Allison Macfarlane is chair of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Before her confirmation in June 2012, Macfarlane was an associate professor of environmental science and policy at George Mason University. From 2010 to 2012, she served on the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future, created by the Obama administration to make recommendations about a national strategy for dealing with the nation’s high-level nuclear waste. 

Matthew Wald is an energy and environment reporter for the New York Times, where he has been writing about energy topics for thirty years.