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Posted on October 30, 2017

PG&E Appoints New Chief Nuclear Officer and New Vice President for Power Generation

PG&E today (Oct. 30) announced that it has named James Welsch, currently vice president, nuclear generation, as the company’s new chief nuclear officer (CNO), and has appointed Jon Franke as its vice president, power generation, both effective November 1.

James Welsch, currently vice president, nuclear generation, has been appointed PG&E’s new chief nuclear officer.

As vice president, nuclear generation and chief nuclear officer, Welsch will continue to be responsible for the continued safe, efficient, and reliable operations of Diablo Canyon Power Plant (DCPP), which is located in Avila Beach. He will also serve as the PG&E’s lead contact with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO), and oversee the company’s rigorous focus on nuclear safety. He will report to Nick Stavropoulos, president and chief operating officer of PG&E.

Franke, who currently serves as vice president, generation technical services, will now lead PG&E’s power generation organization as vice president, power generation, with responsibility for the continued safe and reliable operation of the company’s natural gas, hydroelectric and renewable power plant fleet. In addition, he will continue to lead the company’s functions related to power plant decommissioning. Franke will also report to Stavropoulos.

“Jim and Jon are both experienced leaders with proven track records of success. I am confident that their skills and wealth of experiences will continue to serve us well in our mission to generate safe, clean, affordable and reliable power for our customers,” said Stavropoulos.

Welsch joined PG&E in 1984, and has served in various leadership and staff positions at DCPP, including vice president of nuclear generation, station director, operations services director, operations manager, operations shift manager, control room supervisor and shift engineer.

Jon Franke was named vice president, power generation.


He holds a bachelor of science degree in nuclear technology from Regents College New York and served in the U.S. Navy’s Nuclear Submarine Service from 1973 to 1979. He is a graduate of the INPO Senior Nuclear Plant Management Course and Hudson Institute of Coaching Certification Program. He received his NRC Senior Reactor Operator License in 2000.

Franke joined PG&E in January 2017, bringing with him more than 30 years of nuclear and energy industry experience obtained while working in positions of increasing levels of responsibility in the U.S. Navy, and at Carolina Power and Light, Progress Energy, Duke Energy, PPL Corporation and Talen Energy. As an officer in the U.S. Navy, Franke served in several nuclear power and fleet assignments, and retired with the rank of Lieutenant Commander.

He is a 1985 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and holds a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering. He also holds a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Maryland, and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

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