1. It’s kind of you not to mention that he comes from Waxman’s office … only another ex-Markey guy could be worse.

    1. The pronoun “she” was done out of typical liberal political correctness. Personally I do not care one way or the other what gender a future NRC Commissioner may be. But the constant political correctness is sickening, and that is the exact reason why we have Allison MacFarlane – an anti-nuke – as Chairwoman. She cannot be a Chairman because she is by definition a woman, but she can be a Chairperson is neutering people is what liberals prefer. Furthermore, her being a woman has nothing to do with her inadequacy; its her anti-nuclear prejudice that disqualifies her.

      1. I’m a liberal, and not one single facet of your ignorant blather applies to me. Are you really such a classic jackass that you think you can shoehorn people into these stereotypical categories? You’re the problem, Paul, not the solution.

      2. @Paul W Primavera

        I am a proud liberal and a feminist. It is rather insulting to accuse me of political correctness when what I was doing is using inclusive language to attempt to assist in overcoming centuries or millennia in which 50% of the human population was taught that they were somehow less valuable, intelligent and powerful than the other 50% of the population.

        1. Lets stick to the issue. Use of pronouns is a personal. So long as one isn’t insulting let it go. If one is ‘sickened’ by the way language is accepted here, then leave.

  2. Bad enough news of these appointee’s pro-green anti-nuke leanings. Now, head’s up via NYC film critic sneak preview of upcoming film “Manhattan” (need I explain the title relevance here with August coming?); a grim guilt-ridden misgiving of unleashing the atom (for any reason).

    “…Witches have their kettles. We had…”

    Nuclear community has its PR work cut out for it.

    James Greenidge
    Queens NY

    1. It’s not a question or PR, it’s a question of paying bribesmaking campaign contributions.

      1. Sigh. These days we have a choice between Republicans who are 100 % paid off and Democrats who are 90% paid off. There are the tea-partiers who might be independent, but unfortunately are also ignorant and crazy.

        1. I just watched one of our local “representatives” deliver a glowing endorsement for Israel and their ongoing slaughter of palestinian non-combatants, replete with all the lies and purposely skewed justifications that is the standard narrative used to legitimize the evil of racism, apartheid, genocide, and collective punishment.

          It wouldn’t be so bad if these despicable politicians actually believed the content of these scripted posturings. But his (Macarthy, R, Bakersfield) speech was so blatantly disingenuous that he had to have KNOWN he was spitting lies.

          Watch the process unfold as these nominees, the topic of this thread, are subjected to a confirmation comedy, a political charade that will in no way resemble the workings of a functional and admirable government serving the interests of its citizens. Frankly, no matter their qualifications, or lack of such, it will be a miracle if the positions are filled in a timely manner. After all, Obama appointed them, and that fact alone will disqualify them from prompt consideration and confirmation.

  3. What do qualifications have to do with this congress’s confirmation process?? The fact that Obama appointed these guys will likely turn it into a political and partisan circus. One good thing, kinda, is that we will get to hear these posturing buffoons BS us about their opinions in regards to NE. If the appointee’s opinions are white, you can count on the Republican member’s opinions to be black.

  4. “Klein remind[ed] Jaczko that his title was Chairman, not Dictator”?
    Well, “Chairman” worked for Mao, didn’t it?

  5. Just an addendum to my comments to Rod. There are several key technical decisions facing the Commission, ones that will have far reaching impact–not the least of which is Waste Confidence and implementation of Fukushima lessons learned. The failure of this Administration to reappoint George Apostolakis, one of the worlds leading experts in nuclear safety, will be felt in everyone of those decisions.

    I do not know anything about Dr. Jeffery Baran other than I understand that he is intelligent and collegial, all of which are important to a well functioning Commission. But Dr. Baran is no George Apostolakis and his views on these critical issues will be shaped largely by others because he can not possibly acquire the expertise needed to understand them in just a few months. So if he is fortunate to be confirmed to the Commission, the one person I hope Dr. Baran puts on his speed dial is George Apostolakis because his views on these matters will be driven by science and not politics and that is the most important job of an NRC Commissioner.

  6. “My recommendation is for the Administration to find a more qualified nominee that can bring something to the commission other than focused Capitol Hill-only experience.”

    Be careful what you wish for… Baran might just be a “harriet miers” type bait & switch.

