NRC chairman speaks to nuclear engineering students, staff and faculty

Stephen Burns, chairman, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), spoke to nuclear engineering faculty, staff, and students as part of the nuclear engineering seminar series. His talk, titled "The Licensing and Adjudicatory Processes of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission," gave an overview of the NRC, its licensing process, and its intersection with other government entities.

Penn Sate has many connections with the NRC in research and education, so the visit also provide Burns a chance to tour several Penn State facilities, including the Garfield Thomas Water Tunnel Facility, the Applied Research Laboratory, the Radiation Science and Engineering Center, and the Rod Bundle Heat Transfer Facility.

“The visit was a good opportunity for me to see the research reactor,” Burns said of his visit to the Breazeale Nuclear Reactor.“ A lot of what I go out to see in the U.S. are the power reactors. It’s good for me to see other types of facilities.“

Burns was also very encouraged to learn about Penn State’s new nuclear security program, developed with MIT and Texas A&M, which integrates a variety of fields such as law and international policy into the curriculum.

“It's very interesting when you get these connections between different disciplines and the nuclear security program is a great example of that,” Burns said.

Burns finished his visit by addressing the Penn State student chapter of the American Nuclear Society.

Burns was sworn in as a commissioner of the NRC on Nov. 5, 2014. President Obama designated Burns as chairman of the NRC effective Jan. 1, 2015. Burns has worked as an attorney within the NRC and internationally. Before returning to the NRC, he was head of legal affairs of the Nuclear Energy Agency of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development in Paris. Prior to assuming this role at the NEA, Burns served as deputy general counsel and general counsel of the NRC.

Last Updated September 15, 2015