The latest episode in the distracting soap opera at the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission has provided more fodder for the political pundits in their efforts to turn nuclear energy deployment and regulation into a partisan issue. Fortunately, some of the players seem to understand that the subject is too important and has too many nuances to allow it to be decided by party affiliation.
Will Davis, my friend who blogs at Atomic Power Review, provides some commentary and links that will help you unravel the story of how the renomination of a mild mannered, technically competent, publicity shy nuclear engineer – Kristine Svinicki – to a second term on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has become a political lightning rod.
The saga became really interesting as two powerful senators, Boxer and Reid, established strong, public positions in opposition to her renomination. Incredibly enough, Senator Reid said that a part of his concern was that Ms. Svinicki had a poor record on nuclear safety, despite having dedicated her career to ensuring that US nuclear energy maintains its exceptional safety record. The Huffington Post published an article about the saga that has collected more than 2,800 comments.
In a move that surprised many, a White House official confirmed rather quickly that President Obama intended to renominate Ms. Svinicki. Some friends of mine have speculated that the announcement was a public way of telling Senator Reid that any debts associated with his assistance in the 2008 election have already been repaid. What do you think?