Nuclear commissioner to leave in June

Nuclear commissioner to leave in June
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William Ostendorff will not seek another term in the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) after his term ends June 30, he announced Wednesday.

After six years in the five-member body that oversees the safety of the country’s nuclear power plants, Ostendorff has elected to return to the United States Naval Academy to teach, said Eliot Brenner, a spokesman for the agency.

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Ostendorff, a Republican, has served at the NRC through numerous challenges to the agency, including its response to 2011’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan and a very public leadership scuffle at the agency later that year.

His departure, first reported by Politico, will leave the NRC with three members, two short of its intended staffing.

Ostendorff is one of two remaining commissioners from the time of the Fukushima disaster, and has taken a leading role in defending the NRC’s immediate and long-term response to it.

“We made a conscious decision by a unanimous commission vote, five to zero, to not require any U.S. nuclear power plant to shut down because of safety concerns,” Ostendorff told senators last year about the Fukushima response. “We did not have those safety concerns.”

At a Wednesday conference on nuclear energy, he said, “I feel very comfortable leaving the commission at the end of June with where we are on Fukushima,” according to Platts.

Ostendorff is a former naval officer who commanded an attack submarine and later taught and led the math and science division at the Naval Academy.