In a hurry to replace the current Nuclear Regulatory Commission chair, the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee vetted both President Obama\u2019s nominee and the reappointment of member Kristine Svinicki. While Allison Macfarlane, the chair appointee, sailed through senators\u2019 queries, Svinicki\u2019s nomination hit a few bumps in the June 13 hearing. Committee chair Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) declared she\u2019s \u201cdeeply troubled\u201d by Svinicki\u2019s actions in her first term on the commission. In a case over the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station June 12, Boxer said that Svinicki \u201ctried to stonewall\u201d her request for an investigation into \u201cproper commission oversight\u201d for design changes at the facility for its recent steam generator replacements. Boxer rattled paperwork claiming that Svinicki changed a letter to Boxer from the current chair of the commission, Greg Jaczko, which indicated Svinicki\u2019s opposition to the San Onofre investigation. In another instance, Boxer showed the commission member testimony from an earlier hearing in which Svinicki claimed she had not worked on the process for approving the now-defunct nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Boxer asserted that Svinicki, instead, had been working on the waste dump. In both cases, Svinicki denied Boxer\u2019s accusations. \u201cI had not intended to change\u201d the review of San Onofre, she said. Despite Boxer\u2019s opposition, she concluded Svinicki would pass the Senate floor vote. In the changes to nuclear plant readiness for emergencies after the Fukushima Daiichi meltdowns, the commission is beginning to gather data for implementation. The NRC is taking too much time, according to Boxer and some other senators. Boxer asked both Macfarlane and Svinicki to commit to implementing the safety actions in five years. Macfarlane said yes, but that it takes two power plant outage cycles to fulfill, and that takes about five years. Svinicki, after prodding, said yes, but with the caveat that it\u2019s \u201cbeyond my control.\u201d Another tough question for the appointees was whether they pledge to make the commission\u2019s voting process open to the public. \u201cThe voting process is extraordinarily opaque,\u201d said Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). If the commission doesn\u2019t open it up, the senator said he\u2019ll introduce legislation to require transparency. Macfarlane said she\u2019d research why the commission\u2019s voting process is the way it is, adding, \u201cI commit to being as transparent as I can be.\u201d Svinicki deferred the question. Senators also queried the nominees about storing high-level radioactive spent fuel in the post-Yucca Mountain era and changing the management culture at the commission to encourage consensus decisions. Boxer set quick deadlines to move the nominations to the full Senate.