Given all of this, Jaczko's resignation was a not a surprise for Reid, a Democratic leadership aide said on the condition of anonymity. With the prospect of a Senate confirmation hearing on Svinicki's nomination in the next few weeks — coupled with the possibility that the NRC Inspector General could be issuing a report soon on the complaints made about Jaczko last year — "things were just tough for him and only going to get tougher," the aide said.
The IG report specifically focusing on the leadership controversy involving Jaczko could come at any time. While the exact timing of the report is still up in the air, sources say that it could come in the next few weeks. And regardless of the findings, the report will include all of the testimony about him, including commissioners' descriptions of behavior that they say created a chilled environment at NRC headquarters in Rockville, Md.
A separate IG report last June had criticized the then-chairman for not being "forthcoming" with his fellow commissioners leading up to the shutdown of the controversial Yucca Mountain nuclear-waste repository in Nevada.
"Given the Inspector General's previous findings, the unprecedented letter of concern about his management style and treatment of career employees by the entire bipartisan commission, and the fact that a second report from the Inspector General is expected soon — Jaczko's resignation is both long overdue and unsurprising," Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said on Monday. Murkowski is ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
"The only thing surprising about his resignation is the fact that the Obama administration has remained silent for more than a year after allegations of Jaczko's offensive behavior surfaced," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
Some saw Jaczko's resignation coming a month ago, when the embattled chairman unexpectedly called a Friday-afternoon press conference to dismiss allegations that he verbally abused women. The announcement of his plan to appear at the National Press Club had many thinking that Jaczko was going to resign at that point; instead he used the occasion to repeat several times that the allegations about his were "categorically untrue."
Another key Republican senator on energy issues, Environment and Public Works Committee ranking member James Inhofe of Oklahoma, essentially said good riddance to Jaczko when the news broke on Monday.
"Given the numerous reports of Chairman Jaczko's failed leadership at the NRC, it was right of him to step down today," Inhofe said in a statement.
Democrats such as Reid and Senate Environment and Public Works Chairwoman Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., credited Jaczko for his work on the commission and his commitment to nuclear safety and urged the White House to nominate a new chairman with the same focus.