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  1. I warned all you liberal pro-nukes when Obama got elected and appointed Jackzo that this would happen. And it did (but you said “No”, claiming that a Chairman is simply “Primus inter Pares.” You were wrong.

    The problem is Obama but you all are still drinking the purple koolaide. You deserve what you voted for. Obama doesn’t give a darn – the worst president since Jimmy Carter.

    I just can’t believe how such really intelligent engineers like you guys can support Obama. It’s incredible that people can be so unimaginably smart and so utterly and wilfully deceived. And that’s depressing, too, because it means that there isn’t much hope for our country any longer.

    By the way, Rod, I will give your man Obama all the respect that you gave President George W. Bush – NONE. May God bless and prosper President Bush and his family.

    1. I’m with you on the “respect” thing. Whenever I get crap from Dems about “respecting the President” after justified criticism of Obama’s policies, I always tell them I’ll make them a deal: I’ll give Obama the same measure of respect that they gave Geoge Bush. Who could be againts a deal like that? For some reason, they don’t go for it, and also will throw out the obligatory racist-sexist-homophobe insult.

    2. @Ioannes – You may be right on this one, at least with regard to nuclear energy policy.

      I will admit that I worked for too long in Washington during the Bush Admin to have held much respect for his personnel selections or choice of ways to spend a few trillion dollars.

      Weapons and ammo are lousy investments that have not generated any returns since the colonial days. (They are occasionally necessary – as in the period between 1938-1945 or as sheathed threats during a Cold War.)

  2. Ioannes: Remember, in politics, it’s all about relative strength. After a lot of things that have happened (or not happened but should have) over the past couple years, I have largely lost faith in President Obama.

    However, I look at the Republican field, and I’m not convinced any of them would be better. Most of them want to get rid of, or extremely cut back, the EPA and other important regulatory agencies. I think a lot of their policies are regressive, and would continue to make the rich richer while decimating the middle class.

    So, my choice is between Obama, who doesn’t seem to have the spine to address serious problems at the NRC, who hasn’t shown good judgement in listening to the concerns of his own bureaucrats when they say that investment in a company like Solyndra is a bad idea because it would almost certainly go bankrupt despite the loans, etc, on the one hand; and a Republican candidate who I think will be equally awful for the country, just in different ways. It’s enough to make me really depressed (literally) if I think about it too much.

    1. Here’s a positive suggestion: you don’t have to vote for a Republican, but don’t vote for Obama either. You can write in my name. I’m a better choice than Obama, if for no other reason that I would never appoint a political hack like Jaczko to the NRC, much less name him Chairman.

  3. Mildly horrifying – an exercise in what would be called over here as partisan “arse-covering”. The starting statement from Cummings is especially inept – he seems barely capable of reading from a script.

  4. All this top down pressure to get rid of Jaczko should continue. But I think that a bottom up path should also be taken. The female co workers and career staff who have been intimidated have legal recourses.

    You could be surprised at how this could be more effective.

    Jaczko has no honor.

    1. @Daniel – You may be on to something. My hope is that some of the harassed women get really angry as they watch Jaczko issue denial after denial in testimony under oath. He essentially called all of the other commissioners liars and plotters and his defenders implied that all complaints against him were either imaginary or from chronic complainers that just do not appreciate his “style”.

      The status quo makes me a little (or a lot) sick to my stomach.

    2. Daniel, all you say is true, and action would be taken, if the accused in this case were a member of the other major political party. Remember, the long, weary, dreary Clinton years? You had women coming out all over the place in agreement with horrific stories of abuse and in some cases assault. The Dems and the media just laughed it off, the infamous “nuts and sluts” defense (not my words). There is a double standard in play here that a blind man could see with a cane. If the accused is a member of one political party, they are run out of town on a rail. If they are of the other, it seems to be a resume-enhancer.

  5. The fun continues in the Senate.

    As expected (at least by me), Chairman Boxer is fawning all over Jaczko. She even read out part of one of his memos and gushed over his words.

    If she keeps going like this, those two will need to get a room.

  6. Wow! Boxer really hates Magwood! She is on the attack.

    I think that she feels betrayed, because she voted for Magwood’s appointment to the Commission against the protest of “100 environmental groups” that she “really respects.”

    Any self-proclaimed Dems want to defend this woman?

