The NRC: Observations on commissioner appointments

February 26, 2021, 4:59PMUpdated December 27, 2021, 4:00PMNuclear NewsSteven P. Nesbit and Paul T. Dickman
The NRC Commission following the departure of Chairman Svinicki in January and Commissioner Caputo in June of this year.

At the end of 2021, Nuclear News is taking a look back at some of the feature articles published each month in the magazine. This article is from our February issue that focused on policy. Hopefully, Nuclear News will be updating this story in 2022 if the Biden administration follows the recommendation of ANS leadership to fill the vacant seats.

In 2015, we wrote an article for Nuclear News analyzing the history of commissioners appointed to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and assessing their backgrounds, experience, and qualifications at the time of their appointment. At the time, ANS had not established a formal position statement on NRC commissioner appointees. Our article provided an objective assessment of historical patterns and was used to develop ANS position statement #77, The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (2016). This article draws upon the 2015 article and provides updated data and analysis. Also, the recommendations of the position statement are applied to the current vacancy on the commission.

ANS weighs in on NRC vacancies

December 8, 2021, 7:00AMANS News

In a November letter to President Biden, ANS president Steven Nesbit and U.S. Nuclear Industry Council president and chief executive officer Bud Albright urged the president to proceed with nominations for the two open seats on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The letter stated, “The NRC operates best with a full complement of five qualified commissioners who have diverse and complementary backgrounds. . . . Unfortunately, the commission was last at full strength in January 2021, nearly a year ago.”

Commissioner Caputo to leave NRC on June 30

June 23, 2021, 3:00PMNuclear News

Caputo

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Annie Caputo will depart the agency when her term expires at the end of this month, NRC Chairman Christopher Hanson said yesterday. Her departure will leave the five-seat panel with only three commissioners—the minimum number required for it to conduct business—as former chairman Kristine Svinicki resigned in January of this year.

At this writing, Caputo has not announced her post-NRC plans.

Remaining on the commission are two Democrats, Hanson and Jeff Baran, and one Republican, David Wright. President Biden has not named a replacement for either of the vacancies and can choose only one Democrat, since no more than three commissioners can be from the same political party.

Statement from the American Nuclear Society on the announced departure of NRC Chairman Kristine Svinicki

January 5, 2021, 1:52PMPress Releases

On behalf of America’s nuclear professionals, we thank Chairman Kristine Svinicki for her service and leadership at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Chairman Svinicki announces she will resign on Jan. 20

January 4, 2021, 3:19PMNuclear News

Chairman Kristine Svinicki announced today that she intends to leave the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on January 20. She issued a statement in a press release from the NRC.

Chairman Svinicki has served as a commissioner under three administrations and is the longest serving member of the commission. She was first appointed to the commission by President Bush in 2007, was reappointed in 2012 by President Obama, and was designated chairman by President Donald J. Trump on January 23, 2017. Her term would have ended on June 30, 2022.