Obama picks GMU prof to replace Jaczko at NRC

Thursday - 5/24/2012, 6:09pm EDT

President Barack Obama said he plans to nominate Allison Macfarlane to lead the Nuclear Regulatory Agency, just days after the embattled head of the agency announced he was stepping down.

Gregory Jaczko, who drew criticism for his management of the agency, announced his resignation Monday.

Macfarlane, an associate professor at George Mason University, is an expert on environmental policy and security issues related to nuclear energy, according to her faculty profile on the university's website. She published a 2006 book, "Uncertainty Underground: Yucca Mountain and the Nation's High-Level Nuclear Waste," about unresolved technical issues at the Nevada nuclear waste repository.

Macfarlane also served on a blue-ribbon commission examining new ways to store nuclear waste. The panel, which was stood up in 2010, finished its work in January.

Nominations for ethics office, Afghanistan watchdog

Obama also announced plans to nominate Walter Shaub Jr. to head the Office of Government Ethics.

Shaub has served since 2008 as the deputy general counsel for the agency, which is aimed at preventing conflicts of interests in the White House and executive-branch agencies,

Shaub has also served as a staff attorney at a number of federal agencies, including the Departments of Health and Human Services Department and Veterans Affairs.

If confirmed, Shaub will serve a five-year term.

On Wednesday, Obama also nominated a new Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction on Wednesday.

John Sopko, who's now a partner at Washington, D.C. law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP. Sopko previously served as chief counsel for oversight and investigations for the House Energy and Commerce Committee. He also held staff positions on the House Homeland Security Committee and at the Commerce Department, National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

Steven Trent has served as the acting SIGAR since September 2011.