    @Paul Dickman “…the one person I hope Dr. Baran puts on his speed dial is George Apostolakis…”. Perhaps a chance for history to repeat. When the Commission killed reprocessing in Dec 23, ’77 with a 4/0 vote after the request from the Carter administration, against the recommendation of its own staff, 3 of the 4 Commissioners were Carter appointees; Gilinsky, Hendrie and Bradford. At the time of that vote, Hendrie and Bradford had only about 4.5 months experience on the Commission. So just who would you suppose is exercising the “dominant operator syndrome” influence on this policy issue in this group? Hint: Gilinsky is and remains a “one-trick-pony” on the same issue.

    So your point is well taken, these 2 appointments are very important. And the President really has no clue about who to appoint, so just who has his ear? These appointments will really define this administration’s stance on nuclear power.

    1. In the case of Baran one would have to assume that it is a favor to Waxman. Could be something else, but I don’t know what.

      1. My guess is that these suggestions are coming from Holdren as a quiet sabotage of nuclear electricity generation. Obama either hasn’t a clue, or is an outright liar.

        Worst case, Obama compromises when the Republican’s oppose his appointees, by withdrawing Burns and “settling” for Baran. Then nominates another Baran type with no useful or meaningful experience.

    2. @mjd

      I hope you noticed that I never once gave the President credit or blame for selecting the nominees. I suspect that he personally had little to do with this. In fact, I HOPE he was too busy paying attention to world events that are more immediately threatening to our nation and the interests of our allies.

      1. Yup, I noticed. That’s part of the problem a DC relative newbie has to deal with in that position. There is only so much they can stay on top of, and only so much they can bring with them to the job. They are really stuck with the advice of their circle of close advisers. Off topic, but I sensed trouble in his first term cabinet choices. How’s it go…same stuff, different day. No doubt these NRC nominees are not his personal picks. If it was known where those came from, it would be easier to understand which way the future wind will blow.

      2. I’m not sure who advises Obama on anything (e.g. does he talk to anyone that actually knows where Moscow is located?). Sorry, this is a sort of a political entry, but I don’t want to stray to far.

        I’ll end with some off-topic, but cheery news. You probably saw this, but Westinghouse has been in final negotiations for 8 more AP1000’s from the Chinese, and now they discussed an additional 26 inland units. I’ve always felt that completing Sanmen 1 was the key to unleashing the floodgates, and this article confirms it. It’s too bad even Westinghouse and the Chinese could not stay on schedule for this FOAK AP1000. I’m sure what they’ve learned is being applied at Vogtle and elsewhere. I used to live in Pittsburgh (Alcoa) and like the city a lot … I hope this will be great news for those guys.


  7. Since the lead article includes few details on Jeff Baran’s experience and qualifications, describing him simply as a “denizen of Capitol Hill” (a distinction he shares with Burns), I guess the task remains to others to fill in the details …

    Waxman has this to say (here):

    – Consensus-builder
    – Knowledgeable about NRC and responsibilities
    – Counsel to Oversight and Government Reform Committee (2003 – 2008).
    – Staff director of Oversight House Committee to NRC (2009 to present)
    – Record developing “bi-partisan legislation” on energy issues (specifically citing pipeline safety laws, hydropower regulatory act for new power projects, energy efficiency standards, and acts related to export of HEU and isotope medical development), all passed by near unanimous bi-partisan support.
    – Coordination of environmental clean-up efforts on Navajo Reservation to address long overdue uranium mine contamination and waste concerns.
    – Work on key legislation for financing of clean energy (presumably American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, but not specifically mentioned by Waxman), passed by House in 2009 (but defeated in the Senate). Analysis of bill suggests it would have resulted in increase in nuclear power of 150% by 2050 to 254 GW of capacity or 180 nuclear power plants in US (here).

    His relevant experience in Congress relates to important public interest and safety legislation related to energy, environmental remediation, infrastructure development, national security (regarding HEU exports), medical radioisotopes, and more (including other important work of House Energy and Commerce Committee, where he was a senior staffer). He received his law degree from Harvard in 2001, and as such is a relatively young “denizen” of Capital Hill (not expected to have a comparable professional background of someone who has worked in Government for some 33 years). He is knowledgeable about the Agency, and for someone who “listens to all sides, studies the facts, and finds creative solutions,” these qualities speak highly to his professional character (even moreso when backed up by a positive track record of working constructively on bi-partisan energy, national security, and environmental bills in an increasingly divided, contentious, and polarized Congress).

