Though the news comes in the midst of a global public backlash over the NSA's widespread surveillance programs, it's worth pointing out that Alexander had revealed his plans to retire before Edward Snowden leaked details of PRISM in June. Officials didn’t give a reason for his departure.
Nuclear Regulatory Commission figures cited in the Government Accountability Office report show that while the West has the fewest reactors, it had the most lower-level violations from 2000 to 2012 — more than 2½ times the Southeast's rate per reactor.
The Southeast, with the most reactors of the NRC's four regions, had the fewest such violations, according to the report, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press.
The striking variations do not appear to reflect real differences in reactor performance. Instead, the report says, the differences suggest that regulators interpret rules and guidelines differently among regions, perhaps because lower-level violations get limited review.