United States President Donald Trump on Wednesday announced his intent to nominate Indian-American nuclear expert Rita Baranwal to a key administrative position in the Department of Energy.
Trump wants to nominate her as an assistant secretary of energy (nuclear energy) at the Department of Energy, the White House announced. Baranwal currently serves as the director of Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear.
If confirmed by the United States Senate, she will head the powerful Office of Nuclear Energy and be responsible for the department’s nuclear technology research and the development and management nuclear technology infrastructure.
Baranwal earlier 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 US naval reactors, the White House said. “She earned her BA in Materials Science and Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and PhD from the University of Michigan,” it added. “She serves on advisory boards for MIT’s materials research laboratory and UC Berkeley’s nuclear engineering department.”
The move came just a week after Trump signed into law the Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act. It is expected to speed up the development of advanced reactors and removes several financial and technological hindrances for nuclear innovation.