Head of US nuclear safety agency to step down

May 21, 2012, 3:04 PM

Associated Press

ATLANTA (AP) – The head of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced Monday that he will resign as soon as a successor is confirmed to lead the country’s nuclear safety agency, a decision that comes after fellow commissioners publicly rebuked Jaczko and accused him of acting like a bully.

Jaczko said in a written statement that he will continue efforts to protect public safety “in a different forum.” He did not offer any additional details on his future plans.

“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,” Jaczko said.

His resignation comes after fellow NRC commissioners criticized Jaczko, revealing dissension among the top leaders of the safety agency. Those commissioners _ two Democrats and two Republicans _ said Jaczko, a Democrat, was responsible for a tense and unsettled work environment at the NRC. The four commissioners sent a letter to the White House in October expressing “grave concern” about Jaczko’ s actions.

Jaczko denied any wrongdoing but suggested that the commissioners talk to a third party to improve communications.

He was the agency’s public face during its response last year to an earthquake and tsunami that triggered nuclear meltdowns at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant in Japan.

Jaczko was sworn into office as a commissioner in 2005. His term was supposed to expire next year.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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Head of US nuclear safety agency to step down