In Memoriam: Wayne L. Britz


by Blair Spitzberg, PhD, and Janine Katanic, CHP

Wayne L. Britz, of Dallas, Texas, formerly of Chisago City, Minnesota, died suddenly of complications from the type 1A flu on 12 October 2013 at the age of 72. "I was saddened to learn of Wayne’s untimely passing," Blair Spitzberg noted. "He worked for me as a health physics and fuel-cycle inspector in the Region IV office of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for several years in the 1990s. He carried a significant workload of the safety inspections our office performed of fuel-cycle facilities in the western half of the United States. Wayne was a valued professional with a wealth of experience and was a true gentleman. I always enjoyed our conversations involving his days on the Nuclear Ship (NS) Savannah. I was shocked to learn of his passing, as I met with Wayne only a couple of months ago, in August, when he showed up at our public meeting in Eureka, California, to discuss the decommissioning of the Humboldt Bay Nuclear Power Plant. He looked great at the time and I was happy to visit with him."

Wayne was born 17 June 1941 in Stillwater, Minnesota, to Ephraim and Dorothy Britz. He graduated from Chisago City High School in 1959, received his BS from St. Cloud State University, and then attended the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. From 1966 until 1970, after his graduation from the Merchant Marine Academy, Wayne was assigned to the NS Savannah, the first nonmilitary nuclear-powered ship. After leaving the Merchant Marine, he received an MS degree in nuclear engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology. In 1971 he began working for the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (now the NRC) in Washington, DC. He moved to New Jersey in 1980 to work for Public Service Electric and Gas Company as manager of Radiation Protection Services at the company’s nuclear power plants. He worked there until 1986, consulted for several years, and in 1998 returned to the NRC. After retiring from the NRC in 2006, he moved from Dallas to White Bear Lake, Minnesota. In 2008 he moved to Dubai to work at the United Arab Emirates Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation. Wayne was again living in Dallas at the time of his death.

Wayne was the past president of the N/S Savannah Association and was an active member in the American Nuclear Society and the Health Physics Society (HPS). A member of the HPS since 1971, Wayne served on the Local Arrangements Committee for the 2009 HPS Annual Meeting in Minneapolis. He also coauthored NRC NUREG documents, including NUREG 0475, "Radiological Environmental Monitoring by NRC Licensees for Routine Operation of Nuclear Facilities" and NUREG 0133, "Preparation of Radiological Effluent Technical Specifications for Nuclear Power Plants."

In his free time, Wayne liked to travel and had many friends all over the world. He was an accomplished flute player and enjoyed playing music in several community bands and orchestras during his life. He was especially known for entertaining friends and associates and was known to all for being loving, caring, and giving.

Wayne was preceded in death by his parents, Ephraim and Dorothy. He is survived by his sister, Yvonne (David) Snyder of Cushing, Wisconsin; brother Lowell of Orlando, Florida; nephews, Tim (Lori) Snyder of Zimmerman, Minnesota, and Jim Snyder of Cushing; great-nieces and nephews, Tom Snyder of Duluth, Minnesota, and Madi Snyder and Colten Snyder of Cushing; and friends and acquaintances around the world.

A memorial photo tribute to Wayne can be found at

Wayne was a very dedicated radiation safety professional and always proud of his work to ensure nuclear safety throughout his career. He will be missed.