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Nuclear Regulatory Commission Gets New Leader

Stephen Burns, a 33-year veteran of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the Senate, was sworn in as an NRC Commissioner today. His term will expire on June 30, 2019.

Burns took the oath of office from NRC Chairman Allison M. Macfarlane in the Commission’s hearing room in Rockville, Md., becoming the 35th individual to join the commission since its inception in 1975.

“Steve Burns’ in-depth knowledge of the Commission, acquired from service in a wide range of positions at the agency, as well as his knowledge of policy development and the issues we face at the NRC, will be invaluable to all of us. We look forward to his service,” said Macfarlane.

“After decades of serving the Commission in a legal capacity, it is truly an honor to join the Commission as a member. The NRC has an important role in protecting the American people, and I look forward to working with our other commissioners in making decisions that strengthen nuclear safety and security,” said Burns.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has five members, one of which is designated by the President as chairman. Commissioners formulate policies, develop regulations, issue orders to licensees and adjudicate legal matters. Members serve five-year terms, with one term expiring every year on June 30. No more than three Commissioners may be of the same political party.

Most recently, Burns was the Head of Legal Affairs for the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Nuclear Energy Agency, a position he has held since 2012.  Prior to joining the OECD, he served at the NRC in a variety of roles for more than 30 years.

Burns, who came to the NRC in 1978, was The NRC’s General Counsel from 2009 to 2012, Deputy General Counsel from 1998 to 2009, and Associate General Counsel for Hearings, Enforcement and Administration from 1994 to 1998. He also served as Director of the Office of Commission Appellate Adjudication from 1991 to 1994, Executive Assistant to NRC Chairman Kenneth Carr from 1989 to 1991, Legal Assistant to Carr from 1986 to 1989, and Deputy Director of the Regional Operations and Enforcement Division from 1983 to 1986.

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