STATEMENT OF SENATOR JOHN H. CHAFEE
COMMITTEE ON ENVIRONMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS
HEARING ON THE NOMINATIONS OF MR. JEFFREY S. MERRIFIELD, AND MS. GRETA JOY DICUS
OCTOBER 1, 1998

Good morning. The purpose of today's hearing is to consider two nominations to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The first nomination is that of Mr. Jeffrey S. Merrifield, to be appointed as an NRC Commissioner. The second nomination is that of Ms. Greta Joy Dicus, to be reappointed as an NRC Commissioner.

I am delighted to welcome everyone, especially our two nominees, Mr. Merrifield and Ms. Dicus. I also welcome Senator Smith, the Chairman of our Superfund Subcommittee, who will introduce Mr. Merrifield, and Senator Bumpers, who will introduce Ms. Dicus.

It is my pleasure to report that both nominees have impressive backgrounds and are highly qualified for the positions before them. The President has nominated Ms. Greta Joy Dicus for reappointment as a Commissioner of the NRC, a position she held from February 1996 to June 1998, when the term expired. Ms. Dicus, pending her reappointment to the NRC, currently is an Outside Expert at the Defense Nuclear Facility Safety Board. From 1994 to 1995, she served as a Member of the Board of Directors of the U.S. Enrichment Corporation. From 1980 to 1994, Ms. Dicus worked in progressively responsible positions in the Division of Radiation Control and Emergency Management at the Arkansas Department of Health, serving as the Chief of Licensing from 1982 to 1984, and as the Director of the Division from 1985 to 1993.

Ms. Dicus received a B.A. in Biological Sciences from Texas Women's University in 1961 and a Master's degree in Radiation Biology from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in 1967.

The President has nominated Mr. Jeffrey Merrifield to serve as a Commissioner of the NRC. Mr. Merrifield currently serves as Counsel to the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Superfund, Waste Control, and Risk Assessment, a position he has held since 1995. Serving in this position, Mr. Merrifield has worked diligently on Superfund reform for the past three and a half years. He also worked on the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and the Toxic Substance Control Act.

Prior to his current position, Mr. Merrifield served from 1992 to 1995 as an Associate in the law firm of McKenna and Cuneo. Before his private sector service, he served as a Legislative Assistant to Senator Robert C. Smith, drafting legislation, testimony, and statements on energy, transportation, and environment issues. Before joining Senator Smith's Office, Mr. Merrifield worked as a Legislative Assistant to former Senator Gordon J. Humphrey.

Mr. Merrifield received his B.A., magna cum laude, in Political Science and History from Tufts University. He also holds a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center. Mr. Merrifield is accompanied by his wife, Diana, and his oldest son, Graham.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is a bipartisan, independent regulatory commission responsible for ensuring adequate protection of the environment, public health and safety, and common defense and security, with respect to the use of nuclear materials for civilian purposes in the U.S.

The position of NRC Commissioner offers challenges which I believe that Mr. Merrifield and Ms. Dicus are prepared to face. I look forward to hearing today's nominees describe their backgrounds and what they hope to accomplish, if confirmed.

After we hear the statements of Senator Baucus and other Committee members, we will hear from Senators Bumpers and Smith, followed by Ms. Dicus and Mr. Merrifield.