    1. Right. So he’s never actually done any relevant work — you know, where something gets built, or tested or measured. All he’s done is blather on, either in person or on paper about regulations and policies.

      Kind of like you, E.L.

      Until you’ve actually had to work in a discipline where it works, or it fails, because of how you built it, you’re not qualified to sit on a commission like the NRC.

      1. All he’s done is blather on, either in person or on paper about regulations and policies.

        @Jeff Walther

        As I have said … nobody has provided any details in lead article or in your comment about the experience that has led to his being nominated for Commissioner of NRC. Thanks for making this same point all over again in your comment, and adding your perspective to the debate.

        1. @EL

          My lead article included all relevant details of Baran’s experience that led to him being nominated for the NRC by the current crop of political animals who are SUPPOSED to be leaders and representatives of the people.

          Baran’s ONLY demonstrated professional accomplishment is his ability to thrive as a synchophant in a place where merit is judged more by who you know — or by what you know about who you know — than any measure of useful knowledge about any useful subject.

          As shown by my commentary about Burns, I think there is plenty of room on the Commission for an experienced lawyer who understands the regulatory process, knows a bit about the technology and accepts the safety culture.

          There is NO ROOM for a wet-behind-the-ears eastern Establishment know nothing who has proven NOTHING about his ability to think independently and make important judgements.

          The Jaczko Fiasco should remind us all why professional politicians should never be confirmed. That is not to say that a commissioner should be devoid of political skills.

          There was some truth in what you said about Apostolakis. He was too quiet and not assertive enough. He knew his stuff, but did not do enough to move people towards his positions.

          1. There is NO ROOM for a wet-behind-the-ears eastern Establishment know nothing who has proven NOTHING about his ability to think independently and make important judgements.

            @Rod Adams

            Of course, there’s a relatively simply way to avoid all this hullabaloo and make sure that Baran doesn’t get on the Commission. Get Magwood to serve out his full term. Baran is only being considered to fill out the term (until June 30, 2015).

            We’re going to be at this all over again in 11 months. Senators don’t get to grandstand once over these things (Yucca, emergency powers, excessive regulation, lawsuits and executive orders … all the while taking cash from interests aligned against nuclear power), they get to do it TWICE. If the media is looking for a showdown … it looks like they may get one (with all the pressures of an election year no less).

        2. The experience he has is largely irrelevant to doing the actual job. If that experience is what got him nominated, then his nomination was a very bad decision — from the point of view of, you know, helping the NRC to actually do its job. Now if your goal is actually to sabotage the NRC, then I’m sure Baran’s “qualifications” are excellent.

          And don’t bother blathering on about paranoia. We’ve seen the NRC explicitly sabotaged twice already, first with Jackzo and then with Macfarlane. Once you’ve seen the action, it’s not paranoia to fear it again.

    2. Hard to find anyone more despicable than Waxman, unless it is Ed Markey (and I’ve voted Democratic for 40 years). Great endorsement.

    3. I couldn’t imagine a better description of what is clearly a political plant in what should be an organization committed to the regulation of a dynamic and potentially hazardous set of technologies.

    4. @EL

      Your understanding of geography is lacking. The NRC is headquartered in Rockville, MD a considerable distance from the narrow confines of Capitol Hill.

    5. I see a bunch of words strung together by Waxman trying to convince everyone Baran is knowledgeable of the NRC and its responsibilities.

      What I don’t see is actual experience dealing with the NRC on a regular basis.

      Working for a congressman who votes the Democratic party line regarding nuclear power does not constitute true “experience” relative to maintaining the operational readiness of our nuclear fleet. Nor do I see experience in the issues of how to license new reactors to increase our nuclear fleet at a time when more, not less, CO2 emitting baseload generation is needed.

      The Waxman-Markey bill had a major anti-nuclear issue. Markey. Markey is and will always be anti-nuclear. So Waxman’s involvement, and also his staff’s work, on the bill with an avowed anti-nuclear congressman provides some hints about how Baran might perform as a commissioner at the NRC.

