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Washington, D.C. – Today U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-ID) introduced Dr. Rita Baranwal to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee for her nomination hearing to become Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy at the Department of Energy (DOE). Dr. Baranwal currently serves as the director of DOE’s Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) initiative at Idaho National Lab. 


Senator Risch’s remarks to the Committee:

“It is my distinct  privilege and honor this morning to introduce Dr. Rita Baranwal, and as is noted we all join in expressing our condolences to you. You are soldiering on with us and we understand that these are circumstances that we wish were different but we send the whole Senate family's condolences.

"She has been nominated to be Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy at the Department of Energy. I am also pleased to recognize Rita’s family. Her husband—Peter and their two children—Sanjay and Amiya. 

“My home state of Idaho is fortunate to host the Idaho National Laboratory— it is our nation’s flagship nuclear energy laboratory. The birthplace of nuclear energy in America and indeed in the world. INL has a rich history dating from the dawn of commercial nuclear power and the launching of the nuclear Navy—and this work continues today.

“INL is a leading partner with the Department of Energy’s Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) Initiative, with Dr. Baranwal currently serving as its Director. As Director of the GAIN Initiative, Dr. Baranwal is helping to bridge the gap between innovators in the private sector and the world-class research capabilities of our national laboratories—thereby accelerating new, innovative nuclear energy technologies toward market readiness. 

“Prior to leading the GAIN Initiative, Dr. Baranwal spent more than 20 years working in the nuclear industry, including nearly a decade at Westinghouse in the Nuclear Fuel division. Dr. Baranwal encountered the nuclear industry while working for the Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory after completing graduate school. While developing advanced nuclear fuel for the U.S. Navy, Dr. Baranwal discovered and appreciated nuclear energy initiatives in America today. At Westinghouse, Dr. Baranwal led numerous R&D programs, including examining nuclear fuel and fuel rods.

“Dr. Baranwal received her Master’s and Doctorate in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Michigan and her bachelor’s in the same discipline from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

“In light of her extensive qualifications, I look forward to working with this Committee to bring her nomination to the Senate floor as soon as possible, and Rita we all look forward to hearing your testimony today.”