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May 9, 2022

Alumna Kathryn Huff confirmed to lead DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy

Written By: Staff



The U.S. Senate has confirmed Kathryn D. Huff (PhDNEEP ’13) to serve as the assistant secretary of energy at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy.

Kathryn Huff
Kathryn Huff

This is the highest position within the DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy. The Senate confirmed Huff with a bipartisan vote of 80-11 on May 5, 2022.

“I am so grateful to the Senate for confirming Dr. Kathryn Huff to serve as DOE’s Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy,” U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm said in a statement. “Dr. Huff has been a trailblazer for her entire career in nuclear engineering, and she brings endless enthusiasm and curiosity to her work. In her role, she leads DOE’s efforts to maintain existing, zero-carbon nuclear power facilities and advance next-generation nuclear energy technologies. Dr. Huff is an invaluable leader in our work to tackle the climate crisis, increase our energy security and independence, and provide affordable, reliable energy for all Americans.”

Huff has served as the principal deputy assistant secretary for the Office of Nuclear Energy since May 2021. Prior to that role, she was an assistant professor in the Department of Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she led the Advanced Reactors and Fuel Cycles Research Group and was a Blue Waters Assistant Professor with the National Center for Supercomputing Applications. Before her faculty appointment, she was a postdoctoral fellow in both the Nuclear Science and Security Consortium and the Berkeley Institute for Data Science at the University of California-Berkeley.

Huff received her PhD in nuclear engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in August 2013 as a student of Engineering Physics Professor Paul P.H. Wilson, and earned a BA in physics from the University of Chicago in 2008. Her research includes modeling and simulation of advanced nuclear reactors and fuel cycles. She has been an active member of the American Nuclear Society, chair of the Nuclear Nonproliferation and Policy Division, a past chair of the Fuel Cycle and Waste Management Division, and a recipient of both the Young Member Excellence and Mary Jane Oestmann Professional Women’s Achievement awards. Through leadership within Software Carpentry, SciPy, the Hacker Within, and the Journal of Open Source Software, she has also advocated for best practices in open, reproducible scientific computing.