Skip to content
Provided by ASME Logo The American Society of Mechanical Engineers

Keynotes

Dr. Rita Baranwal

Dr. Rita Baranwal

Chief Technology Officer
Westinghouse

Keynote Title: Westinghouse Initiatives for a Clean Energy Future

Abstract: Energy is central to nearly every major challenge and opportunity the world faces today. Over the next 20 years,the world population is expected to grow 25% and, by 2030, demand for electricity will nearly double. Finding solutions to our increased energy needs while confronting the realities of a changing climate might be the most pressing issue of our time. Using nuclear power, we can meet the growing demands for clean energy, while creating the decarbonized future the world aspires to. By supplementing intermittent renewable energy sources such as wind and solar with nuclear power, we can create a carbon-free power grid that’s always on. Nuclear power can help meet decarbonization deadlines established by the world’s leading climate scientists. Westinghouse has established some key reactor and fuel initiatives summarized below to support a clean energy future.

Westinghouse provides the development, licensing, detailed engineering, project management, component manufacturing and startup support for new nuclear power plants. The Westinghouse AP1000® plant, a Generation III+ two-loop pressurized water reactor (PWR), is considered the most advanced commercially available plant, offering an industry-leading design featuring passive safety systems. Four AP1000 plants are now in operation in China and two AP1000 plants are near completion in the US.

Westinghouse’s eVinci™ micro reactor will support commercial, defense, research, marine, and space applications. The solid-state design, including the selection of fully-encapsulated TRISO fuel, takes passive safety to a new level. Heat pipe technology is the ideal selection for an autonomous micro reactor because heat pipes have no moving parts and enable a low-pressure, low-maintenance reactor environment, and Westinghouse is the industry leader in high-performance heat pipe technology for nuclear applications. eVinci’s operating temperature gives broad flexibility of application, including the potential for localized production of hydrogen, and the fact that it is factorybuilt allows for rapid site installation. Westinghouse development and testing programs are continuing to advance the design and have been supported by multiple financial awards from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Westinghouse is accelerating the development of its Next Generation of high-capacity nuclear power plants, i.e. the Westinghouse Fast Reactor (LFR), through the setup of eight state-of-the-art test facilities in the UK, with support from the local Government as part of Phase 2 of the Advanced Modular Reactor (AMR) program. These test facilities, entering into operation in the second half of 2022, will be used to demonstrate key materials, systems, components and phenomena of the Westinghouse LFR, in prototypical conditions in terms of fluids and temperatures. In addition to Westinghouse developed reactor technologies, Westinghouse is working in close collaboration with numerous LWR-SMR and Gen IV technologies to design and develop fuels. Leveraging Westinghouse’s proven capabilities and innovative nuclear technologies enhances the viability of new reactor designs in a crowded market.

Westinghouse is developing advanced Accident tolerant Fuel (ATF) designs: chromium-coated zirconium alloy cladding with doped UO2 ADOPTTM* fuel in the mid-2020’s and silicon carbide (SiC) SiGA®* cladding with uranium nitride (U15N) fuel in the early 2030’s. These ATF features are part of the Westinghouse EnCore®* fuel portfolio. Westinghouse is investing in additive manufacturing methods to help fabricate fuel components to improve performance and economics. The use of ATF and additive manufacturing methods can enhance the fuel cycle economics of current LWRs and future SMRs.

*EnCore, AP1000, eVinci, and ADOPT are trademarks or registered trademarks of Westinghouse Electric Company LLC, its affiliates and/or its subsidiaries in the United States of America and may be registered in other countries throughout the world. SiGA is a registered trademark of General Atomics, its affiliates and/or its subsidiaries in the United States of America and may be registered in other countries throughout the world. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use is strictly prohibited. Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners. © 2022 Westinghouse Electric Company LLC. All Rights Reserved

Biography: Dr. Rita Baranwal is Chief Technology Officer at Westinghouse Electric Company. In this role, she leads the company’s global research and development investments and spearheads a technology strategy to advance the company’s innovative nuclear solutions. She brings nearly 25 years of experience to this role, which she has held since January 2022.

This role marks a return for Dr. Baranwal to Westinghouse, where she worked for nearly a decade in senior leadership positions for the Global Technology Development, Fuel Engineering and Product Engineering groups.

During her career, Dr. Baranwal served as Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy in the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in a U.S. President-appointed and Senate-confirmed role. She led efforts to promote R&D on existing and advanced nuclear technologies that sustain the U.S. fleet of nuclear reactors and enable the deployment of advanced nuclear energy systems.

Dr. Baranwal also has held senior leadership roles with the Idaho National Laboratory as Director of the Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) initiative and, most recently, the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) as Chief Nuclear Officer and Vice President of Nuclear. Earlier in her career, she led and conducted R&D in advanced nuclear fuel materials for U.S. Naval Reactors at Bechtel Bettis, Inc.

Dr. Baranwal holds advanced degrees in materials science and engineering, including a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. She is distinguished as an American Nuclear Society Fellow.