United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Rebecca F. Smith-Kevern

As the Director for Light Water Reactor Technologies, Ms. Smith-Kevern leads the Small Modular Reactor (SMR) Licensing Technical Support program, which aims to accelerate the commercialization and deployment of SMR designs through cost-shared arrangements with industry. She also manages the Light Water Reactor Sustainability Program, a research and development program focused on developing the technical and economic basis for enabling the existing reactor fleet to operate beyond 60 years.  In 2011, she established the Nuclear Energy Enabling Technologies Program, which includes research on transformative nuclear energy solutions and cross-cutting technology development encompassing the development of advanced fuels and reactor materials, research on innovative nuclear manufacturing techniques and new sensor technologies for monitoring material and equipment conditions in existing reactors, and approaches to reducing proliferation risk.  For the prior five years, she led the Nuclear Power 2010 Program, a cost-shared program with industry that developed the combined license for Vogtle and first-of-a-kind designs for two advanced reactors including the AP1000. 

In the spring of 2009 Ms. Smith-Kevern served as the acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Power Deployment.  Her responsibilities comprised light water and advanced gas reactor research and development, land-lord functions at the Idaho National Laboratory, and space reactor power system development.  From 2006-2007, while serving in her position of record, Ms. Smith-Kevern also served as the Acting Director for Gas Reactor Deployment, managing the Generation IV, Next Generation Nuclear Plant, and Nuclear Hydrogen Initiative Programs,  Just prior to these assignments, Ms. Smith-Kevern was the Executive Officer for the Office of Nuclear Operations.  In that position she successfully transitioned the Idaho Operations Office to Office of Nuclear Energy Science and Technology (NE) from the Office of Environmental Management. 

Prior to joining NE, Ms. Smith-Kevern served in the Office of Environment, Safety and Health (EH) for over ten years (1990-2001).  She was the Acting Director of the Office of Worker Advocacy, where she assisted qualified current and former employees of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) contractors obtain benefits through state workers' compensation programs and through the U.S. Department of Labor.  She previously served as Senior Policy Advisor to the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Worker Health and Safety.  She led the Policy Integration Team for the EH Recycled Uranium Legacy Issues Team.  Other accomplishments include a principal role in the development of the "Guidance for the Protection of Workers at Leased Facilities," which required her to resolve conflicting policy positions and technical issues among program offices, the General Counsel, and field elements.

Before joining DOE, Ms. Smith-Kevern worked in the commercial nuclear industry as the Manager of Industry Programs for the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  In this capacity, she served as TVA's technical point-of-contact with the Electric Power Research Institute and the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations.  Other positions with TVA included Staff Assistant to the Vice President for Nuclear Power and Nuclear Licensing Engineer, where she earned the Bronze Honor Award.  Her early professional experience included positions as a technical support contractor to DOE's High-Level Waste Repository Program and as a nuclear licensing engineer for Bechtel Corporation at both the damaged Three Mile Island (TMI) Unit 2 reactor and Bechtel's Gaithersburg, Maryland, office.  While at TMI, Ms. Smith-Kevern was the principal author and project manager for the alternate neutron poison study, a key prerequisite to the safe defueling of the damaged TMI reactor core.

Ms. Smith-Kevern holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Nuclear Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; she also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in German Language and Literature from Rensselaer.  While earning her degrees, Ms. Smith-Kevern was a Cooperative Education Fellow with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.  She successfully completed the course work for Shift Technical Advisor for TVA’s Sequoyah Nuclear Generating Station in 1989.  Ms. Smith-Kevern is a 2004 graduate of the Department's Senior Executive Service Candidate Development Program and completed the course work for Level 1 Project Management certification in 2005.

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Friday, May 23, 2014