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Dr. Richard A. Meserve - President Emeritus, Carnegie Institution for Science and Former Chairman of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Dr. Richard A. Meserve

Dr. Richard A. Meserve became the ninth president of the Carnegie Institution for Science in April 2003, after stepping down as Chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). The Carnegie Institution conducts basic research in biology, astronomy and geophysics.

As Chairman of the NRC, Meserve served as the principal executive officer of the federal agency with responsibility for ensuring public health and safety in the operation of nuclear power plants and in the usage of nuclear materials. He served as Chairman under both Presidents Clinton and Bush and lead the NRC in responding to the terrorism threat that came to the fore after the 9/11 attacks. Before joining the NRC, Meserve was a partner in the Washington, D.C., law firm of Covington & Burling LLP, and he now serves as Senior Of Counsel to the firm on a part-time basis. With his Harvard law degree, received in 1975, and his Ph.D. in applied physics from Stanford, awarded in 1976, he devoted his legal practice to technical issues arising at the intersection of science, law, and public policy. Early in his career, he served as legal counsel to the President’s science adviser, and was a law clerk to Justice Harry A. Blackmun of the United States Supreme Court and to Judge Benjamin Kaplan of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. He received his undergraduate degree from Tufts University in 1966.

Meserve has served on numerous legal and scientific committees over the years, including many established by the National Academies of Sciences and Engineering.  He served on the Blue-Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future established by DOE Secretary Chu at the direction of the President and currently serves as Chairman of the International Nuclear Safety Group, which is chartered by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Among other affiliations, he is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, American Philosophical Society, and Sigma Xi, and he is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Physical Society, and the Phi Beta Kappa Society.  He is a Foreign Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences. 

Meserve also serves on the Council of the National Academy of Engineering and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is on the Board of Directors of PG&E Corporation and the Universities Research Association, Inc. He is a member of the Visiting Committee to the MIT Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering.