Biden appoints new head of NRC

28 January 2021

Christopher Hanson (NRC Chairman)The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) announced that President Joe Biden had designated Christopher T Hanson as NRC’s 18th Chairman, effective immediately.

Hanson replaces Kristine L Svinicki, who departed the agency on 20 January having served as Chairman since 2017. Svinicki was the longest-serving commissioner in the agency's history (2008-2021).

“I look forward to building on Chairman Svinicki’s many accomplishments as the commission takes on new challenges and faces new opportunities as nuclear energy technologies continue to evolve and uses of nuclear materials expand in the future,” Hanson said.

“I remain committed to ensuring that we continue to work collaboratively under our authorities established by Congress to assure the public adequate protection of health and safety in carrying out our regulatory responsibilities.”

The US NRC is made up of five Commissioners, one of whom is designated by the President as Chairman. The Commission was established to be a collegial body that formulates policies, develops regulations, issues orders to licencees and adjudicates legal matters. Commissioners serve five-year terms, with one term expiring every year on 30 June. No more than three Commissioners may be of the same political party.

Hanson was nominated for a seat on the commission by President Trump in February 2020 and confirmed by the Senate in May. He took up the post in June to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Stephen Burns. Hanson will serve the remainder of Burns’s term, which expires in 2024.

Hanson has more than two decades of government and private-sector experience in the field of nuclear energy. Prior to joining the NRC, he served as a staff member on the Senate Appropriations Committee, where he oversaw civilian and national security nuclear programmes. He had previously served as a senior advisor in the Department of Energy's Office of Nuclear Energy, and also in the Office of the Chief Financial Officer, where he oversaw nuclear and environmental cleanup programmes, and managed the department's relationship with Congressional Appropriations committees.

Photo: Christopher Hanson (Credit; NRC)

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