Obama turns to nuclear waste panel for NRC post

President Obama said May 24 that he intends to nominate a member of the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future, Allison Macfarlane, to be a member of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and replace departing NRC Chairman Greg Jaczko.

Jaczko, the controversial chairman, announced May 21 that he would step down although he still has about 13 months left on his tenure.

Macfarlane is an associate professor of Environmental Science and Policy at George Mason University (GMU), a position she has held since 2006. She also served on the much-ballyhooed nuclear waste panel, which delivered its report earlier this year.

Macfarlane worked as a research associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) from 2004 to 2006 and 2000 to 2003, and as an associate professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology from 2003 to 2004, according to a White House news release.

She was also a fellow at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs from 1998 to 2000, and a fellow at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation from 1997 to 1998. Macfarlane began her teaching career in the Department of Geography and Earth Systems Science at GMU. She received a bachelor of science from the University of Rochester and a Ph.D. in Geology from MIT.

“The nuclear energy industry congratulates Professor Macfarlane on her selection by the president,” said Nuclear Energy Institute President and CEO Marvin Fertel. “She has been an active contributor to policy debates in the nuclear energy field for many years,” Fertel said in a news release.

“Given the importance of having a fully functioning, five-member commission to carry out the NRC’s safety mission, the nuclear energy industry urges the administration to submit her confirmation paperwork as expeditiously as possible,” Fertel added. “It would not serve the public interest to have her nomination linger with the term of Commissioner Kristine Svinicki set to expire at the end of June. We urge the Senate to confirm both Commissioner Svinicki and Professor Macfarlane expeditiously.”

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.