    1. No. Magwood is a Democratic commissioner, and Boxer should know enough to not speak ill of her fellow Democrats. Even if she feels otherwise, she should avoid attacks on her fellow party members; she should criticize the facts, not attack the individuals, if they are Democrats.

      1. Yeah … you’d think.

        Nevertheless, Hell hath no fury … well, I think you know how that saying it goes, and I think that Boxer is not the type who is used to not getting her way.

        Watch the hearing. She specifically targets Magwood over the other Commissioners, in between her public displays of affection for the Chairman.

      2. @Dave S. In my opinion, your second sentence should be broadened to avoid attacks on ANY person regardless of party. Then cut it off after “she should criticize the facts, not attack the individuals”. Attacking the individual does seem to be the status quo in politics today (and a good part of our country’s history), however I believe it has been detrimental to our country. I believe that these personal attacks have served to keep many good, highly qualified people from seeking office. Examples that come to mind for me are Colin Powell, Condaleeza Rice and Pete Dupont. I would take these people over ANY serving (or attempting to get elected)senior politician in the country today. But I believe that Colin Powell said specifically that he would not seek office because he would not expose his family to the attacks and muckraking that would ensue. I might have changed my mind if they had run and I found out more information than I know today, however, I will never have that chance and America might well have lost some excellent chances there.

  7. And of course, Boxer sucked up to Jaczko again at the end of the hearing. He’s a “good man” (her words), don’t you know? (A “good man” for what, you might wonder.)

    Then she leverages the stupidity of Californians to bolster her support for Jaczko, since “her people” might just shut down the nuclear plants in her state, if Jaczko is not given free reign. How’s that for an argument?

    After all of that, she even had to shake his hand at the end of the hearing and wish him Merry Christmas. They talked. Perhaps they were arranging where to get that room?

  8. Bernie Sanders tried soooo hard to get Magwood to say he wants Jaczko’s position. Sanders quoted a Huffington Post article saying that Magwood was most likely the next in line for the Chairmanship. But that appointment, if it is ever made, would be from the White House. Sanders should know that, but he wanted to make Magwood look like a coup leader. Disgraceful.

  9. What is the difference between Nixon and Reagan? Nixon denied and Reagan admitted.

    Jaczko is ‘mortified’ and shocked by abuse claims. Denial ? You bet. Coud be enough.

  10. Based on what I’ve heard about the abuses alleged to Chairman Jaczko, if this behavior was exhibited by a middle or low level manager in any large company, this guy would be put on admin leave and probably fired within days. I’ve personally seen a double standard of conduct applied to higher level managers compared to lower level workers and that’s exactly what we see going on here with Jaczko. He continually falls back on the excuse for his behavior as being “passionate about safety”. Just because he’s passionate doesn’t give him free license to be abusive to staff, that’s just a lame excuse.

    1. If the NRC learns of a chilled work environment at any of the power plants it regulates, the management of those plants are subjected to some serious inspection and investigation. It is disappointing that the four commissioners who wrote the letter were merely told to “go work it out”.

  11. Whenever you hear Jaczko use the phrase “nuclear safety” remember that he learned his definition of that term from Rep. Ed Markey. In the Markey dictionary, the only safe nuclear plant is one that is not producing any commercial electricity in competition with fossil fuel generators or wind mills.

  12. What I found incredible here regards the question submitted by Issa to both Jaczko and Capt. Ostendorff. Jaczko has previous experience managing a group of just 8 people, while Capt. Ostendorff commanded organizations of hundreds and thousands of people during his Navy career. And I’m supposed to believe that Jaczko is more qualified to run the NRC? Unbelievable. It’s obvious to me that the Democrats in Congress snickered Bush to put Jaczko in charge of the NRC because Jaczko marches to the anti-nuke tune of those Democrats. It stinks, and it’s politics at it’s worst.

    1. It seems incredible until you realize that this country elected a man to the highest political office in the land who had less management experience than my son who ran a popsicle stand in the summer one year. You have a Secretary of the Treasury who didn’t pay his taxes. You have thousands of wealthy people clamoring to have their (and all of our) taxes raised, but when challenged to ante up right now and voluntarily pay more of their money to the government (which you can do), they refuse to do so. But this is the political reality we find ourselves in during the Era of Obama. It truly is a world gone mad in many ways.

