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US NRC Chairman Kristine Svinicki to leave agency January 20

Washington — US Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Kristine Svinicki will leave the agency Jan. 20, NRC said in a statement Jan. 4.

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Svinicki, a Republican, was appointed to the five-member commission by then-President George W. Bush in 2007. She was appointed for another five-year term by then-President Barack Obama in 2012. Svinicki was appointed NRC chairman by President Donald Trump in January 2017.

Svinicki said in the statement that she had been told she was the longest-serving NRC commissioner in the history of the agency. She attributed that partly to the fact that she had been "exceedingly fortunate to serve with such fine fellow commissioners over the course of the years."

She also praised "the NRC culture and the people who make it the welcoming and wonderful place it is," which she said "are truly unique in government."

Svinicki did not announce her future plans.

The office of President-elect Joe Biden, who will be inaugurated Jan. 20, has not announced who he plans to appoint as Svinicki's successor.

Senator John Barrasso, a Wyoming Republican who chaired in the previous Congress the Environment and Public Works Committee that oversees NRC, said in a statement Jan. 4 that Svinicki "has served as an outstanding chair," and thanked her "for her service to the country and for her partnership with our committee. Her leadership helped transform the agency so groundbreaking American-made nuclear technology can be deployed."

Senator Shelley Moore Capito, a West Virginia Republican who chaired EPW's Clean Air and Nuclear Safety Subcommittee, also thanked Svinicki, saying in the statement, "Whether it's efforts like Project Aim 2020 to right-size and improve the efficiency of the NRC while maintaining its rigorous safety standards or spurring the NRC to approve advanced and modular reactor designs, I've enjoyed the opportunity to work together to address a variety of issues."

NRC commissioners must be confirmed by the US Senate, but the president has discretion to appoint any commissioner chairman without further congressional approval.

Under the Atomic Energy Act, no more than three members of the commission can be from any one political party. In addition to Svinicki, Commissioners Annie Caputo and David Wright are Republicans. Commissioners Jeff Baran and Christopher Hanson are Democrats.