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ODU Professor Appointed by President Obama to Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board

Steven M. Becker, professor of community and environmental health at Old Dominion University, has been appointed to the U.S. Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board (NWTRB) by President Barack Obama.

An independent agency of the federal government, the NWTRB provides independent scientific and technical oversight of the Department of Energy's program for managing and disposing of high-level radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel.

Individuals are nominated to the board by the National Academy of Sciences and chosen by the president. They must be eminent in a field of science or engineering, including environmental sciences, and are selected solely on the basis of established records of distinguished service.

"This appointment and Dr. Becker's distinguished accomplishments are a testament to the quality of the College of Health Sciences' graduate programs, including the master's in environmental health sciences and the joint master's in public health," noted Dean Shelley Mishoe. "We are fortunate to have an expert of Dr. Becker's caliber on our team and are enthusiastic about the future collaborations his expertise provides to our programs and the newly created Center for Global Health."

Becker joined the College of Health Sciences earlier this year. Previously, he was a professor of environmental health sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham's School of Public Health. For the last 11 years, he has also been an invited faculty member for the Harvard School of Public Health's course on radiological emergency planning.

Becker is a leading expert on emergency planning, disaster preparedness and response, and crisis and emergency risk communication. In 2011, he was a member of a three-person assistance team invited to Japan in response to the earthquake-tsunami disaster and the accident at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant. Becker has served as a member of the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements since 2005, and has received awards from such organizations as the Health Physics Society and Oak Ridge Associated Universities.

He holds a B.A. from George Washington University, an M.A. from Columbia University and a Ph.D. from Bryn Mawr College. He was also a Kreitman Scholar and postdoctoral fellow at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel, and a Visiting Fellow at the Japan Emergency Medicine Foundation and National Hospital Tokyo Disaster Medical Center.