    2. Scary ? Look into the future. Now Jaczko can say that he managed the NRC, a 4,000 employee organization.

      This will take him to much higher places, but only in democrat regimes.

      1. Judging from the careers of former Commissioners Victor Gilinsky and Peter Bradford, I’d say Chairman Jaczko has a promising future after the NRC of serving on the boards of environmental organizations, being appointed to high-level committees to examine such policy matters as the future of reprocessing, and making the rounds on the anti-nuclear talk circuit.

        I can’t feel sorry for Jaczko, regardless of what happens, because he’s going to be treated like a hero.

      2. @ Brian,

        A possibility is still to be considered. Maybe one day, a firm enough handshake will pump blood to his head and he will see the benefits of nuclear power.

        There is no better spoke person than someone who has been converted to a cause.

        Hey, you never know.

        1. Daniel – Nah … I doubt it.

          Once you’ve become a darling of the anti-nuclear cult, you don’t go back. The spotlight is too warm and inviting, the money ain’t bad, and the temptation is just too great to throw all of that away on principle, even if he should change his mind. (Although, he seems to me to be too stubborn to ever admit that he was wrong.)

          Besides, Jaczko now is not qualified to do anything else. He’d have to start over from square one.

          Men much smarter and more talented than Jaczko have fallen for this trap and spent the rest of their lives continuing to denounce nuclear power even after their earlier predictions of doom turned out to be completely and ridiculously false.

          We’re not talking about a Monbiot here, who had never given the matter much thought and took his opinion on faith from what he was told by environmental groups until he decided to independently research the issue himself and apply some critical thinking. Jaczko is well informed, and his opinions, born during his time with Markey and Reid, are probably solidly established by now.

    1. But that was then. Now that the cold shutdown has been declared, the zones with exposures between 20-50 millisieverts are OK for citizens to return. For Xmas?

      Wait a minute. They are OK but first the zones have to be cleaned. That will start in spring 2012.

      This is a Japanese trick called a ‘jaczko’. It means it could have been done a long time ago but ….

    2. Thanks for deleting this comment. I had no idea this abbreviation of “Japanese” could be considered so offensive. I apologize to anyone who might have been offended by it – I certainly didn’t think about it that way.

      1. @Sam B – no worries. I am not sure where you live, but here in the US, there is a rather long history of using that particular abbreviation in a negative way. It is roughly analogous to the use of the term “Wop” and “Kraut” to refer to other members of the Axis powers. (I am plenty old enough to have heard the term in widespread use among WW II veterans. My dad, however, was never one to use such dismissive language.)

  13. Greetings Rod et al. I’m a big fan of this blog; I take much of the technical commentary I encounter in here for gospel. Not sure I agree with some of the partisan commentary, though.

    For example, no one seems to be mentioning any of the reasonable statements made by certain members of the committee. Carper, a Democrat, is an excellent example.

    Also, no one seems to be mentioning other permutations among the committee members. Carper can usually be relied upon to be an adult (his background, after all, resembles Commissioner Ostendorff’s), as can Crapo. But Sessions can sometimes be a bit of a nut. However, that said, and armed with the ammo he had, in this case Sessions was dead on.

    Similarly, though I consider Boxer a bit of a flake as well, there have been some issues about which I’ve considered her statements compelling. This didn’t happen to be one of those occasions. (And it never is, for Boxer, where nuclear is concerned.)

    All of which is to say, these hearings are always one part reasonable and three parts opera. The configuration changes depending upon whose ox is being gored, but the basic proportion usually remains the same.

    That is why my rule of thumb is always to trust the word of the rank and file over the political appointees or top echelon. The real damning testimony, which no one seems terribly interested in unfortunately, came from EDO Borchardt, who, good soldier and obedient civil servant that he is, was initially complicit in Jaczko’s crimes against the institution of the NRC — that is, until Jaczko pushed him too far.

    Borchardt, and the various staff scientists from the high-level waste division who testified against Jaczko months back (Aby Moseni, Janet Kotra, King Stablein, etc.) — they’re the ones whose testimony really convicted Jaczko.

    But, true to form, our elected representatives don’t care what scientists or career professionals have to say (unless it suits their agenda, of course).

