paul Primavera said…
I think you'll regret having ingratiated yourselves with the Democrats. Yes, some are pro-nuclear and to be commended, but they are in the minority and they don't control the party. Rather, people like Ed Markey, Dennis Kucinich, Barbara Boxer, Charles Rangel, Rita Lowey, etc., will hold sway and we can expect at least one more commissioner (possibly two if and when Merrifield leaves) like Jaczko who always complains to the anti-nukes that he is just one lone commissioner.

With Pelosi and Reid in charge, it'll be a miracle even if current plants like IPEC and VY get license extension, let alone new ones built.
Starvid, Sweden said…
Uh... do you let politicians run your nuclear safety bureau?

The thought of doing that chills me to the bone.
Ruth Sponsler said…
I can understand why McGaffigan is leaving - he is seriously ill.

I don't undertand why Merrifield wants to leave in June.

Jaczko started his term four days before Lyons did, so Stewart is correct.

I hope that solid candidates are named to replace McGaffigan, and then [in June] Merrifield.

This is one matter where I believe that Bush needs to appoint technically competent, but forthright people. Bush's appointees should have a track record of both competence and also support for nuclear energy.

I certainly don't want to hear about any more "old chums" or "ideologues" being appointed - I remember too well the situations with Michael Brown [FEMA and the botched Katrina situation] and the Harriet Miers Supreme Court nomination.

I don't trust Bush's judgment on the NRC completely....Jaczko was a Bush nominee with a proven track record of opinion against Yucca Mountain. Clinton didn't give us Jaczko...Bush did.

If the Senate gives any partisan fight over a ~well-qualified~ nominee for NRC Commissioner, I believe that the Republicans and the talk radio guys should definitely make an issue out of the matter.

By the way, I say this as a political independent. I side with the Dems on a few issues [mostly economic stuff like the minimum wage], but I have a lot of problems with the California and Northeastern Dems' policies on nuclear energy [and other issues not relevant to the work of the NRC].

I don't want to see Harry Reid, Barbara Boxer etc. to have undue influence in the choice of NRC Commissioners. I would like Democrats who are favorable to nuclear energy to use their input to help select candidates who are committed to nuclear energy but can work with constructive members of both parties.
Anonymous said…
John Breaux would be a good choice, if he could be persuaded to take it. The Dems would have a hard time voting against one of their own ex-Senators. If there is another opening, select someone from academia and/or with national lab experience. John Marburger might fit the bill. Just say no to Ernie Muniz. His role in the HFBR debacle is just too much of an albatross.
Paul Primavera said…
Horray for Ruth Sponsler. Now there's a person with a lot of common sense!
Paul Primavera said…
I just wanted to clarify something Ruth wrote which I should have noticed before (but I still stand behind my hooray for her):

"I don't trust Bush's judgment on the NRC completely....Jaczko was a Bush nominee with a proven track record of opinion against Yucca Mountain. Clinton didn't give us Jaczko...Bush did."

The fact is that Harry Reid wasn't going to allow any NRC appointee to go through the Senate unless his and Rep. Markey's lackey - Jaczko - got appointed. So in a deal with Reid, Bush agreed to appoint ONE person whom Reid had hand-picked and that was Jaczko who had worked for Reid and before that for anti-nuclear Markey in the Congress. To balance this out, Dominici - a Republican - required that Lyons (a pro-nuke guy) get appointed. And that is exactly what Bush did.

So we ended up with a balance between anti-nuke Jaczko and pro-nuke Lyons. The settlement was purely political with Democrat Reid and Republican Dominici.

Thus, don't go blaming Bush.

True, I don't think he understands the technical qualifications that should go into a Commissioner, but Reid and Markey don't either, nor do they wish to.

Dominici, however, DOES understand and that's why we now have the balance between Jaczko and Lyons. At least in that Bush had the wisdom to listen to Dominici when his arm was being wrung by Reid.

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