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Former DOE chief Moniz joins Southern Co., Terrestrial Energy boards

Former U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz joined utility Southern Co.'s board of directors and the advisory board for Canadian advanced nuclear developer Terrestrial Energy Inc.

The Southern Co. board on Feb. 12 announced the appointment of Moniz as an independent director, effective March 1, and said he will stand for election by stockholders at the upcoming annual meeting. Moniz, a nuclear physicist and former faculty member of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, served as Energy Secretary under former President Barack Obama from May 2013 to January 2017.

Moniz will serve on Southern Co.'s Operations, Environmental and Safety Committee, the Nominating, Governance and Corporate Responsibility Committee, and the board's Business Security Subcommittee, which focuses on cyber and physical risks. Southern Co. is the parent company of Georgia Power Co., which is leading the expansion of the Alvin W. Vogtle Nuclear Plant the only nuclear project under construction in the U.S.

Two days after Southern Co.'s appointment, Terrestrial Energy announced the appointment of Moniz to its advisory board. Terrestrial Energy CEO Simon Irish said Moniz's policy and technical experience will be a great asset to the nuclear developer during government and industry engagements and in helping the company deploy the first commercial integral molten salt reactor plant in the 2020s.

In November 2017, Terrestrial Energy's integral molten salt reactor design completed the first phase of Canada's prelicensing vendor design review and is the only advanced reactor project to have entered the invitation-only stage of the U.S. Department of Energy's loan guarantee program for construction financing support. Terrestrial Energy is considering building its first commercial power plant, with a planned capacity of 190 MW, at the DOE's Idaho National Laboratory in Idaho Falls, Idaho, or at the Canadian Nuclear Laboratories site in Chalk River, Ontario.

"We require breakthrough energy technologies to achieve our goals for a clean, prosperous and secure energy future," said Moniz. "Innovative nuclear technologies such as Terrestrial Energy's Integral Molten Salt Reactor have the potential to meet that challenge."

Moniz also serves as co-chairman and CEO of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, which seeks to prevent nuclear war, and is the CEO of Energy Futures Initiative Inc., a nonprofit energy innovation policy institute.