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Dr. Peter B. Lyons was confirmed as the Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy on April 14, 2011 after serving as the Acting Assistant Secretary since November 2010. Dr. Lyons was appointed to his previous role as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Office of Nuclear Energy (NE) in September 2009.
Under Dr. Lyons’ leadership, the Office has made great strides in incorporating modeling and simulation into all programs through the Nuclear Energy Advanced Modeling and Simulation program and the Energy Innovation Hub. He focused on management of used fuel by contributing to the development of the Administration’s Strategy for the Management and Disposal of Used Nuclear Fuel and High-Level Radioactive Waste. In addition, NE established the Small Modular Reactor Licensing Technical Support program for a new generation of safe, reliable, low-carbon nuclear energy technology. And he championed the Nuclear Energy University Program, which has successfully supported U.S. universities in preparing the next generation of nuclear engineering leaders.
Prior to joining DOE, Dr. Lyons was sworn in as a Commissioner of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on January 25, 2005 and served until his term ended on June 30, 2009. At the NRC, Dr. Lyons focused on the safety of operating reactors, even as new reactor licensing and possible construction emerged. He was a consistent voice for improving partnerships with international regulatory agencies. He emphasized active and forward-looking research programs to support sound regulatory decisions, address current issues and anticipate future ones. He was also a strong proponent of science and technology education.
Before becoming a Commissioner, Dr. Lyons served as Science Advisor on the staff of U.S. Senator Pete Domenici and the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources where he focused on military and civilian uses of nuclear technology from 1997 to 2005. From 1969 to 1996, Dr. Lyons worked at the Los Alamos National Laboratory where he served as Director for Industrial Partnerships, Deputy Associate Director for Energy and Environment, and Deputy Associate Director-Defense Research and Applications. While at Los Alamos, he spent over a decade supporting nuclear test diagnostics.
Dr. Lyons has published more than 100 technical papers, holds three patents related to fiber optics and plasma diagnostics, and served as chairman of the NATO Nuclear Effects Task Group for five years. He received his doctorate in nuclear astrophysics from the California Institute of Technology in 1969 and earned his undergraduate degree in physics and mathematics from the University of Arizona in 1964. Dr. Lyons is a Fellow of the American Nuclear Society, a Fellow of the American Physical Society, and was elected to 16 years on the Los Alamos School Board.
Dr. Lyons grew up in Nevada and is a resident of Washington, DC.