[ RadSafe ] Fwd: Re: WORTH READING

Maury maurysis at peoplepc.com
Thu May 24 21:47:59 CDT 2012

-------- Original Message --------
Date: 	Thu, 24 May 2012 21:44:25 -0500
From: 	Maury <maurysis at peoplepc.com>
To: 	Vicki Bier <bier at engr.wisc.edu>
CC: 	Richard Boltuck <rboltuck at verizon.net>, Charlie at ccremer.com

Hopefully it all might be delayed until the next Congress. I don't know
about Yucca, but it is absurd to have an NRC Chair who opposes nuclear

On 5/24/2012 9:16 PM, Vicki Bier wrote:
>  Latest on the goings on at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
>    --Vicki
>  ==========================================================
>  Macfarlane-Svinicki pairing gives edge to Democrats
>  By Darius Dixon
>  5/24/12 8:06 PM EDT
>  By nominating Allison Macfarlane on Thursday to chair the NRC, the
>  Obama administration and Senate Democrats are aiming to squeeze as
>  many GOP concessions as they can out of Commissioner Kristine
>  Svinicki's reconfirmation.
>  Like outgoing NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko, Macfarlane is a critic of
>  the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository and a favorite of Senate
>  Majority Leader Harry Reid - two elements that would normally stir up
>  Republican antipathy.
>  But now Democrats can pair her confirmation with that of Svinicki, a
>  GOP favorite whose current term expires at the end of June.
>  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid immediately endorsed the idea of
>  pairing the two nominations, and Environment and Public Works
>  Chairwoman Barbara Boxer announced that her panel will hold a joint
>  hearing on Macfarlane and Svinicki in June. Reid and Boxer had
>  previously opposed a new term for Svinicki, accusing her of lying to
>  Congress about her role in Yucca.
>  Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said the pairing could be a sour deal for
>  Republicans.
>  "The [NRC] chair sets the policy, so I think that might be an unfair
>  bargain," he said. "But that doesn't surprise me, considering Sen.
>  Reid suggested it, assuming again we just fell off the turnip truck."
>  Although McCain was skeptical that many Republicans would sign up for
>  such a deal, he noted that the alternative is keeping Jaczko as
>  chairman. "We're now approaching the month of June, we're in an
>  election season," McCain said. "It is what it is."
>  But for now, some Republicans seem willing to take their poison pill
>  if it means they get to keep Svinicki on the commission for another
>  five-year term.
>  Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell kept a measured tone about
>  Macfarlane's nomination. "While she was not my choice, she's certain
>  to be an improvement over the incumbent. And I'm glad to see Democrats
>  dropping their holds on Kristine Svinicki," he said in a statement to
>  Senate EPW ranking member Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) wasn't keen on
>  Macfarlane either but said, "Frankly, I appreciate Harry Reid helping
>  us move this forward."
>  "I didn't expect to get a nominee from the White House that I would be
>  happy with for a chairman, but Svinicki is very important to get her
>  back on," Inhofe told reporters. "And I think that by having a hearing
>  where we have both of them, I feel good about that, and we'll be able
>  to move on it."
>  As for Macfarlane, he said, "I know about her and I know that she is
>  not philosophically where I would want to support her, just from what
>  I know about her." On the other hand, Inhofe added, "We need to get
>  the commission going again."
>  Macfarlane, a geologist and an associate professor of environmental
>  science and policy at George Mason University, is a well-known figure
>  in nuclear policy circles, in part because Reid tried to push her onto
>  the NRC leadership in 2007. She has also co-edited a book that
>  "explores the unresolved technical issues for nuclear waste disposal
>  at Yucca Mountain."
>  Former NRC staff members said Macfarlane's previous candidacy was
>  upended at the time partly because of fierce opposition from longtime
>  Democratic NRC Commissioner Ed McGaffigan Jr., who, after being
>  diagnosed with melanoma, had offered to resign if President George W.
>  Bush would find a replacement. But when Macfarlane's name came up,
>  McGaffigan reneged on his offer and stayed on the commission until his
>  death in September 2007.
>  Even if Macfarlane wins confirmation this time, Democrats could face a
>  difficult renomination fight to keep her there after she finishes
>  Jaczko's term, which expires in June 2013.
>  Meanwhile, securing a new term for Svinicki now means that Republicans
>  wouldn't have to defend a GOP seat on the commission until 2016, when
>  Commissioner William Ostendorff's term expires.
>  Some lawmakers were noncommittal about Macfarlane, including Sen. Lisa
>  Murkowski (R-Alaska), who said she didn't know enough about Macfarlane
>  to judge her capabilities. But Murkowski, the top Republican on the
>  Energy and Natural Resources Committee, praised the White House for
>  nominating someone quickly. She added that pairing Jaczko's
>  replacement with Svinicki "makes sense, and it kind of takes care of a
>  couple of different things."
>  "While I want to make sure that we get the right person, I'm also very
>  cognizant that we don't need gaps over at the regulatory commissions,"
>  Murkowski said. "I'm hopeful that now that her name has come down, the
>  committees will move on this and will be able to, hopefully, get this
>  all tied up by the end of June so that Svinicki can get through that
>  process too." Murkowski also wasn't moved to fight Macfarlane's
>  candidacy over her positions on Yucca Mountain.
>  "Where are we going to find someone who hasn't taken a position one
>  way or another on Yucca?" she said with a chuckle. "I'm looking for
>  somebody that has integrity, credibility, knowledge with what goes on
>  within the nuclear sector."
>  Although withholding judgment on how effective she would be as NRC
>  chief, Heritage Foundation nuclear expert Jack Spencer said
>  Macfarlane's nomination will once again put Yucca Mountain at "center
>  stage" politically.
>  "The nomination of Dr. Macfarlane is not a surprise," Spencer said.
>  "The question will be whether or not she can check her previous
>  positions at the door and take on the role of an objective regulator.
>  That certainly seemed to be a challenge for Dr. Jaczko when it came to
>  Yucca Mountain."
>  The confirmation process "provides a great opportunity to confront and
>  resolve all of the unnecessary delay tactics regarding Yucca's fate,"
>  Spencer said.

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