Nuclear, Reactors

Dr. Nils J. Diaz named chairman of the NRC

April 2, 2003 — President George Bush has designated Dr. Nils J. Diaz as Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

He succeeds Dr. Richard A. Meserve who left office March 31.

Dr. Diaz is in his second five-year term as an NRC Commissioner, having begun his first term on August 23, 1996. His current term runs until June 30, 2006.

In addition to the administrative responsibilities of the Chair, as a member of the Commission Dr. Diaz participates in the exercise and direction of the NRC’s licensing and regulatory functions. His duties include policy formulation and rule-making, as well as issuing regulations, related orders, and guidance for protection of the public health and safety, the common defense and security, and the environment.

NEI lauds choice

Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) senior vice president and chief nuclear officer Marvin S. Fertel commented that the Diaz was an excellent choice for the position. “Nils Diaz brings a wealth of expertise as well as technical and management capability as chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission,” Fertel said.

“He has extensive experience in many facets of the nuclear technologies, including serving as an engineer, working with space applications of nuclear technology and as a professor at the University of Florida. This experience will serve him well given the broad and expanding use of nuclear technologies in our society.”

Dr. Diaz is Professor-Emeritus of Nuclear Engineering Sciences at the University of Florida. Prior to joining the NRC, in addition to his academic duties at the University, he was Director of the Innovative Nuclear Space Power Institute (INSPI)-a national consortium of industries, universities and national laboratories-and President and Principal Engineer of Florida Nuclear Associates, Inc.

Dr. Diaz’ career includes 11 years as Director of INSPI for the Defense Department’s Ballistic Missile Defense Organization, two years in California as Associate Dean for Research at the California State University Long Beach, one year in Spain as Principal Advisor to Spain’s Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and six years at nuclear utilities and vendors. From 1971-1996, Dr. Diaz consulted on nuclear engineering and energetics to private industry, the U.S. Government and several foreign governments.

Dr. Diaz holds a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Villanova, Havana, an M.S. in Nuclear Engineering and a Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering Sciences from the University of Florida. He has received formal training and practice in Nuclear Medicine and Health Physics and was licensed as a Senior Reactor Operator for 12 years by the NRC.

He has published more than 70 refereed papers on reactor kinetics and safety, instrumentation and control, imaging and non-destructive examination, advanced reactor concepts, nuclear space power and propulsion, and nuclear fuels. He is a Fellow of the American Nuclear Society, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.