Note: This story was updated at 5:40 p.m.
Jeff Smith, deputy lab director for operations at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, has been confirmed to the Tennessee Valley Authority Board of Directors.
The confirmations—there were a total of four to the TVA Board, including Smith—were announced by U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander in a press release Friday.
Alexander, a Tennessee Republican, has said that Smith is an “outstanding choice” to serve on the board of the nation’s largest public utility.
Alexander introduced Smith at his confirmation hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works in November, the press release said. Alexander said that Smith will make an excellent TVA board member because of his “expertise in nuclear energy, his background in management of a large facility, and his understanding of large construction projects.”
President Donald Trump announced Smith’s nomination in September.
Alexander and Senator Bob Corker, also a Tennessee Republican, recommended Smith because of his background in nuclear energy, the press release said. Oak Ridge National Laboratory employs nearly 5,000 people and has a budget of $1.4 billion. Smith, who is a resident of East Tennessee, will bring his experience to the nation’s largest public utility, which has an annual budget of more than $10 billion and employs more than 10,000 people, the press release said.
Kenneth E. Allen of Kentucky, James R. Thompson III of Alabama, and A.D. Frazier of Georgia were also confirmed to serve on the TVA Board.
“I’m glad the Senate confirmed these nominations so the new board members can get to work at the nation’s largest public utility,” Alexander said in the press release.“Each of these nominees understands that TVA must continue to provide cheap, clean, reliable electricity for homes and businesses throughout the seven-state Tennessee Valley region. I appreciate the president selecting such well-qualified nominees, and I look forward to working with them in the coming years.”
In his own press release, Corker said he introduced Smith last month at a Senate Clean Air and Nuclear Safety Subcommittee hearing on the nomination by saying: “I am confident that Jeff understands the needs of the Tennessee Valley and believe he will bring valuable experience to the TVA Board.”
Corker added: “With over 9 million customers, TVA is the largest public power utility in the nation, and it is critical for the Tennessee Valley that it remains a low-cost, reliable producer of electricity, not only for ratepayers but also for our state’s business recruitment efforts. The diverse backgrounds of these nominees give them the necessary qualifications to support TVA’s important mission, and I am pleased the Senate has acted swiftly to confirm them.”
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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