The top dogs at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission say they are fully committed to safety — but their own employees are not so sure. One-third of NRC workers question its commitment to public safety, and nearly half would not be comfortable raising safety concerns within the agency, according to a survey conducted by a private consulting firm. About half of the NRC’s 3,072 employees were surveyed, ranging from clerical workers to nuclear engineers to senior managers; nearly 90 percent of the latter group said the agency was firmly committed to safety, but 30 percent of non-supervisory workers, including senior career employees, were not convinced. A significant number of workers also expressed concern about the nuclear industry influencing regulations, and just under 40 percent reported a lack of confidence in the NRC’s senior management team. As alarming as these figures may be, most of them are actually improvements over the results of a 1998 survey, as NRC Chair Richard Meserve was quick to point out.

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