After nearly eight years on the Commission, I am announcing my resignation as Chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, effective upon the confirmation of my successor. My responsibility and commitment to safety will continue to be my paramount priority after I leave the Commission and until my successor is confirmed.
After an incredibly productive three years as Chairman, I have decided this is the appropriate time to continue my efforts to ensure public safety in a different forum. This is the right time to pass along the public safety torch to a new chairman who will keep a strong focus on carrying out the vital mission of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
During this last year alone, the agency has responded with an impressive focus on safety under my leadership to a number of diverse challenges including the accident at the Fukushima Da-ichi reactors in Japan, and a number of severe incidents at reactors in the United States ranging from flooding, an earthquake and tornados to damaged plant structures and steam generator problems. In addition to this vigilant oversight, together we identified and began to implement lessons learned from Fukushima and completed our rigorous safety reviews for the first new reactor licenses in 30 years.
Throughout my time on the Commission as both Chairman and Commissioner, the agency finalized regulations to ensure new reactors are designed to withstand an aircraft impact, completed the development and implementation of a safety culture policy statement, enhanced our focus on openness and transparency, and enhanced awareness of and worked to resolve some of the most long-standing generic issues facing the nuclear industry, including sump strainer issues and fire protection. Beyond the power reactor work, substantial progress was made in establishing a more transparent and effective oversight program for fuel cycle facilities. In addition, radioactive sources of concern are now fully protected with our new security regulations and source tracking system. We stand as a stronger and more decisive regulator now because of these years of efforts. I am truly humbled by the agency’s success.
Serving the American people as the Chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has been an honor and privilege. The mission of this agency – protecting people and the environment, and providing for the common defense and security – could not be more clear, or more critical. Our collective focus on that mission was, I believe, one of the primary reasons the Nuclear Regulatory Commission was one of the best places to work in the federal government throughout my tenure. The highly talented and dedicated professional staff, including dozens who have served on my personal staff over the years, have been instrumental in fulfilling the agency’s mission.
I will always be grateful for the opportunity of having served alongside the staff for all of these years, and for all that we accomplished together. I am looking forward to bringing all I have learned from my work and focus on safety at this agency with me as I move forward.
Note: Transcript of later press conference 0524nrc1652
10 thoughts on “Statement of NRC Chairman Gregory B. Jaczko”
Shirley Jackson must be happy knowing she will no longer be considered the worst chairman of the NRC.
I wish Chairman Jazcko the best in his future endeavors. While I don’t always agree with his positions, I admire his strong and passionate feelings and his willingness stand for what he believes in. The NRC does an outstanding job overall in ensuring safety of the public. I know of no other private or government organization that is as thorough, focuses on facts and promotes excellence. I’m confident a new Commissioner will be found with the right knowledge and expertise to help lead the agency in the future.
This plus the dissenting letter from Region IV leaves the NRC with a huge credibility issue. Are we safe yet? New safety measures beg the question: Was the NRC, adamant that safety measures have been adequate all along, wrong. If so, how do we know that the current measures will protect us in the future?
It is too bad Chairman Jackzo felt he could not truly advance the cause of safety within the context of the only agency mandated to protect us from the serious homeland threat posed by our very own nuclear fleet. An overhaul of the NRC is sorely needed and badly overdue. U.S. nuclear policy overall is antiquated, just like so many old dinosaur reactors being pushed to the brink nationwide. If the NRC’s real mandate was public safety, these old reactors would already be shuttered just like the communities around them want. The world is waking up to the false promises made by the ‘cult of the atom.’ The Economist magazine March 2012 cover trumpeted: “Nuclear Power: The Dream that Failed.” Outgoing Exelon Chairman and CEO John Rowe told Forbes in April: “There is no future for nuclear in the US.” It is time to end the federal coddling of big nuclear and leave Cold War thinking behind. I hope Jackzo finds a perch and a pulpit to help the US modernize our nuclear energy policy and avoid future catastrophes such as the economic devastation, the long-term public health menace and severe environmental contamination threatening Japan and us all.
Is there anyone at the agency who is not glad to see the Chairman resign?
I am sure the Nuclear Energy industry will be sad to see such a wonderful lobbiest leaving his bully pulpet. Heaping praise on himself begs the question; who does he think he’s fooling for one second, except his friends in the nuclear industry?
I’m disappointed to lose a Commissioner willing to vote against industry when they fight increased safety margins at commercial nuclear power stations. It’s a dark day to lose Chairman Jaczko.
Only the self-serving, arrogant Jaczko could use the phrase, “After an incredibly productive three years as Chairman…” when in fact his term has been very destructive. His unilateral action stopped Yucca Mountain, the nuclear industry’s solution to the issue permanent nuclear waste disposal. Additionally, his chairmanship has been destructive to the safety-conscious work environment (SCWE) within the NRC.
Nonetheless, after meeting the man, and observing him in several public meetings, I could have predicted the narcissism in his resignation letter. I’m sure I’m not the only one.
Gregory Jackzo will be remembered as the person who cost 313 milion Americans their freedom pursuing energy and economic security by sustainable nuclear power doing Reid, Markey, Boxer, Feinstein, Pelosi, Obama and others bidding to shut down Yucca Mountain. I have been in nuclear power since 1963.
Very sad day for the future generations.
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