Office of the General Counsel

On this Page:

Office of the General Counsel

General Counsel: Marian Zobler

Directs matters of law and legal policy, providing opinions, advice, and assistance to the agency with respect to all of its activities; reviews draft Commission opinions on public petitions seeking direct Commission action and rulemaking proceedings; monitors adjudicatory proceedings, and reviews draft Commission adjudicatory decisions; provides interpretation of laws, regulations, and other sources of authority, and the legal form and content of proposed official actions; represents and advises staff offices in all programmatic activities and administrative litigation in connection with licensing and enforcement; prepares or concurs in all contractual documents, interagency agreements, delegations of authority, regulations, orders, licenses, and other legal documents, and prepares legal interpretations thereof; represents NRC in administrative proceedings related to such matters as personnel, procurement, and equal employment opportunity; reviews and directs intellectual property work; represents and protects the interest of the NRC in legal matters, in court proceedings, and in relation to other government agencies, administrative bodies, committees of Congress, foreign governments, and members of the public; provides legal advice to the Commission (including staff), and represents the Commission in courts of appeals proceedings to review Commission orders and rules; and, in cooperation with the Department of Justice, represents the Commission in court proceedings affecting the agency's programs in the Federal district courts and the Supreme Court.


Andrew Averbach

Assists the General Counsel in all aspects in the role as chief legal officer of and legal advisor to the NRC with primary responsibility in matters involving the supervision of litigation in courts of law; and represents the NRC in Court of Appeals litigation and in conjunction with the Department of Justice in other Federal courts. Provides counsel to NRC employees called to testify concerning official duties in cases in which NRC is not a party. Advises the Commission on litigative risk of proposed actions.

Deputy General Counsel for Licensing, Hearings, and Enforcement

Deputy General Counsel: Brooke Poole Clark

Advises the General Counsel, the Commission and the Commission staff on all aspects of reactor licensing and regulation (including license transfers, license renewal and design certification), materials licensing litigation and enforcement and regulatory oversight of reactor and materials licensees. Serves as the OGC representative on the Human Capital Council. Serves as principal legal advisor to the Commission's staff on licensing and enforcement adjudication before the Commission on the conduct of adjudicatory hearings, and the implementation of the Commission's enforcement program. In carrying out these responsibilities, provides advice on the implementation of the Atomic energy Act of 1954, as amended, the energy reorganization Act, the Energy Policy Act of 1992, the National Environmental Policy Act, and other environmental laws. Assists the General Counsel in providing legal advice to the Commission and the staff on interagency and international agreements, procurement, intellectual property, security, personnel, and administrative functions.

Program Support Branch

Chief: Cynthia Dekle

Provides to the General Counsel program analysis and direction of program support activities. Responsible for program development and evaluation in the areas of resource utilization, personnel management, and organizational planning and analysis. Provides office services, including human resources, recruitment, training, information technology, equipment, space, correspondence control, mail and records control, and maintains Legal Research Center and legislative reference service functions.

Assistant General Counsel for Reactor Programs

Assistant General Counsel: Susan Vrahoretis

This division will handle the licensing and hearing work of the current Divisions of Operating Reactors and New Reactor Programs. Subject areas of the new division will include operating reactor licensing, new reactor licensing, advanced reactor licensing, operator licensing, reactor license transfers, reactor decommissioning, and research and test reactor licensing.

Assistant General Counsel for Materials, Fuel Cycle and Waste Programs

Assistant General Counsel: Tison Campbell

This division will handle licensing and related hearing work for materials, fuel cycle, spent fuel storage and disposal; fuel packaging and transportation; and low- and high-level waste storage and disposal. This work currently is performed by the Division of High-Level Waste, Fuel Cycle, and Security; the Division of Materials Litigation and Enforcement; and the Division of Reactors and Materials Rulemaking. Subject areas of the new division will include materials licensing, transfers, and decommissioning; fuel cycle licensing; accident tolerant fuel issues; the medical use of radioactive materials; materials license transfers; and spent fuel and waste issues.

