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New NRC Chief Tells Congress She’ll Run Agency in Collegial Way

Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Allison Macfarlane, who took office two weeks ago, will pledge in her first appearance before Congress to run the agency “in a collaborative and collegial manner.”

Macfarlane, in testimony prepared for a House hearing tomorrow, draws a contrast between her and Gregory Jaczko, who resigned amid accusations he failed to include other commissioners in decision making and berated the staff.

“I have already begun to meet regularly with my commissioner colleagues, to seek their thoughts on major issues facing the agency, and to benefit from their expertise,” Macfarlane said in testimony submitted to House Energy and Commerce Committee for a hearing. “I have also had the opportunity to meet a number of the dedicated staff at the NRC, who have begun to provide me with briefings on some of the important issues before the agency.”

Macfarlane, reiterating comments by her predecessor, said the agency see no imminent risk from continued operation of U.S. nuclear power plants. Additional requirements will be imposed on power companies to assure nuclear facilities are able to cope with “beyond-design-basis” natural disasters.

An NRC inspector general report last month said Jaczko acted within his authority in directing the commission’s response to Japan’s Fukushima crisis. The IG also reported that some staffers said they were bullied by him.

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