Richard A. Meserve, Chairman
The biographies for all of the former Commissioners in this section are the official ones they used during their Commission terms.
On October 29, 1999, Dr. Richard A. Meserve was sworn in as Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The Commission is an independent Federal regulatory agency responsible for licensing and regulating nuclear facilities and nuclear materials, as mandated by the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended.
Immediately prior to becoming the NRC Chairman, Dr. Meserve was a partner in the Washington, D.C., law firm of Covington & Burling, having joined the firm in 1981. From 1977 to 1981, Dr. Meserve served as legal counsel to the President’s Science and Technology Adviser.
Holding degrees in law and physics, the new NRC Chairman has focused on a wide range of issues during his career that arise at the intersection of law and of science and technology. These include environmental law, nuclear licensing, counseling of scientific societies, and nuclear non-proliferation. He has served on a variety of committees of the National Academies of Sciences and Engineering, including service as chairman of committees that examined the safeguarding of nuclear weapons material in the former Soviet Union, that advised the Department of Energy on declassification of information, that examined environmental issues associated with the nuclear weapons complex, that assessed technical and safety issues relating to certain DOE reactors, and that examined the prospect for enhanced fuel economy in automobiles.
Dr. Meserve is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, The American Physical Society, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He serves on the Board of the Carnegie Institution of Washington and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and on the Board of Overseers for Arts and Sciences of Tufts University. He formerly served as Chairman of the Advisory Council of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory and as a member of the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board. Earlier in his career, he served as a law clerk to Justice Harry A. Blackmun of the United States Supreme Court and before that to Judge Benjamin Kaplan of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.
Dr. Meserve received a B.A. from Tufts University in 1966, a J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1975, and a Ph.D. in applied physics from Stanford University in 1976.