Macfarlane takes over from outgoing Chairman Gregory Jaczko, whose tenure on the panel was tumultuous.
The nominations of Macfarlane and Svinicki were cleared by the Environment and Public Works Committee last week. At a hearing earlier this month, committee Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said Macfarlane was the right person to take over the NRC and put it back on track to fulfill its mission of ensuring nuclear safety. Macfarlane also had the backing of Harry Reid, in part because of her opposition to building a nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Jaczko, a former Reid staffer, also opposed the project.
Lawmakers agreed by unanimous consent to confirm the nominations of Allison Macfarlane. Svinicki will serve a five-year term on the NRC. Svinicki is a supporter of Yucca Mountain. Boxer opposed Svinicki nomination for a second term. Macfarlane will complete the one-year term for the current chairmanship.
The nomination of Kristine Svinicki, a Republican, was packaged together with Macfarlane to ensure the confirmation of both. (Roll Call, 6/29/2012)