Citing "personal and family reasons," Secretary of Energy Federico Peña announced on April 6 that he is leaving the Clinton administration at the end of June. No successor has been named thus far, although administration officials have indicated that Bill Richardson, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, is a likely candidate for the post.
A member of the Clinton cabinet for five and a half years and energy secretary since March 1997, Peña has been a key player in the administration's second-term efforts to secure Senate approval of the Comprehensive Test Ban (CTB) Treaty. In this connection, he has played an important role in overseeing the Department of Energy's Stockpile Stewardship and Management Program (SSMP), a $4.5 billion-a-year effort designed to ensure the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear arsenal in the absence of nuclear testing.
Peña has also been a strong supporter of the department's material protection, control and accounting (MPC&A) program, under which the United States is in the process of securing fissile materials across 53 sites in the former Soviet Union.