Beyond Nuclear opposes NRC nomination, calls for action

Beyond Nuclear Bulletin

July 28, 2009

Sign grassroots letter to President Obama opposing William Magwood nomination to NRC


Background: Last week, the New York Times reported that President Obama would soon nominate William Magwood to fill an open seat on the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). Mr. Magwood served for seven years as head of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Nuclear Energy. While there, he was a chief proponent for the expansion of atomic energy, helping lead the Advanced Fuel Cycle Initiative (radioactive waste reprocessing), Nuclear Power 2010 program, and the Generation IV Nuclear Energy Systems Initiative. Also while at DOE, and as recently as this year, Mr. Magwood has expressed supportfor commercial radioactive waste reprocessing, as well as the Yucca Mountain, Nevada high-level radioactive waste dumpsite proposal. If nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Mr. Magwood would serve a five year term as one of five NRC Commissioners, with the possibility that he serve additional five year terms after that.


Our View: President Obama should nominate strong regulators to the NRC Commission, persons who have demonstrated a commitment to public safety, rather than to nuclear power industry promotional and financial interests. The current open seats on the NRC present President Obama with a vital opportunity to steer NRC back to its mandated mission to protect public safety, security, health and the environment. Mr. Magwood's background, experience, and apparent key interests are in the realm of nuclear power's promotion, not its regulation. Mr. Magwood's support for the Yucca dump is in clear contradiction to President Obama's clear policy statement that Nevada is no longer an option for high-level radioactive waste disposal. And Mr. Magwood's support for reviving commercial radioactive waste reprocessing in the U.S. for the first time in nearly four decades would be an inappropriate policy position for an NRC Commissioner. For this reason, he should not be nominated, nor confirmed, to co-lead the NRC.


What You Can Do: Sign onto a group letter urging President Obama to nominate a strong regulator, rather than an industry promoter, to the NRC. To sign on, email with your name, organization, city and state by close of business on Thursday, July 30th. Given the imminence of Mr. Magwood's nomination, this letter will be sent to the White House the following day. In addition, please phone the White House comment line at (202) 456-1111, to urge President Obama to nominate a strong safety regulator, rather than a nuclear industry promoter like Mr. Magwood. Also, phone U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's office at (202) 224-3542, and U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer's office at (202) 224-8832, and urge that Mr. Magwood's nomination be blocked due to his support for the dangerous Yucca Mountain dumpsite proposal.