President Donald Trump has nominated Indian American nuclear expert, Rita Baranwal, Ph.D., to be Assistant Secretary of (Nuclear) Energy at the Department of Energy.
According to a White House press release, Baranwal is from Pennsylvania and currently serves as the director of the Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) initiative at the Department of Energy.
She has previously served as the director of Technology Development and Application at Westinghouse and was a manager in Materials Technology at Bechtel Bettis, Inc., where she led research and development in nuclear fuel materials for U.S. naval reactors.
The press release adds that Baranwal earned her B.A. in materials science and engineering from MIT and her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan.
She serves on the advisory boards for MIT’s Materials Research Laboratory as well as UC Berkeley’s Nuclear Engineering Department.
If confirmed by the Senate, Baranwal will be heading the Office of Nuclear Energy and will be responsible for the department’s nuclear technology research as well as the development and management of the department’s nuclear technology infrastructure.
According to news reports, Trump signed the Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act into law, last week, which will speed up the development of advanced reactors in the United States.
The law eliminates some of the financial and technological barriers standing in the way of nuclear innovation.
Baranwal mentions that the U.S. nuclear industry is equipped to lead the world in deployment of innovative nuclear technologies to supply urgently needed abundant clean energy both domestically and globally, according to news reports.