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NRC Commissioner McGaffigan Honored with Henry DeWolf Smyth Nuclear Statesman Award

MIAMI—Edward McGaffigan Jr., the longest-serving commissioner in the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s history, was awarded the Henry DeWolf Smyth Nuclear Statesman Award here today by organizations representing the nuclear energy industry and professionals in the field of nuclear technologies. The award, announced at the Nuclear Energy Institute’s annual conference, is given in recognition of statesmanlike contributions to the many aspects of nuclear technology.

In presenting the award, Harold McFarlane, president of the American Nuclear Society, said, “Past recipients of the Henry DeWolf Smyth Award comprise a distinguished cadre of exceptionally talented individuals whose lifetime of outstanding service on behalf of the nuclear enterprise has transcended regional and international boundaries. This year’s recipient continues that honored tradition.”

Frank L. “Skip” Bowman, NEI’s president and chief executive officer, said, “Commissioner McGaffigan brings a passion and a competency to public service that is a model for others to follow. He has long been a voice of reason determined to assure public health and safety by having regulatory requirements that are rooted in sound science and engineering. Commissioner McGaffigan has worked tirelessly and has deservedly earned the respect of his colleagues and staff at the NRC, others in government, the public and executives across the industry.”

McGaffigan was appointed to the NRC by President Clinton in 1996. Clinton re-appointed him in 2000, as did President Bush in 2005. McGaffigan was awarded the NRC’s highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award, in November 2006. Prior to joining the NRC, he had a distinguished federal service career that included work as a staff member for New Mexico Sen. Jeff Bingaman, as an officer in the Foreign Service and an appointment on the National Security Council.

In videotaped acceptance remarks, McGaffigan said, “I receive this award with great humility and gratitude. I am grateful for the recognition of a career of more than 31 years of service to this nation in which nuclear energy and nonproliferation policy have been my touchstone.”

He expressed pride in what he described as “great success” achieved at the NRC.

“They were collective achievements, achievements of the Commission as a whole. Our dedication, every commissioner’s dedication, was always to public health and safety,” he said.

The award was jointly established in 1972 by ANS and NEI. The award is named for Henry DeWolf Smyth, who chaired Princeton University’s physics department. He served on the Atomic Energy Commission from 1949-54 and was appointed by President Kennedy as the U.S. representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency with the rank of ambassador until 1970. Smyth also advocated an international partnership to develop peaceful uses of nuclear energy.


The Nuclear Energy Institute is the nuclear energy industry’s policy organization. This news release and additional information about nuclear energy are available on NEI’s web site at