      More data points:

      Baran worked for Greg Dotson – Waxman’s energy and environment advisor – until Dotson left for the Center for American Progress. Baran was promoted to the Democratic Staff Director for Energy and Environment role. A position that requires devotion to the idea that anything-but-nuclear-power needs to be pursued no matter the cost to the taxpayer or ratepayer (or true cost to the environment such as putting a solar facility in a desert that requires water for operations from an already depleted water resource).


      CAP is a known anti-nuclear group and has been that way for years unless they have had a dramatic change in their viewpoint regarding nuclear power in the last 5 years. So Baran worked for a gentleman who is now working as Vice President of Energy Policy of a known anti-nuclear group.

      The CAP has many people in their Energy and Environment group that are not nuclear people. They have experience in wind, solar, gas etc but no working experience in the nuclear field except in trying to block additional plants from being built here and elsewhere in the world. Many in that same group worked in the Obama administration at the White House on “clean” energy policies – which is translated as more wind and more solar with some hydro mixed in- but not more nuclear.

      I admittedly am connecting various dots that cover about 7-10 years Baran’s work in the halls of Congress. However, I think connecting those dots portray a picture of just how anti-nuclear Baran will be if his nomination is approved.

      I suspect Baran will a more polished version of Jaczko but he will still be anti-nuclear through and through. Which means more delays, more bureaucratic roadblocks (he is a lawyer by training not an engineer or scientist and as such lawyers love to create more regulations since that is the final product of their chosen profession). Additionally more “scare” stuff regarding Fukushima or the US based nuclear fleet might find their way to various media groups who are friendly to anti-nuclear positions.

      1. It gets stranger and stranger. They load the NRC with politically compromising appointment after appointment all the while maintaining the pretense that the U.S. has the premier regulatory environment. My guess is they’ll whine, threaten and war over that the American perspective of sunshine, breezes, and Methane over Nuclear Energy isn’t being taken seriously excepting for the sanctions and the threats.

        Eventually, of course it’ll become obvious that the Russians, Chinese, Indians, South Koreans, and any country not solely on the fossil gravy train had the right perspectives regarding Nuclear energy, and the American people won’t tolerate more foot dragging and active misdirection regarding power and being able to control energy flows.

        Unfortunately the foreign development of Nuclear Energy outside the range of American “influence” must come first. Godspeed to them.

        1. @John,

          I think that about sums it up. Hopefully the American high quality Nuclear Engineering programs, of which there are quite a few here, can begin tying themselves more closely to their universities’ foreign language programs.

  8. The last surviving crew member of the Enola Gay died Monday. Interesting that with all our rattling about Iran, and WMD’s in general, we are the only nation that has actually used a nuclear device in anger. And our chemical/biological arsenal is second to none, and for sale as long as your nation’s predominate skin color, leadership, or religion meets the criteria of our skull-faced leadership.

    Where would NE be today if we didn’t have a collective memory of mushroom clouds and soldiers purposely irradiated in test after test?? People are afraid of radiation, and that greases the skids for a political approach to the use of NE, rather than an approach based on science. These are POLITICAL APPOINTEES, beholden to the political factions seeking to put them in their positions of power. You can rest assured their potential malleability has been given as much, if not more, vetting than their science credentials. Their expertise in NE undoubtedly will, (during this confirmation process), be less important than their degree of loyalty or hostility towards the fossil fuel industry. Particularly when queried by the right side of the aisle. Like good little puppets, if they want the job, they will dance perfectly in obedience to the movement of their strings. Who gets to handle the strings is what this “confirmation process” has become.

  9. This link pretty well sums it up, as far as demonstrating how policies, opinions, stances, and confirmations are determined in today’s political arena. Money talks, and opinions and policies are bought by the highest bidder……..


    This is true across the board. Foreign policy, energy issues, climate….the issue matters not. We have a government that prostitutes itself to the highest bidder.

  10. Off topic, but relevant and noteworthy with respect to energy safety comparisons and oversight issues. It looks like a gas line(s) in Taiwan leaked into a city’s sewer system then exploded with little or no warning for most. The Damage is extensive and the causality list is likely to grow as well:

    Taiwan gas blasts in Kaohsiung kill at least 22 (injured 270) ( http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-28594693 )

    1. The lines were apparently for chemicals, not fuel per se.  Not something that nuclear power could be expected to eliminate.  But the point is worthwhile.

      1. I saw that EP my other post will appear in the near future I assume. Burt yea, same kind of stuff. It sounds a lot like the “Cleveland East Ohio Gas explosion” (but that was NG). Its a huge mess.

