Idaho Republican U.S. Sen. Jim Risch jumped in to support a former aide to his predecessor Larry Craig locked in a tough fight to keep her job on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
President Barack Obama renominated Kristine Svinicki for the Republican-designated seat she currently holds. But Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada has vowed to fight her appointment as a part of a continuing feud between two sides of the nuclear debate. An engineer, Svinicki worked on nuclear issues for Craig.
“Kristine Svinicki is one of the most well-qualified people to ever serve on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said Risch. “Her depth of knowledge on all aspects of U.S. nuclear activities makes her indispensable to the commission.”
Reid says Svinicki lied when she was asked if she had worked on the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste facility Reid has always opposed when she was at the Department of Energy. She had given a long reply in response to a question from Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer before saying she had not worked on Yucca Mountain. Later, when a report about Yucca that she wrote was discovered she said her no was meant to say she was not directly involved in the licensing of the nuclear waste site now on hold.
But Republicans say Reid’s opposition is due to her efforts to call out his former aide and NRC chairman Gregory Jazcko for bullying NRC staff, especially women.
“I applaud her decision to raise serious concerns about the hostile work environment at the NRC created by Chairman Jazcko, particularly as it relates to women, and to bring this to the attention of the White House and Congress,” Risch said.
Svinicki’s current term is set to expire June 30.