Chairman Nils J Diaz, Ph.D.
The biographies for all of the former Commissioners in this section are the official ones they used during their Commission terms.
On April 1, 2003, President George W. Bush designated Dr. Nils J. Diaz as Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The Chairman is the principal executive officer of and the official spokesman for the NRC. As principal executive officer, the Chairman is responsible for conducting the administrative, organizational, long-range planning, budgetary, and certain personnel functions of the agency. The Chairman has ultimate authority for all NRC functions pertaining to an emergency involving an NRC license.
Dr. Nils J. Diaz has been a Commissioner with the U. S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) since 1996. He was renominated for a second five-year term at the NRC by President Bush on July 25, 2001 and confirmed by the Senate on September 26, 2001. He assumed the duties and responsibilities of the position on October 4, 2001. As a member of the Commission, Dr. Diaz participates in the exercise and direction of the Commission’s licensing and regulatory functions. His duties include policy formulation and rulemaking, 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 in the civilian uses of nuclear energy and materials.
Chairman Diaz has been a strong advocate of making sound regulatory decisions and of communicating such decisions in a clear manner to the American people. He has been a strong promoter of an increased and a transparent focus on safety-significant issues and of more timely decisionmaking in such matters as power reactor license renewals, power uprates, adjudicatory proceedings, as well as new reactor licensing. He has continued to focus on the need to have streamlined and effective regulatory processes. Chairman Diaz has played a leadership role in security issues affecting NRC licensees and was instrumental in strengthening security in the post-9/11 era using realistic and practical regulatory scenarios.
Prior to his appointment, Dr. Diaz was Professor of Nuclear Engineering Sciences at the University of Florida, 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 Ballistic Missile Defense Organization/Department of Defense, 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 to 1996, Dr. Diaz consulted on nuclear engineering and energetics to private industry, the U. S. Government and several foreign governments; he also co-owned six small corporations.
Dr. Diaz holds a Ph.D. and M.S. in Nuclear Engineering Sciences from the University of Florida, and a B. S. Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Villanova, Havana. 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 national and international journals. He is a Fellow of the American Nuclear Society, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.