    Incidentally, I flew to Rockville in November of 2010 and interviewed at NRC. I was offered the job but turned it down. I had many reasons, but there was an odd “vibe” there, too — it was markedly different from when I interviewed there in 2009. I wouldn’t have called it “chilled” in 2010; more like “anxious” or “wary.”

    1. @Darrin – good point about the testimony of the professionals and the questioning from Carper. I still have more work to do; it takes more time than one might imagine to clip and process video.

    2. So, in short, you think that it’s OK if 30% of the people who control the law of the country are right 30% of the time. That attitude seems to be widespread, but it can lead to serious problems. Imagine a nuke plant, the design of witch assures that 30% of the parts work correctly 30% of the time, the remaining operation being dedicated to making grinding noises and spinning in all directions – just like our representatives do…

      Curiously, in a comment above, I mentioned the “see no evil” attitude that is essentially an outgrow of Asian culture and especially Japanese. I made a simple mistake – I used a word that could be considered offensive. It sounded somewhat loose to me but I wasn’t aware of it’s historical usage, during and after WW2. I live in the US but somehow I missed that. The substance of my comment was perfectly valid (or at least, I can provide plenty of arguments for it). However, that one mistake invalidates my entire comment, and I’m not sure I’ll bring this topic up before thoroughly rethinking it. Anything else would be irresponsible.

      Being responsible 30% of the time is a recipe for disaster. For the higher levels of power, being responsible 90% of the time would be a tragedy for the country. The number should be close to 99% in that case. I hope you can agree with that.

      1. So let me get this straight: Simply acknowledging the existence of a phenomenon implicates me in that phenomenon?

        I’m part of the problem for merely observing that Congressional hearings are for the most part political theater?

        Remind me not to make any observations about Nazis, for Pete’s sake 😉

        By the way, explicit in my post is the notion that career civil servants such as NRC staff are far more reliable and, frankly, worth believing than most politicians (and their staffs). On this subject escpecially, I put my trust in the NRC rank and file.

        Their criticism of Jaczko is all I needed to hear.

  14. In my experience – the role of NRC Chairman should never be confused with that of a nuclear power advocate. Their role is regulation, and that carries with it a negative connotation. They restrict activities, raise standards, and in general rightfully make any static minded nuclear advocate uncomfortable.

    As a licensed operator training instructor and license examination author, I also enforce standards, raise levels of performance, and am never satisfied that what we are doing today will always be considered good enough.

    I learned that trait from Admiral Rickover’s Navy Nuclear Power program as a trainee in the 1970s. What I was that day would never be adequate in the future. It’s the nuclear credo.

    These roles of performance improvement involve confrontation, and discourse, sometimes at a higher level of emphasis.

    I do not have the detailed particulars of Chairman Jazcko’s interactions with NRC Staff. Southern manners, as I know them, were evidently lacking.

    I believe that the Fukushima Daiichi Extended SBO imposes a need to re-evaluate plants procedures and equipment in light of the Earthquake / Flooding triggered external events and existing B5b requirements.

    Anyone “satisfied that we are doing all we can” needs to self examine their motives. If nuclear energy is to prosper and advance for decades to come, we need to similarly enhance our way of thinking and develop as individuals.

    I’ve seen conflict in the Main Control Room, in the Board Room, and at NRC Enforcement Proceedings. If I had to draw one common trait of every attendee – it is the thought that we must be as safe as we can be in our decisions and in our execution of our work.

    The images of Reactor Building explosions at Fukushima is the visual explanation of “why”.

    1. The NRC’s mission is also to protect the environment. The more costs and not required regulations you put are also slowing down the deployment of nuclear capacity.

      Less nuclear capacity creates a displacement towards coal, gas or the unreliables.

      That goes against the NRC mission.

    2. @Rob Brixey:

      While I share your initial training and I fully agree with the idea of continual improvement, I will stand somewhat apart from the traditional nuke way of measuring improved performance. My measuring stick is market share and my definition of safety includes total energy production system safety, not just “nuclear safety”. I am convinced to the very soul of my being that using fission instead of combustion is a hugely beneficial substitution for mankind, even if it means that nuclear performance has to be measured with sticks that include cost effectiveness, not just perfection in the esoteric measure of predicted “core damage frequency” using a probabilistic risk assessment model.

