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Gregory Jaczko, US Nuclear Regulatory Commission chairman, resigns

Jaczko was accused of bullying agency staff and mistreating female coworkers.

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Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko at a joint hearing before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and Clean Air and Nuclear Safety in Washington, DC, on Dec. 15, 2011. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Gregory Jaczko, the chairman of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, has resigned following allegations that he bullied agency staff and mistreated female coworkers, Bloomberg News reported.

Jaczko, who was first confirmed to the commission in 2005 and appointed chairman in 2009, will leave when his successor is confirmed, the LA Times reported.

The Union of Concerned Scientists, a group that advocates for better oversight of nuclear-power plants, praised Jaczko, 41, for his commitment to public health and safety, Bloomberg News reported. "Jaczko often took a more cautious approach on plant safety and security than his colleagues," Edwin Lyman, senior scientist at the group, said in a statement today, according to Bloomberg News. "He generally supported larger safety margins in the face of uncertainty."

Jaczko opposed the NRC’s recent decision to award permits allowing Southern Co. and Scana Corp. to build new nuclear reactors in the US, Bloomberg News reported.

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However, last October, the four other commissioners on the five-member panel complained to the White House that their chairman was intimidating agency employees, particularly female staff, the Associated Press reported.

In a letter, the commissioners — two Democrats and two Republicans — said Jaczko' s behavior was "causing serious damage" to the commission and could impact safety at the nation's nuclear power plants, the AP reported.

The GOP-led House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee later concluded “his management style and aggressive behavior simultaneously eroded the collegial structure” at the NRC, according to the LA Times. Jaczko has denied these allegations.

“The only thing surprising about his resignation is the fact that the Obama administration has remained silent for more than a year after allegations of Jaczko’s offensive behavior surfaced,” Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell told the LA Times.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/120521/gregory-jaczko-us-nuclear-regulatory-commission-resigns