Macfarlane sworn in as NRC chair

10 July 2012

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission's new chair, Allison Macfarlane, began her term yesterday. She is the 33rd appointee to lead the body.

Macfarlane oath, July 2012 (NRC) 460x334
Allison Macfarlane makes the oath of office with NRC's chief human capital officer Miriam Cohen (left) and Phillip Niedzielski-Eichner (centre), who will be Macfarlane's chief of staff.

Based in Washington DC, the NRC employs a five-member commission as the executive management of an extensive expert staff, including inspectors stationed at every nuclear power plant in the country. Each commissioner is selected by the president and approved by a vote in the senate. They have equal voting power on commission actions, while the chair serves as a spokesman and has certain unique responsibilities.

Taking the oath of office yesterday, Allison Macfarlane called her appointment "a singular honour." She added that she looked forward "to working collegially" with fellow commissioners and "the excellent, dedicated staff." Macfarlane takes the place of former chair Gregory Jaczko, who resigned shortly before an official probe concluded that he intimidated staff and attempted to control the information flow to other commissioners. Macfarlane's initial term runs until when Jaczko's would have ended in June 2013.

A second term for commissioner Kristine Svinicki was approved by Senate vote last week. She will continue to serve until June 2017.

Over the last two years Macfarlane has served on President Barack Obama's Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future. This was formed to determine a new high-level waste disposal strategy after Obama, energy secretary Stephen Chu and former NRC chair Gregory Jaczko acted together to shelve the Yucca Mountain project.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News

Filed under: Regulation, USA