IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) – U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Jennifer Granholm made her first visit to Idaho National Laboratory (INL) Wednesday.

Granholm, a former governor of Michigan, was appointed by President Joe Biden to lead the Energy department and confirmed by the United States Senate. She is the nation’s 16th energy secretary.

Granholm met with INL staff, including Director John Wagner, who briefed the secretary on an initiative that aims to reduce INL’s carbon emissions to net-zero by 2031.

The secretary toured key research facilities on INL’s 890 square-mile Site and Idaho Falls campus. She also received updates on clean energy and national security projects, including advanced nuclear reactor demonstrations planned for the INL Site in the coming years.

“INL’s clean energy and national security research will be critical to delivering on this Administration’s promise to make energy more secure, affordable, reliable and resilient for all Americans,” Granholm said. “INL is pioneering emerging technologies, like advanced nuclear reactors, to harness the carbon-free nuclear power that will be essential to meeting President Biden’s climate goals. After my first in-person visit to INL, I’m confident that the bright minds here are securing our clean energy future and cementing our nation’s spot as a global leader in science and innovation.”

Granholm toured several facilities at INL’s Materials and Fuels Complex, including those involved in nuclear fuel research vital to the effort to develop and deploy advanced nuclear reactors.

She visited the EBR-II Dome, a historic site that is being reconfigured to host a U.S. Department of Defense nuclear reactor demonstration project. Granholm was briefed on that project, as well as two other nuclear reactor demonstrations being developed on the INL Site.

“As the nation’s nuclear energy research and development laboratory, we were especially excited to share our progress with the secretary as we work toward the first three advanced reactor demonstration projects being operational on our site in the next three years,” Wagner said.

Granholm was briefed on clean energy research being conducted at INL’s Energy Systems Laboratory, including integration of nuclear and intermittent renewable energy sources, electric vehicle battery testing, bioenergy, and advanced manufacturing.

Granholm also toured the Cybercore Integration Center, which brings together INL expertise and Idaho’s university students and faculty to help educate and train the future cybersecurity workforce.

“It was a genuine pleasure to host Secretary Granholm,” Wagner said. “Her leadership and passion for INL’s clean energy and national security missions are truly inspiring.”

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