      Fukushima showed me that there is a great benefit to be had from better means of providing power to old fashioned reactors during a station blackout event, but it also showed me that most Gen III reactors would have performed as well as Fukushima Daini did. You remember that station, right – it is a four unit plant located on the same coast as Fukushima Daiichi, it was hit with the same tsunami and none of its four reactors experienced a core damage event.

  15. @Daniel
    The NRC regulates safety. The NRC has a letter of intent with OSHA to enforce industrial safety.

    The EPA and associated state agency regulate environmental issue.

    Rod writes,

    “I am convinced to the very soul of my being that using fission instead of combustion is a hugely beneficial substitution for mankind, ”

    Society benefits from a reliable supply of electric power. Rod likes to explain how many years he spent in the navy. While that in itself is admirable, Rod did not choose a career ensuring nuclear safety of protecting the environment.

    1. ” Rod likes to explain how many years he spent in the navy. While that in itself is admirable, Rod did not choose a career ensuring nuclear safety of protecting the environment.”

      You tiresome little man. I believe that you are tolerated here only because each time you post, you dig the hole for yourself a bit deeper.

      Know that whatever your objective is, you have failed, and simply made an ass of yourself. Know too that Rod will be seen to have done more for the cause of nuclear energy than you will ever be.

    2. @Kit P

      You’re right. I did not choose a career of ensuring nuclear safety. That is Jaczko’s claim. Instead, I have chosen to spend a significant portion of my free time trying to share information – at no charge – about nuclear fission.

      Speaking of people who did not choose to spend their career ensuring nuclear safety, haven’t you told us all about the detours in your own career when you were figuring out better ways to burn wood?

  16. @DV82XL

    Nuclear power is not a ’cause’ it is a very good way to make electricity.

    If you do not get paid for the information you provide Rod, that sounds about right. The reason I pound Rod so hard is that he promotes nuclear power with misinformation.

    In between projects in the nuclear industry when I was did not have billable nuclear work, I would help with proposals. One of the goals of our office was to create non-Hanford related jobs. At the time I was busy working on Yucca Mountain and grad school. One of the other environmental problems in our area was manure management at CAFOs. I suggested to one of our young engineers that he investigate as a business opportunity.

    He told me about a meeting the dairy farmers were having because they were getting attacked by environmentalists. Since my wife grew up on a dairy farm milking cows twice a day, we thought in would be interesting to attend. To be honest, I thought the renewable energy aspect was BS. I decided that I would do my thesis demonstrating that it was BS.

    That is the interesting thing about the scientific method when followed to get an answer rather than fit an agenda. As it turns out, anaerobic digestion is a very good way to handle dairy farm manure and make electricity. Like nuclear is has high capital cost and requires knowledge of how it operates.

    As it turns out, my company had been investigating anaerobic digestion identifying it as renewable energy technology that was economically sound.

    Gosh while Rod was commuting to DC as just another government suit, I was helping to make the air and water where I lived cleaner. I was furthering the stated business goal of my company and those of the local office.

    Hell has different meanings for different people. I would rather clean up the manure from 100,000 cattle than commute to DC.

    1. You choose your causes, I’ll choose mine. But please keep up your stream of insults, it only makes you look like an ass, and destroys your creditably, although I frankly just find it tiresome, as I dismissed you as a nobody long ago.

      Any good debater can make a point without attacking the individual whose opinions he opposes, those that cannot are seen as trying to cover a weak argument, and clearly this is happening here. If indeed Rod or anyone else on these pages is trafficking in misinformation, attack that if you can with countering facts, and leave the insults out.

    2. @Kit P – for the record, I never wore a “suit” while I was commuting to DC. I was wearing khakis. My assignment in the city was not just a job choice, it was as a result of something called “orders.”

  17. Unfortunately the nuclear renaissance relies so heavily on politics and that has been restrictiing us for so many years now. If politicians would actually serve its people they would understand that we are running into a energy crisis and need alternative means of energy (NUCLEAR!)

    If we cannot has a trustworthy chairman of the NRC then all is lost. Look how long it took to approve the AP1000.

    It sickens me as a 21 year old about to graduate with a mechanical engineering degree that my interest in the nuclear industry could be damaged if the liberal media and politicians keep trying to put down nuclear energy. Having an internship with a company that designs nuclear plants and constructs them I gained a whole new level of respect for their safety features and the amount of checking and rechecking that goes into the calculations and designs.

    Nuclear is so obvious a 12 year old could figure it out.

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