Green groups want nuclear regulator to step down

A coalition of environmental groups sent a letter to President Obama Monday asking him to seek the resignation of Bill Magwood, a member of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

The 34 groups, including the Sierra Club’s Nuclear Free Campaign and Friends of the Earth, accused Magwood of a conflict of interest for pursuing and accepting a position leading the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA), an international organization that they say promotes nuclear power.

“Mr. Magwood is now committed to an organization whose mandate to promote nuclear energy as well as the economic interests of its members is antithetical to the basic principles of the Energy Reorganization Act of 1974 that safety, not economics, must be the NRC’s paramount consideration,” the groups wrote.

The NEA announced in March that Magwood would become its director general in September. Magwood has not said when he would resign from the NRC, a five-member board charged with nuclear safety regulation.

The environmental groups said they asked Magwood directly to resign in June, but he refused.

“We now ask you to request Mr. Magwood’s resignation because you nominated him to the NRC in 2010, and appear to have supported his candidacy to the NEA in 2013,” the groups wrote to Obama.

Magwood also said the NEA does not advocate for nuclear energy, an assertion with which the environmental groups do not agree.