A second commissioner of the US nuclear regulator has announced plans to leave the organization. George Apostolakis is planning to retire at the end of his term on 30 June. Fellow commissioner William Magwood is leaving in September to become director of the OECD’s Nuclear Energy Agency.

The US American Nuclear Society congratulated Apostolakis on his distinguished service since being sworn in in April 2010.

ANS noted that in September, if no action is taken, two of the five commission seats will be vacant.

"ANS urges President Obama to proceed expeditiously to appoint qualified candidates to the Commission, and the Society encourages the Senate to act promptly upon those applications. Commissioners have an important role in ensuring public health and safety, and the nomination and confirmation process should be handled in a responsible and nonpartisan manner. It is essential that Commissioners be competent and experienced in nuclear technology application and regulation. While not all Commissioners must be distinguished technical experts like Dr. Apostolakis, it is important that the Commission include strong engineering and science capabilities," ANS said.

NRC Commissioners are appointed by the President of the United States and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.  The Commission oversees the operations of the NRC, a 4,000 member agency responsible for the independent regulatory oversight of applications of nuclear technology in the United States.  The Commission is responsible for ensuring safe operations at the nation’s 100 operating nuclear power plants as well as medical and industrial uses of radioactive sources.

Prior to serving on the Commission, Dr. Apostolakis had a distinguished career as a professor, an engineer, and risk analyst. He is internationally recognized for his contributions to the science of risk assessment for complex systems, including the application of probabilistic risk assessment to nuclear reactor safety. Before joining the NRC, he was a professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering and a professor of Engineering Systems at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  He served as a member of the NRC Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards (ACRS) from 1995 to 2010, and he chaired the ACRS in 2001 and 2002.  In 2007 he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering, and was named a Fellow of ANS in recognition for his distinguished career and service, according to ANS.

Photo: An NRC visit to Leibstadt in Switzerland in June 2013 included commissioners Apostolakis, third from right, and Magwood, right.