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Press Release | Argonne National Laboratory

Internal realignment positions Argonne for maximum applied science impacts

Researchers to prioritize clean energy and national security with two new organizations.

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.

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.

The new organizations complement DOE’s new focus on energy and innovation, and infrastructure priorities, with similar focus on realizing an equitable clean energy economy and confronting the climate crisis.

Laurin-Kovitz, most recently director of the Strategic Security Sciences division at Argonne, has more than 20 years of experience with the Laboratory in nuclear reactor analysis, nuclear nonproliferation and nuclear material safeguards. Under her leadership, NTNS will advance next-generation nuclear reactors and fuel cycles; expand infrastructure risk, resilience, intelligence and vulnerability analyses; and provide robust emergency and disaster preparedness and response in collaboration with the DOE Office of Nuclear Energy, National Nuclear Security Administration, Department of Homeland Security and other partners.

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.

Sunderrajan most recently led Argonne’s Energy and Global Security directorate, from which the laboratory created the two new organizations. Sunderrajan has over 20 years of experience in technology commercialization, and also previously served as Argonne’s Associate Laboratory Director for Science & Technology Partnerships and Outreach. Under his leadership, AET will collaboratively develop and deploy low-carbon energy carriers for hard-to-decarbonize areas in transportation and industry, and advance an integrated, decarbonized multimodal transportation system with DOE’s Offices of Clean Energy Demonstrations, Electricity, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Fossil Energy and Carbon Management and other partners.

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 science and technological frontiers in key areas from decarbonization to clean energy to national security.”

Argonne National Laboratory seeks solutions to pressing national problems in science and technology. The nation’s first national laboratory, Argonne conducts leading-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific discipline. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance America’s scientific leadership and prepare the nation for a better future. With employees from more than 60 nations, Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit https://​ener​gy​.gov/​s​c​ience.