In a vote last Friday, the Senate voted to confirm Allison Macfarlane, chair of the Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, as the new chair of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Macfarlane also served on the Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future.
Macfarlane will leave her position at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, where she is an associate professor of environmental science and policy. An expert on nuclear waste, Macfarlane has a PhD in geology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is the author of Uncertainty Underground: Yucca Mountain and the Nation's High-Level Nuclear Waste.
"Allison Macfarlane will bring enormous scientific expertise and policy skill to the leadership of the NRC," said Kennette Benedict, executive director of the Bulletin. "She is dedicated to nuclear safety and scientific integrity. She respects the public's need for openness and transparency and will bring a spirit of rigor to the commission's debates and decisions. She is a brilliant choice for the NRC."
Macfarlane is replacing current chairman Gregory Jaczko, who, on May 21, announced his resignation, effective upon the confirmation of his successor. Macfarlane's term will end June 30, 2013.
Macfarlane has chaired the Bulletin's Science and Security Board since 2008, and has authored numerous articles for the Bulletin over the years.