A New Focus for Maximum Applied Science Impacts by Argonne

To maximize its contributions to the nation in attaining a range of urgent goals — from achieving a net-zero greenhouse gas emissions economy to increasing the resilience of infrastructure systems to impacts from climate change and other threats — the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory has created two new applied science and technology research organizations.

The Nuclear Technologies and National Security (NTNS) directorate, led by Associate Laboratory Director Kirsten Laurin-Kovitz, Ph.D., supports energy system decarbonization through safe deployment of advanced nuclear energy systems with an emphasis on nonproliferation. NTNS is also focused on enhancing critical infrastructure resilience and adaptation to natural hazards and man-made disruptions and addressing chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear threats.

Under Laurin-Kovitz’s leadership, NTNS will support development of next-generation nuclear reactors and fuel cycles; expand analyses of infrastructure risk, resilience, intelligence, and vulnerability; and provide robust emergency and disaster preparedness and response.

“Argonne’s long-standing, world leading expertise in nuclear energy, coupled with our unique, first-in-class capabilities in nonproliferation and infrastructure science, enable us to deliver innovative, objective science- and engineering-based solutions and inform decisions for a secure and resilient global society,” Laurin-Kovitz said.

The Advanced Energy Technologies (AET) directorate, led by Associate Laboratory Director Suresh Sunderrajan, Ph.D., focuses on decarbonizing the energy system by solving challenges related to renewable energy generation, storage, and distribution; applications such as transportation and buildings; and the development and manufacturing of advanced energy materials.

Sunderrajan will lead AET in working with DOE’s newly created Undersecretary for Infrastructure Office, and the Undersecretary for Science and Innovation Office. Efforts will include developing and deploying low-carbon energy carriers for hard-to-decarbonize areas in transportation and industry; enabling sustainable domestic manufacturing of energy materials; and advancing a decarbonized transportation system.

“Decarbonization of the energy system requires fresh thinking on science and systems as well as commercial technology that does not yet exist,” Sunderrajan said. “We will help enable a sustainable, secure, equitable and prosperous future by focusing on the most pressing energy, mobility, materials and manufacturing challenges.”

“For more than 75 years, the nation has relied on Argonne for broad and deep expertise, enduring scientific leadership, and holistic approaches to address complex challenges,” said Laboratory Director Paul Kearns. “This additional emphasis on applied science and technology will increase our impact, unlocking new frontiers in key areas from decarbonization to clean energy to national security.”

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