Sunday, September 6, 2009

The New Team at DOE/NE:

Pete Lyons to Join
DOE Office of Nuclear Energy

I am pleased to report that the Department of Energy has announced that the Honorable Peter "Pete" B. Lyons, a former Commissioner at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, is about to be named the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy. Since this is "advance" news, it has not yet been well publicized, so I think it is worth reporting. Dr. Lyons will be joining the Honorable Warren "Pete" F. Miller, Jr., who was recently appointed Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy by President Obama. The two Petes bring to the Department formidable technical backgrounds and strong records of accomplishment. This combination bodes well for the Office of Nuclear Energy in its efforts to explore and develop advanced nuclear energy technologies and to help reenergize the nuclear industry in the years ahead.

Pete Lyons holds a bachelor's degree in physics and mathematics from the University of Arizona and a doctorate in nuclear astrophysics from the California Institute of Technology. He spent most of his career at Los Alamos National Laboratory, and served as deputy associate director for both energy and environment and for defense research and applications. In 1996, he came to Washington, DC to serve on the staff of Senator Pete Domenici and on the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. He was appointed a Commissioner of the NRC on January 25, 2005 and served in this capacity until June 30, 2009. It should also be noted that Dr. Lyons held a Republican seat on the Commission.

Lyons joins Pete Miller, who was confirmed by the Senate on August 7, 2009, as Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy. This is old news to most people, but since I didn't think about covering such news when I started this blog around that time, I'll take this opportunity to summarize his credentials. Dr. Miller has a bachelor's degree from West Point and master's and doctorate degrees from Northwestern University, all in nuclear engineering. Like Pete Lyons, he has served most of his career at Los Alamos National Laboratory, and has served as an associate lab director for math and physics, as well as for energy research. In the latter positions, he has been responsible for the work of over 2000 people. He also has held appointments at two different universities at different times in his career. Dr. Miller was nominated by the President to serve simultaneously as Assistant Secretary for Radioactive Waste, but that nomination has not yet been acted on by the Senate.

Both these individuals bring a wealth of experience to their jobs on a wide range of technical issues, and both also have considerable understanding of the political environment in which nuclear power operates. Their appointments are encouraging evidence of the expressed intention of the Administration to appoint individuals who are well qualified for the positions they hold, and to reach out beyond party boundaries. I know both Pete Miller and Pete Lyons, to varying degrees, and think very highly of both of them. I look forward with great anticipation to their leadership of the Office of Nuclear Energy.

[Photos: Pete Lyons' from NRC; Pete Miller's from DOE]

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