"I would rather see you in charge"
Flattery will get you everywhere! I am really not at all suited to the job, either by constitution or by inclination; I'm just a sysadmin with a smart mouth and a good sense of his own limitations. But I certainly do appreciate the vote of confidence on a Monday morning.
And do note, because it counts, that I propose not to turn it over to scientists, i.e., researchers, but to engineers, who are accustomed to delivering tangible results. Specifically, I'd turn it over to ex-naval nuclear engineers with experience of operating nuclear plants in a context where they not only live next door (or a few hatches) down from the thing, but also literally can not get away from it if it goes wrong -- it's awfully hard to bail out of a submarine under way, unless you can breathe water, and human "crush depth" is rather shallower than that at which nuclear subs generally cruise! When one's well-being and very life depend on operational safety, one becomes rather obsessive on the subjet, even perhaps maniacally so, which again strikes me as the very best kind of attitude for anyone involved in the design, construction, operation and maintenance of a nuclear plant.
Of course, the Navy, not wishing either to waste highly trained personnel for no reason, or to play "penny wise, pound foolish" with boats costing a billion bucks a pop, supports this attitude right up the line. My notional US Nucleonics Corps would do just the same, only more so. The Navy also provides grave penalties for people who make culpable mistakes, and the Nucleonics Corps would emulate the Navy in that respect also. It's one thing to fail through no fault of one's own -- it is, of course, quite possible to do everything right, and still lose. But one who loses through not doing everything right may reasonably expect real penalties -- from being defrocked through being imprisoned to being publicly hanged, depending on the gravity of the error and its consequences. (After all, if one errs in such a way that it costs innocents their lives or well-being, why should one not expect to pay in like coin for one's negligence? It won't bring anyone back, of course, but neither will anything else, and such a response should make a salutary lesson for anyone who has similarly been letting his responsibilities go wanting.)
You've got a point about politicians, but note again my comments on the subject of mob rule; absent that, we don't get the kind of politicians you're talking about, because there's no point to politicking in the first place -- one of the nicer points of absolute monarchy is that it doesn't have to hew to the mob's every whim! That's not to say it should ignore them entirely, which any sensible monarch wouldn't do -- as Charles I put it, right before Cromwell's thugs removed not only his crown, but the head on which he'd worn it:
"[As for the people,] truly I desire their liberty and freedom as much as anybody whomsoever; but I must tell you that their liberty and freedom consist in having of government, those laws by which their life and their goods may be most their own. It is not for having share in government, sirs; that is nothing pertaining to them; a subject and a sovereign are clear different things. And therefore until they do that, I mean that you do put the people in that liberty, as I say, certainly they will never enjoy themselves[...]"
-- nor have we; the problems with mob rule are legion, as we've been discovering ever since, to the extent that even the most committed democrats loathe, under the name of "politics", the very system they purport to venerate. (Pity it never seems to occur to them that, under a system where the mob's trend or fad or hysteria du jour doesn't risk turning the whole world on its ear, the politics they so loathe need not exist at all!)
Even under mob rule, buying the nuclear plants off their current owners and handing them over to the Nucleonics Corps, or equivalent, would solve some problems -- that said, and democracy being what it is, we still wouldn't have something really reliable, until we replace the government we have, with the government we need.