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CANDIDATE FOR N-WEAPONS OVERSIGHT JOB ASKS BUSH TO WITHDRAW HIS NOMINATION

SHARE CANDIDATE FOR N-WEAPONS OVERSIGHT JOB ASKS BUSH TO WITHDRAW HIS NOMINATION

After 10 months of controversy, Victor Stello asked President Bush to withdraw his nomination to oversee the government's troubled nuclear weapons plants, the Energy Department announced.

In a letter Tuesday to Bush, Stello said that despite three hearings on his nomination since July, he still faced long delays in winning Senate confirmation to the post of assistant energy secretary for defense programs.In the job he would directly supervise day-to-day operations of 17 major weapons plants in 12 states.

"My experience over this past year has led me to the conclusion that final action by the Senate on my nomination will not take place in the foreseeable future," Stello told Bush.

"In my view, our country, the secretary of energy and you, Mr. President, require a confirmed individual in the position of assistant secretary of defense programs at the earliest opportunity," he added.

"It has become clear to me that I cannot be that person. In my view, it is in the best interest of our country for you to identify another nominee for this critical position."

Stello's withdrawal comes three months after the Senate Armed Services Committee put his nomination on hold because of controversy over Stello's actions as director of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.