My Dad

Twilight Park

April 5, 2022

The above page from the Augusta Chronicle, dated August 15, 1973, indicates that my dad had been appointed to the Atomic Energy Commission's Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards. This was quite an honor for him as it recognized his expertise in the area of nuclear reactor operations having worked at the Savannah River Plant where he oversaw the operation of five reactors. If I have my dates right, he began to work at SRP in 1952.

His appointment roughly coincided with my entering a new school (St Angela Academy) in the tenth grade. I recalled that he traveled quite a bit those days with monthly weeklong meetings in Washington, DC and site visits during at least two of the other weeks in a month. So I didn't get to see him much.

I found the following information about the ACRS on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's website:

Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards

The Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards (ACRS) is statutorily mandated by the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended. The Committee has four primary purposes:

  • to review and report on safety studies and reactor facility license and license renewal applications;

  • to advise the Commission on the hazards of proposed and existing production and utilization facilities and the adequacy of proposed safety standards;

  • to initiate reviews of specific generic matters or nuclear facility safety-related items; and

  • to provide advice in the areas of health physics and radiation protection.

At the request of the Commission, the ACRS also reviews the NRC's Research Activities and provides a biannual report (NUREG-1635) to the Commission. Upon request from the Department of Energy, the ACRS reviews and provides reports on U.S. Naval reactor designs under a reimbursable agreement. Upon request, and with the Commission's consent, the ACRS is required to provide advice to the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board in accordance with Public Law 100-456.

The ACRS is independent of the NRC staff and reports directly to the Commission, which appoints its members. The operational practices of the ACRS are governed by the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA). Advisory committees are structured to provide a forum where experts representing many technical perspectives can provide independent advice that is factored into the Commission's decision-making process. Most Committee meetings are open to the public and any member of the public may request an opportunity to make an oral statement during the committee meeting.

ACRS History

The organizational history of the Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards (ACRS) began in June 1947 when the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), out of concern for reactor safety, established a blue-ribbon advisory group to evaluate technical health and safety aspects of reactor hazards. This advisory group was known as the Reactor Safeguards Committee. In late 1950, the AEC expanded its safety program by creating a second advisory group, the Industrial Committee on Reactor Location Problems, to evaluate the scientific and environmental aspects of reactor locations. In July 1953, after recognizing that the responsibilities of these two committees had become inter-related, the AEC combined them under the new name, Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards.

In 1957, the ACRS was established as a statutory committee with the passing of the Price–Anderson Bill. The bill mandated that a public hearing be held for each reactor case and that the ACRS reports be made public. Years later with the enactment of the Energy Reorganization Act of 1974, the ACRS was transferred intact from the AEC to the newly established Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). The ACRS is subject to the NRC regulations set forth in 10 CFR Part 7.

The ACRS has a history of recommending innovative and risk-based approaches to regulatory problems. A specific example of this is that the ACRS endorsed the development of an NRC quantitative safety goal policy and developed the first set of quantitative safety goals for nuclear power plants (NUREG-0739). These safety goals were the basis for the later NRC work on the development of an NRC Safety Goal Policy. The ACRS has a significant role in the review and resolution of key technical issues associated with regulation of nuclear power plants.

ACRS Committee Membership List - 1975

William Kerr - Chairman Dade W. Moeller - Vice Chairman John H. Arnold Myer Bender Spencer H. Bush Max W. Carbon Lucian W. Fox Herbert S. Isbin Stephen Lawroski David Okrent Chester P. Siess William R. Stratton Milton S. Plesset

Note: I remember meeting the gentlemen whose names I placed in italics. For the most part, I believe most if not all of the ACRS members were academics or from national labs with my dad being one of the few members with reactor operating experience.

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