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Trump names nuclear chief Svinicki to a new five-year term

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has selected Kristine Svinicki, chairwoman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, to lead the panel for another five years.

Trump had previously named her to lead the five-member panel through June. Svinicki, a Republican and a nuclear engineer, has served on the commission since 2008.

Trump also nominated two other Republicans to fill out the commission: Annie Caputo, a Senate aide and former Exelon executive, and former South Carolina Public Service Commission Chairman David Wright.

All three appointments require confirmation by the Senate.

The NRC oversees the nation’s fleet of commercial nuclear power plants, as well as storage and disposal of nuclear waste and other issues related to nuclear power.

Svinicki has worked at the Energy Department and as a GOP aide to the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Trump has proposed $120 million to revive the dormant Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository in Nevada, and Svinicki’s appointment was seen by supporters as a boost to that project.

Svinicki is considered supportive of Yucca Mountain, which most Nevada lawmakers strongly oppose.

President Barack Obama had shelved the repository plan at the urging of former Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, but with Reid’s retirement project opponents lost a key ally.

Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, hailed the nominations of Svinicki, Caputo and Wright and vowed move quickly to hold a hearing on their nominations.

“The Nuclear Regulatory Commission plays an important role in making sure that American nuclear energy is safe and efficient. I am glad that President Trump intends to nominate such qualified leaders for these important positions,” Barrasso said in a statement.

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