NRC was established by the Energy Reorganization Act of 1974. Section
201 of that Act specifies that the Commission shall be composed of five
members, each of whom shall be a United States citizen. The President
designates one of the Commissioners as Chairman to serve in that
position at the pleasure of the President. No more than three
Commissioners can be members of the same political party. The law
establishes a structure where the Commissioners serve staggered terms,
with the term of one Commissioner expiring each year on June 30th.
the U.S. Constitution, the appointment process begins when the
President selects an individual to serve as a member of the Commission
and submits the nomination to the United States Senate for its advice
and consent. After the Senate receives the President’s nomination, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (the NRC’s Senate oversight committee) holds confirmation hearings and
votes on whether to send the nomination to the full Senate for its
consideration. Then a majority of the Senate must vote to confirm the
nominee. The confirmation hearing for Dr. Macfarlane and Commissioner
Svinicki was held on June 13th. The Senate Environment and Public Works
Committee approved the nominations last Thursday.
the Senate has approved a nominee, the President must sign the
appointment commission and only then can a Commissioner be sworn into
office. At that point, the Commissioner will begin NRC service. Section
201 of the Energy Reorganization Act provides that Commissioners must
not engage in any outside business, vocation, or employment, so they
must terminate any outside work before joining the Commission.