Senate committee approves nuclear regulator nominees

The U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee on June 21 approved the nomination of Allison Macfarlane to be a member of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and President Obama's designee as Chair, and the re-nomination of Kristine Svinicki to remain a commissioner of the NRC. The nominees will now go to the full Senate for consideration.

"I am pleased that the Committee approved the President's nominee, Dr. Macfarlane, because she brings the critical experience, intelligence, scientific background, and integrity that we need in the NRC Chairman,” Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), chairman of the EPW Committee, said. “I could not support Commissioner Svinicki's re-nomination, because I do not believe that she has demonstrated the commitment to safety that the American people have a right to expect in this post-Fukushima era."

Macfarlane is an Associate Professor of Environmental Science and Policy at George Mason University in Virginia.  She currently serves as a member of the White House’s Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future.  In 2006 MIT Press published her book, “Uncertainty Underground: Yucca Mountain and the Nation’s High-Level Nuclear Waste,” which explores the technical issues for nuclear waste disposal at Yucca Mountain in Nevada.

Svinicki earned her BA in nuclear engineering from the University of Michigan before taking a job with the state of Wisconsin. She then moved to the U.S. Department of Energy with the Idaho Operations Process at the Idaho Nuclear Laboratory. She transferred to the DOE’s headquarters in Washington DC and was named as a staff member of the Arms Services Committee in 2007.

NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko on May 21 resigned, a position he held since May 2009, effective upon the confirmation of a successor.

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