Assistant General Counsel for Security and Enforcement

Assistant General Counsel: Patrick Moulding

This division will advise, represent, and assist the NRC staff with respect to all reactor and materials enforcement matters; this work is currently housed in the Division of Materials Litigation and Enforcement. The division will assume the security work that is currently performed by the Division of High-Level Waste, Fuel Cycle, and Security and the Division of Materials Litigation and Enforcement. The legal sufficiency function, which includes the provision of advice to the Office of Small Business and Civil Rights on certain equal employment opportunity matters, will be housed in this division.

Deputy General Counsel for Legislation, Rulemaking, and Agency Administration

Deputy General Counsel: Bernice Ammon

Advises the General Counsel and Commission in all aspects of domestic licensing and regulation, with particular emphasis on adjudication, legislation, rulemaking, and fuel cycle matters. Provides advice on employee conduct and administrative law issues, as well as on the implementation of atomic energy and environmental law. Provides legal advice and recommendations regarding high- and low-level radioactive waste disposal, spent fuel storage and transportation issues, including issues arising under the Atomic Energy Act, the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Policy Amendment Act and the Nuclear Waste Policy Act; assists NRC staff in drafting rules and policies relating to waste management and disposal, in assuring safe and environmentally sound waste management and disposal, and in assuring safe and environmentally sound spent fuel storage under 10 C.F.R. Part 72. Advises the General Counsel on the use of techniques to enhance the participation of citizens groups and industry associations in the development of Commission rulemakings and policies; identifies areas in which enhanced participation by citizens groups and industry associations may be needed and useful; and supervises the design and implementation of participatory techniques in the development of specific rulemakings and policies. Serve as OGC's Executive on Federal Employees Pay Capability Act (FEPCA), the Strategic Workforce Oversight and Utilization Panel (SWOUP), and CXO Board (CXOB); and the overall OGC Budget.

Assistant General Counsel for Labor, Employment, and Contract Law

Assistant General Counsel: Catherine Scott

This division will retain the current Division of Administration’s practice areas, which cover legal matters relating to the operation and administration of the agency (as opposed to its regulatory functions). The division’s practice continues to cover a broad spectrum of activities, including: hiring and discipline of employees, employee pay and benefits, labor and union matters, equal employment opportunity issues, tort and employee claims, contracts, grants, and interagency agreements, security clearance, building and property management, and fiscal matters (e.g., Anti-Deficiency Act and budget matters). Following the realignment, the role of advising the agency on international arrangements and project agreements would move to the Division of Legislation, Ethics, and Administrative Law.

Assistant General Counsel for Legislation, Ethics, and Administrative Law

Assistant General Counsel: Carrie Safford

This division will retain many of the current Division of Legal Counsel, Legislation, and Special Projects’ practice areas, which cover matters in Congress and the courts, and advises the agency on fundamental administrative law matters. The division advises the Commission and the Secretary on the responsibilities of the Commission and internal Commission governance; drafting and interpreting legislation and supporting the agency in its dealings with Congress; and administers the agency’s ethics program. The division supports the Commission in nonappellate adjudicatory matters and the Solicitor in federal court litigation. Other practice areas include: nuclear exports and imports and non-proliferation matters; information law; intellectual property issues; the Price-Anderson Act; and international nuclear treaties, conventions, and AEA Section 123 agreements. Following the realignment, the role of advising the agency on international arrangements and project agreements would move to this division, as would bankruptcy issues. In addition, the role of advising the Office of the Chief Financial Officer on the annual fee rule, fee disputes, and fee waivers would move to the Division of Rulemaking, Agreement States, and Fee Policy.

Assistant General Counsel for Rulemaking, Agreement States, and Fee Policy

Assistant General Counsel: Mary Spencer

This division will centralize OGC’s rulemaking workload into a single center of expertise. The division will advise and assist the Commission and staff with respect to the promulgation and amendment of NRC regulations and guidance issued in conjunction with new or amended rules and policy statements pertinent to the licensing, construction, and operation of nuclear facilities (including nuclear power plants and fuel facilities) and nuclear materials. The division will retain the reactor and materials rulemaking work handled by the current Division of Reactors and Materials Rulemaking and will take on the rulemaking work currently handled by the Division of High-Level Waste, Fuel Cycle, and Security. The division will advise on backfitting and issue finality and maintain the Backfitting Community of Practice. The division will advise on Agreement State and Tribal matters. Finally, the division will advise the Office of the Chief Financial Officer on the annual fee rule, fee disputes, and fee waivers.

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Wednesday, November 17, 2021