The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has named Cynthia D. Pederson, a 30-year veteran of the agency, as the new administrator of its Region III office in Lisle, Ill.
Pederson officially assumed her new position on Aug. 12, succeeding Charles Casto upon his retirement. Pederson is the agency’s first woman regional administrator.
As regional administrator, Pederson will oversee a staff of about 225 employees. Region III is responsible for regulating 15 commercial nuclear power plants and more than 1,200 materials licensees in seven Midwestern states.
“Cynthia D. Pederson is exceptionally well qualified to lead Region III in carrying out our mission of protecting people and the environment,” said Bill Borchardt, the NRC’s executive director for operations.
“She has held a diverse range of positions with increasing responsibility and continues to successfully meet the challenges before her. Her tenure in Region III will mean a seamless transition and continuation of our strong oversight activities in the Midwest.”
Pederson joined the NRC in 1983 as a resident inspector at the Dresden nuclear plant in Morris, Ill., and two years later became the resident inspector at the Palisades nuclear plant in Covert, Mich. In these positions she carried out the agency’s safety mission through hands-on inspections and daily oversight of both boiling water and pressurized water reactors.
Since then, she has held a number of increasingly responsible positions in Region III. In 1989, she was promoted to the position of chief of the Technical Support Staff in the Division of Reactor Projects, where she managed reactor inspection, planning, and assessment programs. She served as branch chief of the Reactor Support Programs in the Division of Radiation Safety and Safeguards and later as director of the Enforcement and Investigation Coordination Staff, where she was in charge of determining the proper level of regulatory response to violations of NRC regulations.
In 1994, Pederson was promoted to a senior executive service position as deputy director of the Division of Reactor Safety. Since then, she has led the region’s major technical Divisions of Reactor Safety, Reactor Projects, and Nuclear Materials Safety, making sure the agency’s mission was supported through inspection and oversight of operating nuclear power plant, plants undergoing decommissioning, nuclear materials licensees and research reactors.
In 2009, Pederson was named the deputy regional administrator for the Region III office. Using her broad experience in all areas of regional operations, she provided strong leadership against the background of highly challenging issues with high levels of public, congressional and media interest facing the region.
Pederson received a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Minnesota. She is a recipient of the Presidential Meritorious Rank Award, which honors high-performing senior government employees for sustained extraordinary accomplishment.
Throughout her career she has worked to support awareness of the importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics in education. In this new position she plans to continue to foster interest and encourage students in these fields.