Energy News Today

News Bureau | ILLINOIS

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Kathryn D. Huff, a professor of nuclear, plasma and radiological engineering in the Grainger College of Engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, has accepted an appointment to a senior leadership position in the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Nuclear Energy.

As principal deputy assistant secretary for nuclear energy, Huff will oversee the five deputy assistant secretaries and the agency’s activities in areas such as nuclear facility operations, science and technology innovation, and international nuclear energy policy.

In her new position, Huff will report to Chief Operating Officer Dennis M. Miotla, who had been serving as acting assistant secretary of energy for nuclear energy since he was appointed by President Joe Biden in January.

Huff, who was sworn in this morning, also will be taking on the title of acting assistant secretary of the Office of Nuclear Energy. In that role, she will be reporting to Kathleen Hogan, the associate deputy undersecretary for science.

“The world is at war with climate change,” Huff said. “It’s my honor to be called to serve the Biden-Harris administration in this fight. In this position, I hope to work with other offices in the U.S. Department of Energy – such as the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration – to help nuclear power maintain its role as a key part of the world’s clean energy future.

“It will be a unique opportunity to advance new reactor deployments, encourage rational national fuel cycle strategies and help consent-based waste management policy move forward.”

Huff holds a bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of Chicago and a doctorate in nuclear engineering from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She joined the U. of I. engineering faculty in 2016 and has received campus and departmental awards for teaching excellence. Her research interests include scientific computing education, repository system performance modeling, and reactor neutronics and kinetics.

Huff also is a Blue Waters professor in the National Center for Supercomputing Applications and is affiliated with the department of computational science and engineering at Illinois. She currently serves on the editorial boards of two scientific journals in her field and on the fellow review panel for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Nuclear Energy University Program.

“We never expected anything less from Professor Huff,” department head Rizwan Uddin said. “She is respected, well-known and well-liked by the nuclear and computational science communities. Though we will miss her expertise and wit while she is gone, I am happy to see that she will be serving the country, and the broader community will benefit from her experience. Her impact will be far-reaching with a long half-life.”

Rashid Bashir, the dean of the Grainger College of Engineering, said: “I am truly delighted that the White House has selected Professor Huff and called upon her to serve the Department of Energy and the nation in this important leadership role. We are very proud of her accomplishments and look forward to the impact that she will continue to make in the years to come.”



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2021-05-10 10:51:02

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