Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said April 27 that his panel is continuing to monitor NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko’s leadership of the nuclear agency.
Upton and several other members of the committee wrote Jaczko to ensure that NRC employees don’t encounter a “chilled” work atmosphere under Jaczko.
The congressional leaders said they want to see that NRC employees “feel free to raise concerns without fear of reprisal.” The members of the GOP-led panel quoted a February speech Jaczko gave to a national trade association about the importance of a healthy work environment.
Jaczko has been in the congressional spotlight for months now. The other four commissioners at the NRC, including his fellow Democrats, took the unusual move of publicly criticizing the NRC chairman last year in a congressional hearing.
The commissioners have criticized Jaczko’s interaction with both members of the commission and NRC staffers.
Several GOP congressmen, already critical of Jaczko positions on Yucca Mountain and NRC’s reaction to the Japan’s Fukushima disaster have sought the NRC chairman’s resignation.
In its April 27 letter to Jaczko, the House members say there is a perception among NRC employee that disagreeing with the NRC chairman carries a risk of reprisal.
“The NRC appears to lack its own guidance for assessing and correcting a chilled work environment, a gap that has, in our view, facilitated a pattern of behavior we find unacceptable at an agency that is responsible for identifying and preventing similar behavior by licensees,” Upton and several other House GOP members say in the letter.