Pacific Gas and Electric Co. hires chief nuclear officer to oversee Diablo Canyon

Ed Halpin, Pacific Gas and Electric Co.'s new chief nuclear officer.
Ed Halpin, Pacific Gas and Electric Co.'s new chief nuclear officer.

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. will announce Wednesday that it has hired Ed Halpin as the utility’s chief nuclear officer.

He will oversee the operation of Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant and head the utility’s efforts to renew the plant’s two operating licenses. He comes from the South Texas Project, a two-reactor nuclear power plant in Bay City, Texas, where he serves as president, chief executive officer and chief nuclear officer.

Halpin is expected to start his new job in early April. He replaces John Conway, who will stay with PG&E as Halpin’s boss.

The hiring of Halpin, who will focus solely on Diablo Canyon, is one of the changes initiated by PG&E’s new president, Anthony Earley. In addition to being chief nuclear officer, Conway also has served as the head of the utility’s energy procurement, meaning his time has been split between Diablo Canyon and PG&E’s headquarters in San Francisco.

“Ed Halpin is a veteran nuclear industry operator with a proven track record of success,” Conway said.

The hiring of a full-time chief nuclear officer is in line with a trend in the industry as workloads get heavier, said Blair Jones, PG&E spokesman.

“Policy changes, new regulatory requirements, industry travel commitments, and most recently the Fukushima incident have created increased demands on all nuclear organizations,” Jones said.