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Rita Baranwal Sworn in as A/S Nuclear

      Rita Baranwal


U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry on July 11, 2019, officially swore in (video) Dr. Rita Baranwal as the Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy. Dr. Baranwal, whom the U.S. Senate first confirmed on June 20, becomes the first woman to lead the Office of Nuclear Energy.

In her new role, Dr. Baranwal will lead the office’s efforts to promote research and development on existing and advanced nuclear technologies, maintain the existing fleet of nuclear reactors, and promote the development of a robust pipeline of advanced reactor designs and supply chain capabilities.

“It is an honor to be part of an organization that is leading the U.S. in game-changing, innovative nuclear technologies,” said Dr. Baranwal.

“Advanced reactors are smaller, cleaner, and more efficient, and will equip the U.S. nuclear energy industry to lead the world in deployment, supplying urgently needed clean energy both domestically and globally.”

Dr. Baranwal has directed the Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) initiative at Idaho National Laboratory since 2016. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) initiative connects industry with national laboratories to help commercialize nuclear technologies. Under her leadership, GAIN positively impacted 112 projects and companies.

Prior to joining DOE, Dr. Baranwal worked for Westinghouse in the nuclear fuel division, leading a number of research and development programs. She started her career at Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory helping to develop advanced nuclear fuel materials for U.S. naval reactors.

Dr. Baranwal has a bachelor’s degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in materials science and engineering and a master’s degree and PH.D. in the same discipline from the University of Michigan.


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Dan Yurman's picture

Thank Dan for the Post!

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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Jul 11, 2019 10:16 pm GMT

Thanks for sharing, Dan. Based on your experience tracking the industry and federal policy, how important is this role in shaping the nuclear industry?

Dan Yurman's picture
Dan Yurman on Jul 12, 2019 6:45 pm GMT

The role of the Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy is one of the key positions in the Federal government for setting policy and for providing funding for development of the next generatkon of nuclear reactor designs. Under prior administrations, the focus has been on the near term potential of light water reactor designs.  Baranwal, who comes to the job from the Idaho National Laboratory, will add to that focus with a renewed puish for support of non-light water designs including molten salt, sodium cooled, and high temperature gas cooled (pebble bed) designs.

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Jul 12, 2019 9:16 pm GMT

Very interesting, thanks for the insights. Having her come from INL alone is reason to be excited

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