DOE taps new deputy secretary appointee for Office of Nuclear Energy
The Department of Energy has appointed a new head for the No. 2 position in the agency’s Office of Nuclear Energy, Bloomberg BNA reports.
Edward McGinnis, who was head of the DOE’s international civilian nuclear energy policy, is now principal deputy assistant secretary in the nuclear office.
- The Office of Nuclear Energy’s primary mission is conducting and administering research on nuclear energy issues, including the disposition of spent fuel and nuclear waste management programs.
Nuclear waste issues could become prominent in the Trump administration.
President Donald Trump’s 2018 budget set aside $120 million for restarting the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository in Nevada that was defunded in 2010 under the Obama administration.
Reuters noted the growing emphasis on nuclear waste solutions could signal that the Trump administration is moving to extend the life of existing U.S. nuclear capacity and ramp up innovations for next-generation nuclear plants. But finding a solution for disposing nuclear waste away from onsite repositories has eluded federal regulators for three decades. And the Nevada site has never been popular with state lawmakers.
According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission published a request for comment on a collection of information about Yucca Mountain, drawing criticism from Nevada lawmakers opposing it. An NRC spokesman told the news outlet the request for comment is "routine" and does not signify a move to re-license the site.
The DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy is likely to have a bigger role in the considerations over the fate of Yucca Mountain. Energy Secretary Rick Perry pledged his support for Yucca Mountain during his January confirmation hearings, Reuters noted, saying he would work with states to come to a sort of resolution. However, the Trump administration proposed a 30% budget cut for the nuclear office for 2018.
In his previous position, McGinnis worked on international nuclear energy research, as well as multilateral nuclear energy cooperation on nuclear energy policy. His new position does not require Senate confirmation.
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