Obama to renominate GOP nuclear regulator

Commissioner of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Kristine Svinicki speaks during a meeting with the commission's Near-Term Task Force July 19, 2011 in Rockville, Maryland. The commission held a meeting to discuss the task force's review and recommendations on U.S. nuclear facilities in the wake of the Fukushima reactor disaster following a 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011 in Japan.
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(CBS News) A White House official says President Barack Obama will nominate Republican Kristine Svinicki to a new term on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Republican lawmakers have been pressuring the White House to renominate Svincki, who has served on the commission since 2008. She was one of four NRC members who complained to Congress last year that the NRC's Democratic chairman was an intimidating force whose actions could compromise the nation's nuclear safety.

The commissioners -- two Democrats and two Republicans -- said NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko was responsible for an increasingly tense and unsettled work environment and that women at the NRC felt particularly threatened.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., called Obama's decision to renominate Svinicki "a good thing" and urged Senate Democratic leaders to move her nomination to a full Senate vote. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has made it clear he opposes Svinicki.

"No action by the Senate is not an option. This commission must be fully staffed," McConnell said Thursday at a news conference.

McConnell called the delay over Svinicki's appointment "inexplicable" and said the only reason appears to be that it was held up "because Commissioner Svinicki confronted the (NRC) chairman over his abusive behavior."

Svinicki, 45, a nuclear engineer and former Senate GOP aide, is the only woman on the NRC. Her current term expires in June.