US President Donald Trump could nominate Indian-American Rita Baranwal to head the Office of Nuclear Energy, according to sources. If nominated, Baranwal will be an assistant secretary of energy (nuclear energy) at the Department of Energy. She would be responsible for the nuclear technology research and the development and management of the department’s nuclear technology infrastructure.
Baranwal Baranwal currently serves as the Director of the Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) initiative. She has previously served as the director of technology development and application at Westinghouse and was a manager in materials technology at Bechtel Bettis, where she led research and development in nuclear fuel materials for US naval reactors.
Baranwal is an alumna of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and has earned her PhD from the University of Michigan. She serves on advisory boards for MIT’s Materials Research Laboratory and UC Berkeley’s Nuclear Engineering Department.
Only in the past week, Trump signed a new legislation law to speed up the development of advanced reactors in the United States. The Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act eliminates some financial and technological speed breakers in the way of nuclear innovation.
Recently, Baranwal in a blog post had said, “The unconventional and energetic spirit that created the commercial nuclear energy industry will again transform our country. New, smaller and more efficient reactors are being developed to combat climate change and meet the energy demand.”