Yesterday, the President announced his intent to fill two vacancies at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
The White House press release names Annie Caputo, currently serving as senior policy advisor for Chairman John Barrasso (R-WY) on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee to a seat with a term expiring June 30, 2021.
As stated in the announcement, “Ms. Caputo has more than 20 years of experience advising the United States House of Representatives and Senate, and industry on nuclear energy regulation, policy development, legislation, and communications. Ms. Caputo graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a bachelor’s degree in nuclear engineering.”
David Wright, currently the President of Wright Directions, LLC, a strategic consulting and communications business in the energy sector, was named to fill a vacant seat with a term that expires Jun 30, 2020.
Mr. Wright is an experienced utility regulator with a history of national leadership in the field. He “served as a member and Chairman of the South Carolina Public Service Commission (SCPSC) from 2004-2013. He was elected to serve as President of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) for 2011-2012.”
It’s worth noting that South Carolina obtains 50% of its electricity from four nuclear power stations (VC Summer, Catawba, H. B. Robinson and Oconee). The VC Summer expansion project, which is adding approximately 2,200 MWe of new capacity from two AP1000 units, was approved during his tenure on the SCPSC.
With the same release, President Trump announced his intent to nominate Kristine Svinicki, currently serving as the Chair in a seat whose term expires on June 30, 2017, to an additional term as Chair. Ms. Svinicki has been serving on the Commission since 2008 and has been the Chair since January 2017.
Before being appointed to the Commission, Ms. Svinicki “served in various staff positions in the United States Senate, including as a Professional Staff Member for the Committee on Armed Services, with a concentration on defense science and technology policy and the atomic energy defense activities of the Departments of Energy and Defense. Previously, she worked as a nuclear engineer in the United States Department of Energy’s Washington headquarters and its Idaho Operations Office. Earlier in her career, she was an energy engineer with the State of Wisconsin, Public Service Commission in Madison, Wisconsin. Ms. Svinicki graduated from the University of Michigan” with a bachelor of science in nuclear engineering.
The Nuclear Infrastructure Council made the following statement about the nominations:
President Trump is to be commended for moving with dispatch to extend the NRC Chairmanship of Commissioner Svinicki and to fill the two vacancies on the Commission.
All three nominees are highly credentialed and exceptionally qualified for the Commission with distinguished public service accomplishments.
It is our hope that the Senate mindful of the importance of the NRC’s mission — and critical pending issues such as licensing modernization and reform, an in-progress SMR licensing application and current U.S. fleet demands, among others — will act with equal alacrity to ensure that these nominations are approved by June 30.
The Nuclear Energy Institute had a similar response.
Nuclear Energy Institute
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 23, 2017
Contact: email@example.com, 202.739.8000 or 703.644.8805 (after hours and weekends)
High-Quality NRC Nominations Mark Administration Support for Nuclear Energy
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Nuclear Energy Institute today commended the Trump administration for renominating Kristine Svinicki as chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and nominating a full slate of highly qualified NRC commissioners. When confirmed, the commissioners will ensure the agency maintains its high standards for protecting public health and safety while doing so in more efficient and cost-effective ways.
“We are deeply appreciative that the president has recognized the outstanding service of Kristine Svinicki, in renominating her as NRC chair,” said Maria Korsnick, NEI’s president and chief executive officer. “With the nominations of Annie Caputo and David Wright the Trump administration is staffing the Nuclear Regulatory Commission with individuals possessing exceptionally strong backgrounds in nuclear energy and policy.
“Annie Caputo’s years of dedicated work on Capitol Hill have given her a commendable depth of knowledge of our technology and industry, and a distinctive understanding of how the commission functions.
“As former president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners and Chairman of the South Carolina Public Service Commission, David Wright shares a broad knowledge of nuclear energy and how it is regulated,” she added.
“We look forward to working with the new and returning commissioners.”
I’m encouraged by the thought that the Commission will be filled by technically and politically competent Commissioners who recognize the importance of their role. I’m confident that the selected individuals also recognize the important role that nuclear energy can and should play in our nation’s future.