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Allison M. Macfarlane (Visiting Investigator, 1993-1997) Appointed NRC Chair

Allison M. Macfarlane, a former Geophysical Laboratory and Department of Terrestrial Magnetism Visiting Investigator(1993-1997), was selected by President Obama to serve as Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in July. The selection was later confirmed by the Senate. 

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is an independent federal regulatory agency responsible for licensing and regulating nuclear facilities and nuclear materials, as mandated by the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended. Macfarlane became the fifteenth person selected to lead the agency, and will serve a term ending 30 June 2013. She is the third woman to serve as chair and the only person with a background in geology to serve on the commission. As Chairman she will be responsible for ensuring the public's health and safety in the operation of nuclear power plants and usage of nuclear materials. President of Carnegie Richard A. Meserve served as Chairman of the NRC from 1999 to 2003.

Macfarlane holds a Ph.D. in geology from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and recently held the position of associate professor of environmental science and policy at George Mason Univeristy. Prior to that, she held fellowships at Radcliffe College, MIT, Stanford and Harvard Universities, as well as served as Social Science Research Fellow-MacArthur Foundation Fellow in International Peace and Security. Between 2010-2012 she served on the Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Furture set up by President Obama to devise strategies on the organization and disposal of nuclear waste. Her research centers on environmental policy and international security issues in relation to nuclear energy, in particular the back-end of the nuclear fuel cycle.