CHARLOTTE, N.C.—Carnegie Institution President Richard Meserve, respected as one of the world’s most accomplished nuclear policy professionals, was honored with the U.S. nuclear energy industry’s William S. Lee Award for Leadership at the Nuclear Energy Institute’s annual conference.
“Dick is a man I’ve long admired as an international leader in nuclear safety, law and public policy who has been the recipient of the highest recognition from several organizations and governments,” said William Johnson, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Progress Energy and chairman of the Nuclear Energy Institute, upon presenting the award to Meserve. “He has dedicated his career to the betterment of society, and our industry is a beneficiary of his leadership and service as a result of his contributions over the expanse of technical, regulatory and nuclear public policy issues.”
Meserve served as chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission from 1999-2003 and then became the president of the Washington, D.C.-based Carnegie Institution for Science, an internationally recognized scientific research organization. Meserve has a law degree from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in applied physics from Stanford University. Earlier in his career he clerked for Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun and served as legal counsel to President Jimmy Carter’s science and technology advisor.
Most recently, Meserve served as a member of President Obama’s Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future, formed to conduct a comprehensive review of policies for managing used nuclear fuel. The commission issued its final report and recommendations earlier this year.
“As chairman of the NRC in the aftermath of 9/11, Dick’s steady leadership and consensus-building within the agency led to concrete nuclear plant security enhancements supported in Congress and the White House on a bipartisan basis. We were fortunate to have his leadership at the NRC in that crucial time,” said Marvin Fertel, NEI president and CEO. “Dick’s tireless contributions to the paramount issue of safety in the nuclear energy industry have been immeasurable. He’s one of the most well-respected figures in the nuclear field on any continent. He fully embodies the essence of the William Lee Award.”
The industry’s top leadership award was renamed in William S. Lee’s honor following his death in 1996. Lee, one of the nuclear industry’s most determined safety advocates, was chairman emeritus of Duke Power Co. and was the industry’s acknowledged leader. He was the first recipient of the industry’s leadership award in 1995.
“Bill Lee was a giant figure in the industry in the aftermath of the Three Mile Island accident and had a singularly important role in ensuring the safety of nuclear power,” Meserve said. “I am extraordinarily pleased to receive an award in his name and will be very honored if my legacy constitutes a small fraction of what he accomplished.”
In accepting the award, Meserve focused his remarks on those “entrant” countries that do not have nuclear energy facilities but plan to build them. These countries will confront great challenges in meeting their obligations to ensure safety and security and to satisfy safeguards requirements, he said, adding, “We all have a stake in ensuring that these countries are successful because all those involved in the nuclear industry will bear the consequences of their failure.” He urged experienced reactor vendors and plant operators “to lend these countries a hand.”