Kenneth Mossman Named to U.S. NRC Atomic Safety and Licensing Board Panel

Kenneth Mossman

Kenneth Mossman, a past president of the Health Physics Society and an international expert in radiation health and safety, has been named to the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board Panel (ASLBP) of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). The panel is an independent, trial-level adjudicatory body of the NRC.

The panel, acting on behalf of the NRC, conducts hearings and makes decisions with respect to granting, suspending, revoking, or amending licenses authorized by the Atomic Energy Act. The panel hears cases on licensing and enforcement regarding nuclear reactors and civilian use of nuclear materials in the United States. It considers issues concerning the operation of the nation's more than 100 nuclear power plants and programs related to about 5,000 nuclear materials licenses.

In recent years, the panel's hearings have shifted to focus on license extensions, site decontamination, enforcement actions, reactor and materials license amendments, and spent fuel storage.

Panelists are chosen based on the content of cases and the technical issues in question. Each judge has one independent vote, and court decisions can be appealed through the federal circuit court where the suit originated. For example, Arizona would have jurisdiction over a suit concerning the Palo Verde nuclear plant.

The panel is likely to see a significant increase in activity in the next 18 to 24 months, as nuclear utilities submit license applications for new nuclear plants. Another area the panel will deal with is the suitability of Yucca Mountain, Nevada, as a site for a high-level waste repository.

Mossman has published widely in topics such as biological effects of low- and high-dose x-ray, gamma, and neutron radiation; radiation exposure during pregnancy; the health effects of radon; and radiation protection and public policy. His research includes nuclear regulatory science and policy and managing small risks, as well as risk perception and risk communication.

Mossman served as president of the Health Physics Society in 1993-1994. Previous to that he served on the Board of Directors from 1987 to 1990 and has served on numerous committees during his 27 years of membership in the Society. He was awarded the Health Physics Society Elda E. Anderson Award in 1984, which recognizes excellence in a young member of the Society, and the Founders Award in 2002, which recognizes contributions to the health physics profession and the Society. He has been a Fellow of the Health Physics Society since 1994. 

Mossman is currently a professor of health physics at Arizona State University and he resides in Scottsdale, Arizona, with his wife Blaire.