Granholm confirmed as new DOE head

February 25, 2021, 2:47PMNuclear News


The Senate earlier today confirmed Jennifer Granholm as the nation’s 16th secretary of energy. The final tally was 64–35, with several Republicans joining Democrats in support of the former Michigan governor. Granholm becomes the second woman (after the Clinton administration’s Hazel O’Leary) to hold the post.

Picked to helm the Department of Energy last December by then president-elect Biden, Granholm testified before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on January 27, and on February 3, the committee voted 13–4 to advance her nomination.

During her confirmation hearing, Granholm stated, “I will focus on three missions: first, the security of America through the National Nuclear Security Administration and cleanup of our Cold War legacy, ensuring that we can protect our nation. Second, supporting the amazing scientific work being done at the DOE’s 17 national labs and other facilities across the country, including on climate change and emissions reductions. And third, taking that research to scale, deploying it to create jobs for Americans.”

Also at the hearing, Granholm confirmed the Biden administration’s opposition to Yucca Mountain as the repository for the nation’s used nuclear fuel. Describing the storage issue as a “sticky situation,” Granholm said, “We have to maybe look at what the Blue Ribbon Commission did on this, which was to engage in some consensus-based strategies that allow us to determine where that waste should go.”

Some background: A Canadian by birth, Granholm is a graduate of the University of California–Berkeley and Harvard Law School. She became an assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan in 1991, later serving as the state’s attorney general. She ran successfully for the Michigan governorship in 2002, serving two terms, from 2003 to 2011.

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