U.S. Women in Nuclear congratulates Dr. Kathryn Huff upon her confirmation as the Assistant Secretary of Energy for Nuclear Energy (NE-1) within the Department of Energy (DOE). NE-1 is the highest position within the DOE Office of Nuclear Energy, and the nominee for this position must be confirmed by the Senate. The Office of Nuclear Energy, as described by Sen. Barrasso (R-WY), oversees the federal government’s research and development efforts of nuclear technology and educating the public about nuclear technology.
The confirmation process began with the nomination from the White House for Dr. Huff to this position on January 19. Then the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on March 17, 2022, to ask Dr. Huff questions regarding the DOE and the current state of nuclear energy. Dr. Huff answered questions regarding a variety of topics, including developing supplies of High-Assay Low Enriched Uranium (HALEU), the Civil Nuclear Credit Program, and the current conflict in Ukraine and its impact on the nuclear power plants. The Committee unanimously voted to support Dr. Huff’s nomination. Finally, the Senate voted to confirm Dr. Huff to the NE-1 position on May 5, 2022 , with a vote of 80-11.
Dr. Huff received bi-partisan support for her confirmation, with Sen. Risch (R-ID) commenting that “most of us [on the Committee] have figured out that you are the right person for this job” during the March 17 hearing. Sen. Manchin (D-WV) commented that he “believe[s] she is truly up to the task” of serving as NE-1. Before the vote by the full Senate, Sen. Manchin encouraged all senators to confirm Dr. Huff to the position of NE-1.
Dr. Huff holds a B.S. in Physics from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She began serving as the Principal Deputy Secretary of Energy in the Office of Nuclear Energy (NE-2) and acting NE-1 in May 2021. Prior to working at DOE, Dr. Huff was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.