In a recent development, Indian-American Rita Baranwal, director of GAIN (Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear) was nominated for the post of assistant secretary of energy (nuclear energy) at the Department of Energy, by the Trump administration.
The White House stated that if elected, Rita will also head the development and management of the department’s nuclear technology infrastructure.
What made the Trump administration choose Rita for such a prominent role was her extensive research background. In an official statement, it said,
She earned her BA in Materials Science and Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. She also serves on advisory boards for MIT’s materials research laboratory and UC Berkeley’s nuclear engineering department.
The announcement has come at a time when President Donald Trump signed the Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act (NEICA) On October 1, 2018. This act will speed up development in the advanced nuclear reactor by removing financial and technological constraints.
Rita in the past served as the director of Technology Development & Application at Westinghouse. At the same time, she was also the manager in Materials Technology at Bechtel Bettis. She used to supervise the research and development in nuclear fuel material for US naval reactors.
Earlier during an official presentation on the country’s nuclear industry, Rita said,
US 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.
Addressing how the reactors could tackle climate change, Rita in her blog post 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.