WASHINGTON, D.C. – The American Nuclear Society (ANS) today awarded Dr. Rita Baranwal, Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the ANS Presidential Citation Award. ANS President Dr. Mary Lou Dunzik-Gougar announced the award during the organization’s virtual winter meeting.

The Presidential Citation award recognizes Dr. 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.”

Dr. Baranwal has served as Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy since July 2019. She 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,” said Dr. Baranwal. “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.”

Dr. Baranwal previously directed the Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) initiative at DOE’s Idaho National Laboratory. GAIN connects industry with national laboratories to help commercialize nuclear technologies, and under her leadership, it positively impacted more than 120 companies.

Prior to joining DOE, Dr. Baranwal was Director of Technology Development at Westinghouse, and held roles as Director of Core Engineering and Manager of Materials & Fuel Rod Design, leading several research and development programs. She started her career at Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory developing advanced nuclear fuel materials for U.S. naval reactors.

Dr. Baranwal earned a bachelor’s degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in materials science and engineering and a master’s degree and PhD. in the same discipline from the University of Michigan.