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US NRC'S Svinicki appointed chairman effective immediately: spokesman

Washington (Platts)--26 Jan 2017 601 pm EST/2301 GMT


US Nuclear Regulatory Commission Commissioner Kristine Svinicki has been appointed by President Donald Trump to be chairman of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, replacing the current chairman, Stephen Burns, an agency spokesman said Thursday.

The appointment is effectively immediately, David Castelveter, director of NRC's Office of Public Affairs, said. He did not provide further details.

Related: Find more content about Trump's administration in our news and analysis feature.

Neither Svinicki's nor Burns' offices replied immediately Thursday to requests for comment.

Svinicki, a Republican, was first appointed to the commission by President George W. Bush in 2008. President Barack Obama appointed her for a second five-year term in 2012. That term ends June 30.

Svinicki, a nuclear engineer, spent more than 10 years as a Senate aide before her arrival at NRC, including stints advising Senator John McCain, Republican-Arizona, and former Senator John Warner, Republican-Virginia, on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

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Before that, she worked for the Department of Energy's nuclear energy and nuclear waste offices in Washington and Idaho.

Burns, an Independent, was nominated to the commission by Obama in November 2014. He was appointed by the president to serve as chairman beginning January 1, 2015. His term as commissioner ends in June 2019.

Prior to his appointment, Burns was head of legal affairs for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's Nuclear Energy Agency in Paris. Before that, he worked for nearly 30 years as an NRC staffer and was general counsel for the agency from 2009 to 2012.

Commissioners must be approved by the Senate, but the president has sole authority to appoint a chairman from among the sitting members of the commission. In order to conduct business, the commission must have a quorum of at least three commissioners in office.

Trump will have the opportunity during his first year in office to appoint three commissioners. Two seats are currently vacant on the five-member commission.

Under the Atomic Energy Act, there can be no more than three commissioners from any single political party, and they serve staggered five-year terms. Commissioner Jeffrey Baran is a Democrat.

--Steven Dolley, steven.dolley@spglobal.com

--William Freebairn, william.freebairn@spglobal.com

--Edited by Keiron Greenhalgh, keiron.greenhalgh@spglobal.com

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