      2. Its interesting too EP as the WIPP non event (not spent fuel storage) made the rounds as relevant to all waste/fuel storage (even though in detail it actually strengthened respiratory safety arguments). It would seem only fair to include the petrochemical industry (including fertilizers) in petroleum related safety (and terror) assessments.

        Not like that will ever happen or would be taken seriously. But in reality Edwin Lyman couldn’t even keep up with all the spills, contamination incidents, mishaps and issues there.

          1. With respect to real pollution and casualties – Yes EL it was. Nothing. Also in that the container safety, air handling tech and response areas it is going to be improved and that much better. Nothing compared to the issues of the fossil fuel industries. On any scale or perspective. Lets be honest. For once.

          2. You know what really gets me EL – is you pretend to be concerned about energy, the environment and safety, but you have no clue as to real environmental or safety issues beyond the hyped nuclear noise.

            Even the above concern trolling comment from a facility near a town (Carlsbad) partly teetering on a fracking water withdrawal sinkhole in a TOTAL fracking and oilfield wasteland is absurd. Back in April of this year TWO people were killed and 9 injured in a oil rig explosion 50 miles out of Carlsbad. ( http://www.currentargus.com/ci_25664078 )

            Did the fake “environmental” press that rabidly followed every boring WIPP tidbit even cover it ? No. Of course not. Could you even list the major fossil related explosions, spills and incidents of 2014 ? The ones that killed people, destroyed major property and split, what, on average in the thousands and thousands of gallons of harmful and even toxic materials. Just since the beginning of this year. Very doubtful. Forget climate and acidification issues.

            No real scope or perspective.

          3. Rod ok to delete this stuff but my bad on the oil/gas field incidents near Carlsbad: at least three have been killed and 10 injured in the area earlier this year.

            Another person was killed in the area at a oil well wednesday in a pipeline explosion. Then yesterday (thursday) a forklift dropped some heavy pipe on a guy and killed him.

            The worst incident in that area I could find occurred in 2000 20 miles out of Carlsbad when a NG pipeline explosion at a campground killed five adults and five children. I think 2 more died later as a result of injuries ( http://www.chron.com/business/energy/article/El-Paso-agrees-to-fine-settling-explosion-case-1820725.php ).

            1. @John T Tucker

              That August 2000 gas pipeline explosion was one of the initiating events for California’s late 2000-early 2001 energy crisis. It cut off 1/3 of California’s out of state gas supply, leading to a tight enough market to allow speculators to manipulate it.

              Interesting personal tidbit, one of the victims was a secretary working on the WIPP project. I used to work with the man who was her boss there.

          4. Could you even list the major fossil related explosions, spills and incidents of 2014 … Very doubtful.

            @John T Tucker

            Center for American Progress (that Bill Rogers discusses as an anti-nuclear organization above) regularly puts out summaries on this basis (among numerous other organizations of the same kind).



            They haven’t yet published their summary for 2014.

            I’m plenty concerned with environmental and safety issues in the oil and gas industry (and other energy industries as well) . I’m not sure what statements I have provided to suggest the contrary, or indicate I don’t follow these issues closely.

            Perhaps you need to listen more careful, and avoid placing others into categories based on your own faulty understanding and preconceptions?

            1. @EL

              That is a good article, for the most part. It is a shame that CAP still cannot overcome its prejudice about nuclear energy. There is not a single mention of the ‘N’ word in the article and no recognition that nuclear energy has a strong safety record and produces reliable, emission-free power that is not subject to the whims of the weather. I know Joe Romm is not “ill-informed” about nuclear; I believe that he cannot bring himself to offend his organization’s donors.


          5. EL there is just not a comparison. You seem fixated exclusively on amplifying negative issues related to nuclear when assessment of benefits and some perspective in reality is more in order.

            Why has the Center for American Progress gone the route they have knowing some of the issues? They dont even count pollution and other factors in those numbers. It just makes me feel they are more irresponsible than I initially thought.

            Rod I didnt know that. I remember the Calf. “crisis” and think a reassessment is in order considering how things have changed since then. Poor person too. I want to say I hope it was fast, but if it was me i would want some time to figure out how I died if possible. I guess its better not to think about it. Can you imagine all the radiation safety stuff she must have come across and been involved with at work only to go like that.

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