For 26 years, at the close of each NRC Regulatory Information Conference (RIC), I have blocked my calendar for the following year’s RIC. The RIC (click here for this week’s agenda) has proven to be the most important and most interesting U.S. nuclear conference on the annual calendar and always worth the time invested. Participants learn from all the viewpoints presented. It is refreshing to see the deep technical commitment to safety expressed by all participants regardless of where they stand on any regulatory issue.
Beginning tomorrow morning, the 27th edition of the RIC will bring to together all four NRC Commissioners and over 2,000 attendees in a professional yet convivial atmosphere to openly discuss civilian nuclear regulatory issues in both the formal sessions and informal hallway discussions.
The highlight of the conference is always the commissioners’ addresses. Each commissioner provides personal insights on a topic of current, vital interest. But, it’s not all business, as a tradition has grown that seems to require each commissioner to attempt to outdo his or her colleagues in relating humorous anecdotes. Aside from the lawyer-engineer barbs that get tossed around, Commissioner Ostendorff’s sea stories are not only terrific to hear, he always ties them back to an important learning point for the audience. Speaking at the RIC for the first time as Commissioners are the new Chairman, Steve Burns, and the new commissioner Jeff Baran. Chairman Burns brings the experience of a distinguished career as an attorney both within the NRC and internationally; including three years as the agency’s general counsel. No one knows the NRC better than Chairman Burns.
Commissioner Baran, a highly respected attorney, came to the commission following eleven years in staff positions the U.S. House of Representatives including Staff Director for Energy and Environment for the Democratic staff of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. His political insights are a key addition to the collective knowledge the commission brings to its deliberations.
The RIC chairmanship always falls to the NRC Director of Nuclear Reactor Regulation. This year, we are eager to hear from Bill Dean, newly appointed to the position from being Region 1 Administrator. Bill’s reputation is that of a strong, fair regulator and a straight shooter.
The RIC never disappoints. Don’t miss it.
Editor’s Note: The NRC will be live streaming this year’s RIC beginning tomorrow (Tuesday) morning at 8:30 a.m. The link for the stream will go live at NRC’s Video Portal. If you don’t want to watch the live stream online, you can follow events at the RIC in real time on Twitter where the NRC has created a special handle just for the conference: @NRCgov_RIC.