The Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards elects 2022 leadership

January 6, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News


The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards has elected Joy Rempe as chair, Walter Kirchner as vice chair, and David Petti as member-at-large. All three are ANS members.

“I am honored that my colleagues on the ACRS elected me to this position,” said Rempe, of Rempe and Associates. “The leadership team looks forward to ensuring that the ACRS continues its tradition of providing the commission advice on safety issues.”

Bios: Rempe has more than 35 years of experience in the areas of reactor safety and instrumentation performance. Prior to retiring as a Laboratory Fellow at Idaho National Laboratory, she founded an instrumentation development and deployment laboratory, which supported irradiation testing in U.S. and international facilities.

Kirchner most recently served as an institutional liaison manager for Argonne National Laboratory in following, analyzing, and advising lab leadership on science and technology policy and programmatic developments taking place in the presidential administration, the Department of Energy, other federal agencies, and Congress.

Petti has more than 30 years of experience in technology leadership and as principal investigator of nuclear science and engineering materials-related technologies, including lead and chief scientist positions for the DOE, the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory, the University of Idaho, and the Phebus facility at the Cadarache nuclear site in France.

The complete list of ACRS members and their biographies can be found on the ACRS webpage.

What is the ACRS? The ACRS is a group of technical experts that advises the NRC, independently from NRC staff, on safety issues related to the licensing and operation of nuclear power plants, as well as on issues of health physics and radiation protection.

Meeting schedule: The 2022 ACRS full committee meeting schedule is available on the NRC website. The first meeting of the year will be held February 2–4 at NRC offices in Rockville, Md., and will be hybrid (in-person and remote capability). It will be the 692nd ACRS meeting.

ACRS history: According to the NRC, the organizational history of the ACRS began in June 1947 when the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), out of concern for reactor safety, established a blue-ribbon advisory group to evaluate technical health and safety aspects of reactor hazards. The advisory group was known as the Reactor Safeguards Committee. In late 1950, the AEC expanded its safety program by creating a second advisory group, the Industrial Committee on Reactor Location Problems, to evaluate the scientific and environmental aspects of reactor locations. In July 1953, after recognizing that the responsibilities of these two committees had become interrelated, the AEC combined them under the new name, the Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards. Years later, with the enactment of the Energy Reorganization Act of 1974, the ACRS was transferred intact from the AEC to the newly established NRC.

The ACRS has a history of recommending innovative and risk-based approaches to regulatory problems. For example, the ACRS endorsed the development of an NRC quantitative safety goal policy and developed the first set of quantitative safety goals for nuclear power plants (NUREG-0739). These safety goals were the basis for later work by the NRC on the development of an NRC Safety Goal Policy.

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