Trump nominates Rita Baranwal to head office of ‘Nuclear Energy’
The United States President Donald Trump on Thursday roped in a top Indian-American nuclear expert Rita Baranwal to head the Office of Nuclear Energy.
Notably, this comes a week after President Trump signed a new legislation to speed up the development of advanced reactors.
The White House in a statement said, “Trump has nominated Rita Baranwal to be an assistant secretary of energy (nuclear energy) at the Department of Energy.”
If the Senate confirms Trump’s crucial nomination, Baranwal will be heading the powerful Office of Nuclear Energy. She would also be responsible for the department’s nuclear technology research and the development and management of the department’s nuclear technology infrastructure.
Rita Baranwal currently serves as the Director of the Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) initiative. Baranwal 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 earned her BA in Materials Science and Engineering from MIT and PhD from the University of Michigan. She also serves on advisory boards for MIT’s Materials Research Laboratory and UC Berkeley’s Nuclear Engineering Department.
Last week, Trump had signed into law the Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act which will speed up the development of advanced reactors in the US. The law eliminates some of the financial and technological barriers standing in the way of nuclear innovation.