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Project on Government Oversight




Timeline of Former Commissioner Jeffrey Merrifield’s NRC Employment and Post-Employment

September 3, 2009 


1998 - 2009


October 23, 1998 – Merrifield begins term at NRC


November 2006 – NRC Chair taps Merrifield to lead Combined License Review Task Force


March 1, 2007 Westinghouse/Shaw Consortium completes framework agreement that includes early funding with China’s State Nuclear Power Technology Company to build four AP1000 nuclear power plants in China


April 17, 2007 – With a 4-1 vote, the NRC approved the final rule on “Limited Work Authorizations,” which one power plant lobbying firm says responds “favorably to industry comments” and “eliminates a major impediment” for new power plant construction. In addition to voting in support of the rule, Merrifield had championed the rule to ease environmental and oversight restrictions for construction activities at nuclear power plants. Few companies stood to benefit more from this “Limited Work Authorizations” rule than the Shaw Group.


April 18, 2007 – Task Force published the “Report of the Combined License Review Task Force,” which was distributed to the Commissioners for review


May 23, 2007 – Merrifield signs, on behalf of the NRC, the Memorandum of Cooperation on Nuclear Safety for the Westinghouse Advanced Pressurized Reactor (AP1000) with the National Nuclear Safety Administration of the People’s Republic of China. Shaw has a 20% ownership position in Westinghouse


June 8, 2007 – Merrifield accepted an offer to serve as Senior Vice President of Shaw Power Group


June 14, 2007 – Merrifield visits with General Electric in Albany, New York, regarding job search. General Electric picks up the ~$800 travel tab.


June 21, 2007 – Merrifield prepares his final SF 278 Executive Branch Personnel Public Financial Disclosure reports


June 22, 2007 – NRC approves the recommendations of the Combined License Review Task Force. Merrifield recuses himself from vote.  


June 26-30, 2007 – Merrifield and family accept visit to the Shaw Group in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Shaw picks up the $2,915.87 tab.


June 30, 2007 – Merrifield’s term officially expires and he is not reappointed


July 3, 2007 – Merrifield signs SF 278 forms, without including job search trips


July 11, 2007 – Shaw Group Inc. announced that Merrifield would assume the position of Vice President of its Power Group


July 24, 2007 – The Shaw Group, along with Westinghouse Electric Company, signed multi-billion-dollar contracts to build four AP1000 nuclear power plants in China


August 20, 2007 – Merrifield begins position of Senior Vice President of Shaw Power Group


September 14, 2007 – POGO writes NRC Chairman Klein with concerns about Merrifield’s transition from the government to go work for the Shaw Group, given his central involvement with a recent decision that benefitted the Shaw Group 


January 23, 2008 – Shaw Group announces its new office in Shanghai, China, “to support the rapidly growing Chinese nuclear power marketplace.”


April 28, 2009 – Shaw Group announces that it has signed a strategic cooperation agreement with China’s State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation


May 29, 2009 – POGO submits a FOIA to the NRC for documents related to investigations into Merrifield’s post-employment actions and negotiations


June 10, 2009 – NRC IG denies POGO’s FOIA on the grounds that release of documents would interfere with an enforcement proceeding. POGO contacted NRC’s enforcement division, and multiple sources said there were no enforcement actions being considered


July 8, 2009 – POGO appeals NRC’s denial of its May 29, 2009, FOIA but was again turned down


August 7, 2009 – POGO requests Merrifield’s SF 278 Executive Branch Personnel Public Financial Disclosure Reports from the NRC


August 24, 2009 – Merrifield sends two amended schedules to the SF 278 form he signed on July 3, 2007, that outline a trip he took to the Shaw Group and to General Electric


September 1, 2009 – NRC IG plans to conclude an investigation into Merrifield  

Founded in 1981, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is a nonpartisan independent watchdog that champions good government reforms. POGO's investigations into corruption, misconduct, and conflicts of interest achieve a more effective, accountable, open, and ethical federal government.

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