Society News Archive

17 September 2014
Two New NRC Commissioners Confirmed by Senate

The Senate on Tuesday 16 September 2014 confirmed two new members to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), the federal body that ensures the safe use of radioactive materials for beneficial civilian purposes while protecting people and the environment. The NRC regulates commercial nuclear power plants and other uses of nuclear materials—such as in nuclear medicine—through licensing, inspection, and enforcement of its requirements.

The addition of Stephen Burns and Jeffrey Baran brings the NRC to its full complement of five members. The two newcomers join Chairman Allison Macfarlane, Kristine Svinicki, and William Ostendorff to round out the commission.

Baran is former staff director for energy and environment on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Burns is a former longtime executive at the NRC, rising to the post of general counsel from 2009 to 2012 when he retired from the agency.

The chairman is the principal executive officer of and the official spokesman for the NRC. As principal executive officer, the chairman is responsible for conducting administrative, organizational, long-range planning, budgetary, and certain personnel functions of the agency. The chairman has ultimate authority for all NRC functions pertaining to an emergency involving an NRC license. The chairman's actions are governed by the general policies of the Commission.

The Commission as a collegial body formulates policies, develops regulations governing nuclear reactor and nuclear material safety, issues orders to licensees, and adjudicates legal matters.