Pete Sena to succeed Stephen Kuczynski as chairman and CEO of Southern Nuclear

Staff Report From Georgia CEO

Tuesday, May 14th, 2024

Southern Company today announced that Peter (Pete) P Sena III, president of Southern Nuclear, has been elected by the Southern Nuclear Board of Directors to succeed Stephen Kuczynski as chairman and CEO of Southern Nuclear following Kuczynski's retirement, effective June 28, 2024.

After joining Southern Nuclear in 2011, Kuczynski led the existing operating fleet to top industry performance and brought online the first newly constructed nuclear power units in the U.S. in more than 30 years.

"For more than a decade, Stephen has led Southern Nuclear and the entire industry in the pursuit of nuclear innovation, overseeing the premier performance of our nuclear power plants while ensuring Vogtle Units 3&4 were constructed safely and brought online," said Chris Womack, chairman, president and CEO of Southern Company. "It's no secret that Stephen led our company through a number of challenges, but he never wavered; understanding the importance of the Vogtle expansion project, which is now delivering clean energy to Georgia homes and businesses."

"It has been the privilege of my career to work alongside the leaders of Southern Company, the greater nuclear industry, and the nuclear professionals at Southern Nuclear to demonstrate the viability and importance of nuclear power. We've proven to this country and our communities that the deployment of new nuclear is achievable," said Kuczynski.

When Sena assumes the additional roles of chairman and CEO, he will oversee the operation of over 8,400 MW of nuclear power across Plant Farley in Alabama, and both Plants Hatch and Vogtle Units 1-4 in Georgia.

"Pete is the leader who will carry both our company and the nuclear industry forward," Womack added. "Pete has had a transformative impact on the company since joining our team five years ago; and his decades of proven experience, comprehensive knowledge, and depth of relationships will help ensure we provide customers with clean, safe, reliable and affordable nuclear generation for decades to come."

"Pete is well respected for his expertise, passion, and understanding of people," added Kuczynski. "He understands the importance of innovation, standards, and technology as the engines of American greatness and will work tirelessly to help ensure Southern Nuclear's continued leadership in the industry."

"The people at Southern Nuclear have built a legacy running our plants safely and reliably, working day-in and day-out to serve our communities with 24/7 carbon-free power," said Sena. "It's been a privilege to be a part of that journey, and as we navigate this exciting time for our country, I look forward to building upon that legacy with the incredible teams across our company."

Sena was appointed president in 2023 after joining the company in July 2019 as executive vice president and chief nuclear officer (CNO). Before joining Southern Nuclear, he held a number of leadership positions at First Energy and later PSEG, including serving as CNO for both companies. Under his tenure, these nuclear fleets achieved consistent top quartile performance as rated among nuclear utilities.     

Sena's diverse industry experience began in the U.S. Navy, where he served as an officer in the U.S. Naval Nuclear Propulsion program, serving on both fast attack and ballistic missile submarines. He served as a resident inspector at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and later earned two senior reactor operator licenses while working at Beaver Valley Power Station. He also completed a rotational assignment with the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO).

Sena earned a Bachelor of Science degree in fuel science from Pennsylvania State University in 1985. Since March of 2023, he has served as a member of the Executive Committee of the Nuclear Energy Institute's (NEI) board.

Before joining Southern Company, Kuczynski was the senior vice president of engineering and technical support for Exelon Nuclear, responsible for performance of outage services, training, emergency preparedness, security, chemistry, radiation protection, operations, maintenance, work control and industrial safety for the Exelon Nuclear fleet. Prior to that role, Kuczynski was the senior vice president of Exelon Nuclear's Midwest Operations. In that role, he was responsible for oversight of Exelon Nuclear's six Illinois operating facilities and 11 reactors.

Kuczynski holds a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering technology from the Milwaukee School of Engineering and is a graduate of the Harvard Advanced Management Program. He earned a Senior Reactor Operator License from the NRC.

Kuczynski previously served as chair of the NEI's Advanced Reactor Working Group and the New Plant Advisory Committee. He has also served on the board of directors and the executive committee of NEI, the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations National Nuclear Accrediting Board, and as a member of both the Terrestrial Energy Corporate Industrial Advisory Board and the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Nuclear Energy, Nuclear Energy Advisory Committee. Additionally, Kuczynski served on the advisory boards for the Oak Ridge National Laboratory Nuclear Science and Engineering Directorate, the Department of Energy's Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear, Georgia Institute of Technology's Nuclear and Radiological Engineering Program and Fluoride High Temperature Reactor Program, X-Energy, and ClearPath.

Kuczynski received the Special Achievement Award from the U.S. Nuclear Infrastructure Council and the Presidential Citation from the American Nuclear Society.