McConnell pressures White House to re-nominate Republican nuclear official

ADVERTISEMENT
McConnell raised concerns that the White House will allow Svinicki’s term to expire because she has clashed publicly with NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko.

Svinicki and three of her colleagues, including two Democrats, wrote a letter to the White House last year alleging that Jaczko is causing “serious damage” to the agency that could harm the body’s ability to protect health and safety.

The letter was released publicly shortly after an NRC inspector general report exposed major tensions within the agency. The report quoted anonymous NRC staffers who alleged that Jaczko created a tense atmosphere at the agency and, in some instances, berated employees.

Svinicki also initially raised concerns about Jaczko’s timeline for implementing new safety rules put forward in the aftermath of the disaster at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

“Commissioner Svinicki stood up to this guy, who somehow managed to avoid being fired in the wake of all these revelations, in an effort to preserve the integrity of the agency, and to protect the career staffers who were the subject of the chairman’s tactics,” McConnell said, referring to Jaczko.
 
“And now, for some mysterious reason, she’s being held up for re-nomination.”

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) has also called on the White House to re-nominate Svinicki. In March, Sessions threatened to “bring the Senate to a grinding halt” if she was not nominated to second term.

"The Administration agrees that we need a strong NRC, and that will continue to be a priority," White House spokesman Clark Stevens said in a statement. "Whenever a nomination is made, it should be considered expeditiously to make sure there is no break in June."

This story was updated at 2:39 p.m.

More in Energy & Environment

McConnell: ‘Couldn’t be angrier’ about EPA climate rule

Read more »