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U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Resigns

N.R.C. Chairman Gregory Jaczko Resigns After Being Criticized by Peers

Gregory Jaczko, the Chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), said on Monday that he would be resigning from his post, but remain in his position until the administration approves his successor. News of his resignation comes after nearly eight years with the agency.

Jaczko, 41, has been criticized by his peers on the commission, lawmakers, and the agency’s inspector general, for his confrontational management style. Last year, in a letter to the White House, the other NRC commissioners accused Jaczko of being a bully, and said he attempted to intimidate a panel of independent advisors. He denied the charges.

“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,” Jaczko said in his resignation letter.

In a statement, Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA) said that Jaczko’s actions will close “an ugly chapter” in the NRC’s history, and allow the agency to focus on its mission of ensuring the safe operations of the nation’s nuclear pants.

Jaczko’s credits while acting as Chairman include safety reviews and implementing changes that were the result of the lessons learned during the aftermath of the Fukushima Da-ichi crisis. In addition, he overseen the finalization of regulations that ensure new reactors can withstand aircraft impacts, as well as measures to increase transparency within the agency.

In 2009, his first year as Chairman, Jaczko signed off on 10 CFR (NRC Code of Federal Regulations) 73.54, which required nuclear licensees and those applying for new reactor licenses to submit a cyber security plan and an implementation timeline for NRC approval.

“To be successful in combating the cyber threat, the NRC, and its government and private sector partners must continue to build on their relationships and make use of advances in technology. That partnering, when combined with the use of technology, helps ensure that cyber attacks at both prevented and deterred,” the NRC said in a brief on the CFR changes.

Concluding his resignation letter, Jaczko said that serving with the NRC was an honor and privilege. “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.”

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Steve Ragan is a security reporter and contributor for SecurityWeek. Prior to joining the journalism world in 2005, he spent 15 years as a freelance IT contractor focused on endpoint security and security training.