One of Washington's favorite soap operas for the past six months, the leadership controversy at the once-obscure Nuclear Regulatory Commission, devolved into chaos this week with the announcement that Chairman Gregory Jaczko will resign as soon as his successor is named by President Obama and confirmed by the Senate.
The turmoil increased on Wednesday, when Jaczko — taking a cue from his old boss, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid — told reporters he could remain in his post until his current term expires on June 30, 2013.
"I intend to continue to serve out my term," Jaczko said in a conference call after giving a speech at a Nuclear Energy Institute meeting in North Carolina.
He reiterated that his resignation is "contingent on an individual being nominated and confirmed as chairman." But he added that the process could take a while.
"It's unclear what the timing will be for that," he said. "I am not pursuing any outside activities at this point."
Reid, for whom Jaczko worked before becoming an NRC commissioner in 2005, first floated the idea of him staying on as chairman indefinitely on Tuesday, the day after the resignation announcement. Without a new nominee from the White House, "Greg will be there for the duration," Reid said, adding that if a replacement "doesn't work out, he can always be renominated."