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CARD 2023 > Program > Keynotes & Plenaries

Keynotes & Plenaries


Rita Baranwal

Rita Baranwal
Chief Technology Officer
Westinghouse Electric Company

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 Rita 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, Rita 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.

Rita 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.

Rita 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.

Presentation Title: Shaping Tomorrow's Energy with Advanced Reactors

Oded Doron

Oded Doron
Senior Director, Reactor Systems

Biography: Dr. Oded Doron is the Senior Director of Reactor Systems Design at Kairos Power. In this role, he directs teams for the development of the design and analysis for the Reactor Systems of the Kairos Power Fluoride-Salt-Cooled High-Temperature Reactor (KP FHR). His focus is on developing a design that is inherently safe, cost competitive, and can be built and licensed.

Dr. Doron has a wide range of engineering experience and knowledge. He is the third generation in his family to be involved in steel fabrication and engineering. He previously owned the responsibility for the design of several in core components for TerraPower’s traveling wave reactor. He managed his family's steel fabrication business and he engineered and stamped the structural steel designs and drawings the company was fabricating. He also worked at Sandia National Laboratory in nuclear forensics, where he worked in the development of sensor technology for the detection of nuclear detonations in urban environments, was awarded an Outstanding Innovation award for a US patent application from his work and was co-inventor on a patent. Dr. Doron also worked in the shielding group at Knolls Atomic Laborator. Dr. Doron earned his Ph.D. at The University of Texas at Austin (UT) in nuclear engineering in 2007, and his B.S. at UT in mechanical engineering in 2002. He is a Professional Engineer registered in Texas with a dual competence in Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering.


Dr. Jess C. Gehin

Dr. Jess C. Gehin
Associate Laboratory Director, Nuclear Science and Technology
Idaho National Laboratory

Biography: Jess Gehin became associate laboratory director for INL's Nuclear Science & Technology (NS&T) Directorate in March 2021 after serving as chief scientist for the directorate since 2018. Over his 28-year career, he has built national strategies and priorities for nuclear energy, led complex projects and organizations, and developed strong relationships with senior leaders within INL, DOE and federal sponsors, and other laboratories, companies, and universities. In support of the DOE Office of Nuclear Energy, he served as the national technical director for the DOE Microreactor Program. He expanded NS&T’s strategic direction and helped develop and establish key projects to build advanced reactors at INL, such as the Department of Defense’s demonstration microreactor Project Pele, and the Microreactor Applications Research Validation and Evaluation (MARVEL) Project. Previously, he held research and leadership positions at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in nuclear reactor core physics, reactor core and system technologies, reactor modeling and simulation, and fuel cycle reactor applications. While at ORNL, he served as director of the Consortium for Advanced Simulation of Light Water Reactors. He earned a bachelor’s degree in nuclear engineering from Kansas State University, and master’s and doctoral degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His was an associate professor at the University of Tennessee, is a Fellow of the American Nuclear Society, and has authored or co-authored more than 120 refereed journal and conference articles, technical reports, and conference summaries.

Presentation Title: Idaho National Laboratory Research and Development to Enable Advanced Reactor Demonstrations and Deployment

Abstract: As the Department of Energy's Nuclear Energy Laboratory, Idaho National Laboratory (INL) performs research across a broad range of areas enabling the demonstration and deployment of advanced nuclear reactors. Over the course of the next decade, this work will lead to the demonstration of several reactors on and off the INL site that includes the MARVEL microreactor with a planned initial criticality in late 2023, the Department of Defense PELE microreactor in 2024, and working with Southern and TerraPower, the Molten Chloride Reactor Experiment (MCRE) in 2025. In addition, INL is working with other companies, such as Oklo Inc., TerraPower, X-energy, Kairos, Westinghouse and others on their reactor development and demonstrations. This work is supported by INL's unique nuclear energy research and development expertise and capabilities as well as leadership of DOE Office of Nuclear Energy programs, such as the National Reactor Innovation Center (NRIC). Dr. Gehin will provide an INL overview and an update on the capabilities being developed at INL to support reactor development and demonstrations.

Michael Goff

Kenneth Michael (Mike) Goff
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary
U.S. Department of Energy - Office of Nuclear Energy

Biography: Biography: Dr. Michael Goff is the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Nuclear Energy. Dr. Goff has more than 30 years of professional experience working in the national laboratories and across the federal government. He served three separate terms as senior advisor to NE and previously worked as assistant director for nuclear energy and senior policy advisor in the Office of Science and Technology Policy for the President of the United States.

Dr. Goff held several research and management positions over his career at Idaho and Argonne national laboratories and has authored more than 70 publications related to the nuclear fuel cycle, including separations technology, high-level waste development, and safeguards.

Dr. Goff has a bachelor's degree, Master of Science, and Ph.D. in nuclear engineering from Georgia Tech.

Presentation Title: Advanced Nuclear Technology in DOE's Office of Nuclear Energy