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May 21, 2012 

Nuclear Regulatory Commission Must Replace Chairman Jaczko with Someone with a Proven Track Record that Puts Safety First

Statement by Edwin Lyman, Union Of Concerned Scientists

WASHINGTON (May 21, 2012) – After nearly eight years—and at least a year of bureaucratic infighting—at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Gregory Jaczko has resigned from his current post as chairman.

Below is a statement by Edwin Lyman, senior scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

“Gregory Jaczko’s resignation as chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission will leave a big hole at the agency. Jaczko often took a more cautious approach on plant safety and security than his colleagues on the commission. He generally supported larger safety margins in the face of uncertainty.

“For example, as a commissioner, Jaczko led the effort after 9/11 to ensure that the agency formally evaluated new reactor designs to strengthen them against aircraft attacks. As chairman, he prudently called for U.S. citizens within 50 miles of Fukushima to evacuate, which was ultimately borne out by the extent of the radiation release. He had NRC staff support for this decision. An internal NRC synopsis of a March 18, 2011, staff briefing obtained through an FOIA request states ‘the 50 mile evacuation was a good call.’

“Looking forward, the president and Congress must do a thorough job vetting any new commissioner to ensure that he or she is as committed as Jaczko is to protecting public health and safety.”


The Union of Concerned Scientists puts rigorous, independent science to work to solve our planet's most pressing problems. Joining with citizens across the country, we combine technical analysis and effective advocacy to create innovative, practical solutions for a healthy, safe, and sustainable future.

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