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US NRC Commissioner David Wright to be nominated for full term

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US NRC Commissioner David Wright to be nominated for full term

Washington — President Donald Trump intends to nominate David Wright, a member of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, for a full five-year term, the White House said in a statement Friday.

That nomination is subject to confirmation by a Senate vote.

In May 2017, Trump nominated Wright to serve the remainder of a five-year term ending June 30, 2020. The Senate Environment and Public Works committee approved his nomination, as well as that of Annie Caputo, in July 2017. A full Senate vote on the nominations was delayed by months, in part because Senate Democrats wanted to ensure Commissioner Jeff Baran would be nominated for another term and that the three nominees would be voted on as a single package.

Trump nominated Baran in September 2017, and the Senate confirmed Baran, Wright, and Caputo in May 2018.

Under the Atomic Energy Act, there can be no more than three NRC commissioners from any single political party, and they serve staggered five-year terms. NRC Chairman Kristine Svinicki, Commissioner Caputo and Wright are Republicans. Baran is a Democrat. The fifth seat on the commission is vacant and the administration has announced no nominee.

Before joining the commission, Wright was the owner of Wright Directions LLC, a strategic consulting and communications business. From March 2004 until June 2013, he served as a commissioner on the South Carolina Public Service Commission and was the PSC's chairman from July 2012 to June 2013. Wright is also former president of the Southeastern Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners.

Wright was president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners in 2011-2012, and is also former chairman of NARUC's Yucca Mountain Task Force and its Subcommittee on Nuclear Waste Issues and Waste Disposal.

Wright also served as national chairman of the Nuclear Waste Strategy Coalition from December 2006 until June 2013. Both NARUC and the coalition advocated for the project to build a spent fuel and nuclear waste deep geologic repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada. The administration of former president Barack Obama terminated that project in 2010, and several efforts since then to revive it, including by the Trump administration, have been denied funding by Congress.

--Steven Dolley, steven.dolley@spglobal.com

--Edited by Valarie Jackson, valarie.jackson@spglobal.com