Changes continue at top of US nuclear regulator

22 October 2014

Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Allison M. Macfarlane has announced plans to leave the NRC effective January 1 to take a position at George Washington University. She will leave less than a year after the departure of two other commissioners.

Macfarlane, the 15th person to serve as the agency's chairman, was nominated by President Obama to complete the last year of Dr. Gregory Jaczko's term as chair. After the Senate confirmed her, she took over as chair in July 2012. President Obama nominated her for a second term as chair and, in June 2013, she was confirmed to a five-year term ending in June 2018.

"I came to the Commission with the mission of righting the ship after a tumultuous period for the Commission, and ensuring that the agency implemented lessons learned from the tragic accident at Fukushima Daiichi, so that the American people can be confident that such an accident will never take place here. With these key objectives accomplished, I am now returning to academia as Director of the Center for International Science and Technology Policy at George Washington University."

Macfarlane announces her departure less than a week after Jeffery Baran, previously working in the US House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce, was sworn in for a five-year term as commissioner, replacing William Magwood's seat.

In July 2014, US president Barack Obama appointed Baran and Stephen Burns, head of legal affairs of the OECD's Nuclear Energy Agency. Both were confirmed in September, but Burns, who replaces George Apostolakis, has not yet been sworn in.

The commission consists of five members.

In unrelated news, NRC has also appointed Eugene Dacus as the NRC's director of the Office of Congressional Affairs.

Macfarlane at a Watts Bar construction project tour in June 2014

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