The former head of a Department of Energy program in Idaho Falls who is now an assistant secretary at the DOE was honored this week by the American Nuclear Society with its Presidential Citation award.

Dr. Rita Baranwal received the award during the society’s virtual winter meeting. Baranwal used to head the Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear, which DOE created in 2015 to support nuclear startups and help universities, industries and other private groups get nuclear technology to the market more quickly and is managed by Idaho National Laboratory. She was named assistant secretary for nuclear energy in 2019 and is the first woman to lead the Office of Nuclear Energy.

“This is an amazing honor, and it speaks to the great work that our team at the Office of Nuclear Energy is leading to support innovative nuclear technologies, such as advanced reactors, novel nuclear fuel, and a new test reactor,” Baranwal said. “This is an exciting time to be in this industry, and I’m proud of the contributions my office is making to clean energy portfolios domestically and globally.”

The award recognizes Baranwal “for the vision and leadership to drive the transformation of nuclear science and energy programs, especially the demonstration and deployment of advanced U.S. reactors, and dedication to public service and unwavering commitment to the use of nuclear technology to the betterment of mankind,” the nuclear society said in a news release.

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