President Barack Obama today named Allison Macfarlane, chair of the Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, as his choice to lead the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Macfarlane also served on the Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future.
Macfarlane is associate professor of environmental science and policy at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, and is an affiliate of MIT's Program in Science, Technology, and Society and Harvard University's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. An expert on nuclear waste, she 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."
If her nomination is confirmed by the Senate, Macfarlane will replace current chairman Gregory Jaczko, who, on May 21, announced his resignation, effective upon the confirmation of his successor.
Macfarlane has chaired the Bulletin's Science and Security Board since 2008, and has authored numerous articles for the Bulletin over the years.