House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY), and Environment and the Economy Subcommittee Chairman John Shimkus (R-IL) today reiterated their concern about the Obama administration's failure to take timely action on NRC leadership when confronted with serious problems last fall, the gravity of which were underscored by a new NRC Inspector General's report on outgoing chairman Gregory Jaczko that was delivered to Congress this afternoon.
Chairmen Upton, Whitfield, and Shimkus made the following statement:
"The Inspector General's report provides independent confirmation that the grave concerns about the NRC Chairman's behavior raised by the four commissioners were indeed legitimate. Sadly, by ignoring the situation at the time, the White House was essentially an accomplice to the Chairman's creation of a chilled work environment as the agency sought to address nuclear safety issues in the wake of the Fukushima accident. It is incredible that the White House turned a blind eye after the four courageous commissioners signed a letter voicing their concerns and confidentially met with the White House Chief of Staff last October.
"Ensuring our nuclear safety is the preeminent mission of the commission, but Jaczko's intimidating and bullying behavior, withholding information, and dismal management skills jeopardized the ability of NRC to function as an organization. Commissioners Svinicki, Apostolakis, Magwood, and Ostendorff should be commended for weathering the storm and selflessly putting the NRC and the American people first and foremost. We are safer for their service.
"Damage has been done that will take some time to repair. With the proper leadership, the robust reputation of the NRC could be restored. Time will tell whether the next chair will work collegially to restore the NRC's credibility as an independent, objective protector of public health and safety."