Obama selects veteran lawyer to serve as chairman at nuclear energy regulatory agency

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama has selected a 33-year veteran of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Stephen G. Burns, to serve as its chairman.

The five-member commission oversees the safety of the nation’s 62 nuclear power plants, and the chairman serves as the group’s official spokesman.

Burns replaces Allison Macfarlane, who is stepping down to take a position at George Washington University.

Burns served as the NRC’s general counsel from 2009-2012, and prior to that served in a variety of roles at the agency. He is the second general counsel to later become the agency’s chairman.

He has also served a stint as head of legal affairs for the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Nuclear Energy Agency.