The Senate has confirmed Kristine L. Svinicki, a GOP staffer on the chamber’s Armed Services Committee, to a seat on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, as the Democrats’ general freeze on presidential nominees is thawing. Svinicki, who has a nuclear engineering degree, was among 40 nominees confirmed on March 13 for various positions. The Senate gave a new five-year NRC term to Gregory B. Jaczko, whose current term expires June 30. Jaczko, who holds a doctorate in physics, is a former aide to Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), now majority leader.

Before coming to armed services in 2005, Svinicki was a staffer for Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) and held posts at the Energy Dept. Her appointment leaves the five-member NRC with one vacancy.