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US Nuclear Regulatory Commission member Ostendorff to leave agency

Washington — William Ostendorff, a commissioner of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission since 2010, will leave the agency at the end of his term on June 30, he said Wednesday at the Platts Nuclear Energy conference in Washington.

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"I will not seek renomination," Ostendorff said.

He did not say who might be nominated to replace him, or when that might take place.

Ostendorff, a former naval officer and nuclear submarine commander, said he has accepted a position at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, as a visiting professor of energy security.

"I feel very comfortable leaving the commission at the end of June with where we are on Fukushima," Ostendorff said.

NRC ordered safety improvements in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima I nuclear accident in Japan that officials say will be mostly complete by the end of this year.

The five-member commission has been operating with only three or four members since George Apostolakis's term expired in June 2014. Under the Atomic Energy Act, the commission can continue to conduct business with only three members.

In July, President Barack Obama nominated Jessie Roberson, a member of the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, to serve as a commissioner. NRC commissioners must be approved by the Senate. A hearing has not yet been held or scheduled on her nomination.

Before joining NRC, Ostendorff served in a position at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. Prior to that he was deputy principal administrator at the National Nuclear Security Administration, which is responsible for maintaining the US nuclear weapons arsenal, among other missions.

--Steven Dolley,
--Edited by Keiron Greenhalgh,