July 13, 2021
Staff Accomplishment

Howard to Spearhead Spent Nuclear Fuel Effort

PNNL nuclear expert leads DOE Integrated Waste Management program

Rob Howard

PNNL’s Rob Howard named national technical director of DOE Integrated Waste Management program, brings proficiency in technical integration.

(Composite image by Cortland Johnson | Pacific Northwest National Laboratory)

With broad expertise in the management of commercial spent nuclear fuel, Rob Howard has been named national technical director of the Integrated Waste Management (IWM) program for the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Nuclear Energy’s Office of Spent Fuel and Waste Disposition.

As director, Howard’s proficiency in technical integration will be used to harness the work of researchers and engineers from five national laboratories and multiple contractors focused on identifying options for managing spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste.

“Rob has been an integral part of the Integrated Waste Management program since its inception,” said Mark Nutt, the program’s previous national technical director. “His 25-plus years of technical and project management experience will continue to bolster the nation’s program to manage spent nuclear fuel.”

Howard is an advisor and project manager for nuclear energy programs at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and brings his experience in spent nuclear fuel storage, transportation, and systems analysis to the IWM program. Solving the nation’s spent fuel management challenges crosses multiple disciplines and organizations. In addition, Howard regularly engages with regulators, oversight boards, industry representatives, and other stakeholders regarding highly visible, complicated technical issues.

Howard joined PNNL in October 2020, bringing experience in projects like developing and submitting the license application for the Yucca Mountain High-Level Radioactive Waste Repository. He also offers skills in hazard analyses, risk assessments, and systems design and analyses related to waste acceptance, monitored retrievable storage, transportation, and mined geologic disposal. He holds an MS in civil and environmental engineering from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. In 2014, he was bestowed with a Significant Event Award from Oak Ridge National Laboratory for Cyclic Integrated Testing Addressing Reliability Testing of Spent Nuclear Fuel.