Four New Members Named to Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards

In late June 2016, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) announced that the agency has appointed four new members to the Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards (ACRS) for four-year terms effective June 12, 2016.

  • The ACRS—which is comprised of a group of experienced technical experts—advises the Commission, independently from the NRC staff, on safety issues related to the licensing and operation of nuclear power plants, as well as issues of health physics and radiation protection.

The new ACRS members include:

  •   Margaret Sze-Tai Chu: 
 Chu is a consultant to international and domestic clients on nuclear waste management, nuclear fuel cycle analysis, nonproliferation technologies and nuclear materials management.  She has more than 30 years of experience working on issues related to the nuclear fuel cycle, with an emphasis on risk assessment and performance assessment as applied to nuclear waste management.  Chu was Director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management from 2002 to 2005.  Before that, she had a long career with Sandia National Laboratory that included directing the lab’s Nuclear Waste Management Center and acting as Senior Manager of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) program at Sandia. 
Chu holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from Purdue University and a Doctorate in Physical Chemistry from the University of Minnesota.  She serves on the DOE Nuclear Energy Advisory Committee and the National Academies’ Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board.  Chu is the second woman to serve on the ACRS, and this marks the first time two women have served on the committee simultaneously.


  •   Walter Kirchner:  Kirchner retired in June 2015 from the Argonne National Laboratory.  While at Argonne, he served as an Institutional Liaison Manager following, analyzing, and advising Argonne’s leaders on science and technology policy and programmatic developments in the DOE, other federal agencies and Congress.  He began his career as a Reactor Operator/Engineering Officer on the N.S. Savannah before joining the staff at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL).  During his 29 years at LANL, he held division and group leader line management positions in construction project management, defense programs, nuclear reactor design and safety projects, and applied energy research and development activities.  Kirchner’s technical expertise is in nuclear reactor design, thermal-hydraulics and nuclear reactor safety.  He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Marine Engineering from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


  •   Jose March-Leuba:  March-Leuba is the Principal of MRU, which specializes on measurements, regulatory and uncertainty analysis, and an Associate Professor in the Nuclear Engineering Department of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.  He began his career at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where he did research into noise analysis and dynamic modeling, as well as running tests to determine the stability of commercial boiling water reactors.  He also developed and installed instrumentation in Russian facilities to monitor the down-blending of highly enriched uranium.  During his 37-year career as a Nuclear Engineer, March-Leuba developed expertise in reactor thermal hydraulics and dynamics, reactor instrumentation and control and protection systems, software development and testing, and instrumentation development for international safeguards.  March-Leuba has a Master of Science in Industrial Engineering from the Universidad Politécnica de Valencia in Spain, as well as an M.S. and Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.


  •   Matthew Sunseri:  Sunseri is an Independent Nuclear Industry Consultant with more than 35 years of experience in the safe operation of large commercial reactors.  Prior to starting his own executive consulting practice, he was President and Chief Executive Officer of Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Corporation.  Sunseri has a wide range of experience in the operation, maintenance, engineering, oversight and security of the nation’s commercial nuclear power fleet.  He started his career as a Nuclear Engineer assigned to the construction, licensing, startup and operation of the Comanche Peak nuclear power plant.  Sunseri earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Nuclear Engineering from Texas A&M University and is a graduate of the Advanced General Management Program at Northwestern University and the Directors Institute at Emory University.

All member biographies are available on the NRC web site at

For additional information, please contact Maureen Conley of the NRC at (301) 415-8200.