Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) member William D. Magwood IV announced July 22 that he will step down from his post at the NRC effective at the close of business Aug. 31.
Commissioner Magwood had revealed earlier this year that he would leave NRC to become Director-General of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) on Sept. 1.
In recent weeks, Magwood had come under pressure from anti-nuclear citizen groups who questioned why Magwood was ruling on NRC cases, and had not set a departure date, prior to joining an international nuclear group.
With the Aug. 31 departure of Magwood, and Commissioner George Apostolakis seeing his term expire at the end of June, the NRC will likely have to make due with three commissioners rather than five.
Relief could be on the way, however.
The Wall Street Journal reported July 22 that President Obama intends to nominate Jeff Baran, an aide to retiring Rep. Henry Waxman (D., Calif.), who is the top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Stephen Burns, a former NRC general counsel, to file the NRC slots.
Magwood was initially sworn in to the Commission on April 1, 2010. His term was to run through June 2015.
Magwood had come to NRC after a long stint in leadership posts within the Department of Energy (DOE). He was the longest-serving head of the United States’ civilian nuclear technology program, serving two Presidents and five Secretaries of Energy.
“It has been a rare honor to have been one of only 33 people to have served as an NRC Commissioner,” Magwood said. “The NRC is a truly outstanding organization that stands as a powerful model for nuclear safety organizations throughout the world,” Magwood said. Magwood went on to praise his NRC colleagues and staff.
“I am proud to have worked alongside a cadre of exceptional public servants dedicated to protecting public health and safety through a commitment to openness and independence,” he said.
The NEA is a specialized subagency within the OECD comprised of 31 member countries. The NEA, with the support of its member countries, focuses on facilitating policy analyses, sharing information and experience amongst its members, developing cooperative research projects, and developing consensus positions on technical issues, including those relevant to nuclear safety regulators around the world. Its work is focused upon developing and maintaining the scientific, technical, and legal basis for ensuring that nuclear power, where it is used, is used in a safe, environmentally friendly, and economical manner.
At OECD, Commissioner Magwood succeeds Luis Echávarri, who retired in April 2014 after 17 years at the head of the NEA.