Washington D.C. : US President Donald Trump has nominated Rita Baranwal, a top Indian-American nuclear expert, to be Assistant Secretary of Nuclear Energy for the Department of Energy. This appointment comes in the wake of a new legislation (Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act) signed by President Trump to speed up the development of advanced reactors. If confirmed by the Senate, Baranwal would be responsible for the Department of Energy’s nuclear technology research as well as the management of the department’s nuclear technology infrastructure.
Baranwal received her undergraduate degree in Materials Science and Engineering from MIT and her Ph.D. in Materials Engineering from the University of Michigan. She has served as the Director of Technology Development and Application at Westinghouse and was a manager in Materials Technology at Bechtel Bettis where she headed the research and development of nuclear fuels for US naval reactors. She also serves on advisory boards for the Materials Research Laboratory at MIT and for the Nuclear Engineering Department at the University of California, Berkeley. Currently, she serves as the Director of the Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in the Nuclear initiative (GAIN).
Baranwal has high expectations for the United States nuclear industry and believes it is equipped to become a leader in the global nuclear sector, including the deployment of new and innovative nuclear technologies that support clean energy. When asked about Baranwal’s nomination, Senator James E. Risch of Idaho, who strongly supported her candidacy stated, I know Dr. Baranwal will make Idaho proud.
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