Nuclear Regulatory Commission taps its CIO and chief data officer to lead agency AI operations

David Nelson will take on chief AI officer duties after the NRC told FedScoop last month that it was analyzing and assessing how the White House executive order applies to it as an independent agency.
(Getty Images)

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has selected David Nelson, the agency’s chief data officer and chief information officer, as its chief artificial intelligence officer, a spokesperson for the agency told FedScoop.

President Joe Biden’s recent executive order on AI requires many federal agencies to name officials to the CAIO position. Several agencies, including the National Science Foundation and the Education Department, have already announced their picks.

As a regulatory agency, the NRC is exempt from CAIO requirements, but said in a statement to FedScoop last month that it is “analyzing the executive order and assessing whether and how it applies” given its independent status.

“We’re aware of the growth of AI and the need to prepare for its use in the nuclear field,” the NRC statement said. 


“For those reasons, we issued an AI Strategic Plan that outlines our need to cultivate an AI-proficient workforce, keep pace with AI technological innovations, and ensure the safe and secure use of AI in NRC-regulated activities.”

Rebecca Heilweil

Written by Rebecca Heilweil

Rebecca Heilweil is an investigative reporter for FedScoop. She writes about the intersection of government, tech policy, and emerging technologies. Previously she was a reporter at Vox's tech site, Recode. She’s also written for Slate, Wired, the Wall Street Journal, and other publications. You can reach her at Message her if you’d like to chat on Signal.

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