I’ve noticed an interesting pattern. A day or two before something negative about Dr. Greg Jaczko is released to the press, Congressman Ed Markey (D-MA) goes on the offensive against the source providing the negative news.
It happened on December 9, 2011. On that day, Congressman Markey released a report that was harshly critical of the four Nuclear Regulatory Commissioners who were not named Greg Jaczko. He claimed that they were engaging in a coup and claimed that they were motivated by a desire to slowly implement staff recommendations made as a result of investigations of Fukushima.
The next day, the public was told that those four commissioners had sent a letter to the White House Chief of Staff reporting that Chairman Jaczko was an abusive manager who had harassed women who were senior career public servants to the point of tears.
It also happened in January 2012, right before Chairman Jaczko cast the only “no” vote on the Vogtle combined license (COLA). That time Markey claimed that the rest of the commissioners were “fast tracking” the license award, even though the NRC had been reviewing the technology that was going to be used for the plant since at least 2002 and even though the staff completed all work and issued its final safety evaluation report on that design in August 2011.
The recognized pattern is the basis for my prediction that the NRC Inspector General (IG) report on the requested investigation of Dr. Jaczko’s management behaviors will be released to the public within a few days. On June 4, 2012, Bloomberg reported that Congressman Markey had sent his protege (Markey was Jaczko’s first boss in Washington) a letter recommending that the agency hire an outside investigator conduct an independent probe of its safety culture.
According to the Bloomberg article, titled U.S. Nuclear Agency Needs Independent Probe, Markey Says, Congressman Markey thinks that agency employees do not trust certain managers and do not trust the IG to be able to perform its assigned oversight role.
Markey said NRC employees wrote him to say the agency failed to take appropriate steps to deal with safety issues at the Fort Calhoun plant operated by Omaha Public Power District, and DTE Energy Co. (DTE)’s Fermi station on the shores of Lake Erie in southeast Michigan. Employees also told Markey that the NRC Office of Inspector General has ignored safety issues, he said.
“Every individual who contacted my office expressed concerns that they did not trust the NRC IG to resolve their concerns,” Markey said today in a letter to NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko. “Suggestions were made that the commission engage a firm such as Conger and Elsea or other organization to conduct an independent investigation.”
The letter looks like a blatant attempt to discredit the IG, which is why I am pretty sure that the IG report about Jaczko will be made public very soon. I am also pretty sure that the report will include several negative findings about the man who was the prime focus of the investigation.
Aside: I wonder if Conger and Elsea provided any compensation to Markey for marketing their name out of the hundreds of firms that engage in the same kind of independent auditing. End Aside.
It is interesting to note that Congressman Markey bases his accusations about the Inspector General’s office on anonymous sources inside the NRC. During the hearing she held in December, Senator Barbara Boxer disrespected the unnamed (but known to the commissioners) sources who complained about Dr. Jaczko’s actions. She compared the way that the other commissioners were protecting the privacy of Jaczko’s victims to the McCarthy witch hunts for suspected Communists. Here is a clip from that hearing.