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Rita Baranwal Confirmed to AS/Nuclear

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Rita Baranwal was confirmed to be the Assistant Secretary, Nuclear Energy, at DOE, by the Senate on Thursday 6/20/19 by a vote of 86-5 with the Nevada and Massachusetts delegations being the primary negative votes. Since August 2016 Baranwal has been the Director of the Department of Energy’s Gateway for Accelerated Innovation (GAIN).

The program develops public/private partnerships and provides financial assistance through several mechanisms to developers of new nuclear technologies. The program is operated at the Idaho National Laboratory.

Previously, Baranwal worked for Westinghouse and the Betis Atomic Power Laboratory. She holds a Ph.D. in materials science and engineering from the University of Michigan.

According to a report in the Morning Consult, Baranwal said “the Energy Department can play a key R&D role in helping non-light water advanced demonstration reactors.”

She reportedly cited the implementation of the versatile test reactor program, which could support for domestic testing of nuclear fuels, sensors and other materials.

Baranwal’s confirmation was delayed by disputes between the Nevada congressional delegation and the Department of Energy over disposition of spent fuel, weapons grade plutonium, and especially the Yucca Mountain site all in Nevada.

Previous coverage on this blog:  INL’s Rita Baranwal nominated to be Assistant Secretary, Nuclear Energy, at the U.S. Department of Energy.

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