On March 19, 2010, the United States Senate confirmed three nominees, George Apostolakis, William Magwood, and Bill Ostendorff, to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (“NRC”) by unanimous consent instead of a roll-call vote.  The three new commissioners will join sitting chairman Gregory Jaczko, a Democrat, and Republican Commissioner, Kristine Svinicki on the five-member agency.

The Obama administration inherited the NRC with two vacancies to fill, and Dale Klein, Republican and former Chairman, announced he was leaving the NRC as soon as a replacement could be confirmed.  Ostendorff will replace Klein with a term that is set to expire June 30, 2011.  He is a former deputy administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration.  Prior to that, Ostendorff served on the House Armed Services Committee where he was responsible for oversight of the Department of Energy’s (“DOE”) Atomic Energy Defense activities.   Ostendorff also previously served as director of the Committee on Science, Engineering and Public Policy at the National Academies, and served in the Navy where he commanded the nuclear-powered USS Norfolk attack submarine.

Apostolakis is a nuclear science and engineering professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he was chair of the NRC’s Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards.  Apostolakis’s term will expire in June 2014.  Apostolakis has received numerous accolades, including the Tommy Thompson Award from Nuclear Installations Safety Division of the American Nuclear Society in 1999 and the Arthur Holly Compton Award in Education in 2005 from the American Nuclear Society for developing innovative ways to educate students and professional engineers in the art and science of probabilistic risk assessment.  He also was elected in 2007 as a Member of National Academy of Engineering for innovations in the theory and practice of probabilistic risk assessment and risk management.

Magwood is a former DOE Director for the Office of Nuclear Energy, and he was confirmed for the remainder of a term expiring June 2010 and a second term expiring June 2015.  While at DOE, Magwood created the Nuclear Power 2010 program to promote building more nuclear plants.  Magwood also served as the head of the United States civilian technology program and managed nuclear policy programs at the Edison Electric Institute.  Magwood retired from the government in 2005, but later returned as a contractor.  The Project on Government Oversight recently criticized Magwood for his advocacy of nuclear energy and not enforcing health and safety standards.  However, Magwood responded to the criticism during a committee hearing earlier this year, stating that he would promote safety first.