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NRC chairman resigns amid battle over lessons from Fukushima

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But such unilateral decisions became a flashpoint for political upset among the other four commissioners and within the nuclear power industry. The commissioners questioned whether or not Jaczko had assumed too much authority and power over NRC operations in the immediate aftermath of the meltdown – or had cut the other commissioners out of the communications loop. A June report by the NRC inspector general found that despite concerns over his management style, he had done nothing illegal.

Turmoil at the agency continued last summer as the other commissioners questioned or opposed several of the dozen major recommendations of the Fukushima task force Jaczko had convened. Those recommendations included clarifying the NRC's own regulations, upgrading the "design basis" or planned-for capability to protect reactors and their safety systems from earthquakes and floods, and strengthening reactor operators’ capacity to deal with station blackout situations.

By Fall 2011, a new internal crisis was developing over a new inspector general's report requested by Rep. Darryl Issa (R) of Calif. to investigate claims of management malfeasance, including "bullying" female staff and fellow commissioners. Jaczko defended himself before a House committee and in a press conference last month. His sudden resignation Monday comes with yet another IG report expected on personnel issues.

"After nearly eight years on the Commission, I am announcing my resignation as chairman of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, effective upon the confirmation of my successor," Jazcko said in a statement.

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