President Obama\u2019s nominee for Nuclear Regulatory Commission chair hails from academia instead of politics or the nuclear industry. Obama chose Allison Macfarlane May 22 to succeed Greg Jaczko in the position (see story below). If Republicans in Congress were hoping the new commission chair would be more agreeable to restarting development of a permanent high-level radioactive nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, they will be disappointed if she gains Senate approval. While she\u2019s testified to Congress that she believes high-level waste should be confined in a geologic repository, it\u2019s just not at Yucca Mountain. She told Congress in 2006 that the water tables and migration paths under Yucca Mountain could carry radioactivity. She questioned whether the geology is understood well enough to predict hundreds of thousands of years into the future. In addition to being an associate professor of environmental science and policy at George Mason University, she was a member of the Blue Ribbon Commission on America\u2019s Nuclear Future. That committee gave Congress its final report in January. She holds a Ph.D. in geology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), chair of the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee, promised a hearing in June to vet both Macfarlane and Kristine Svinicki, who is re-nominated to her current position as commissioner.