IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - Newly named Idaho National Laboratory Director, John Wagner Ph. D., officially assumed the position Monday.
“It’s a big responsibility, one that I take very seriously. But it’s also one that I feel very prepared for,” Wagner said.
Wagner has worked with the INL for the last five years and has more than 20 years of experience performing nuclear research, managing, and leading nuclear research and development projects. Prior to joining INL, he worked at Oak Ridge National Laboratory for nearly 17 years, where he held several research and leadership roles in reactor and fuel cycle technologies.
“I’m very familiar with the nuclear portfolio at the laboratory and anxious to learn more about the other portfolios,” Wagner said. “Particularly cyber security, control systems cyber, battery technologies and some of the things that we are doing with energy and environment.”
Wagner said he’s especially excited about the ongoing Advanced Reactor Demonstration Project. The project is a huge undertaking for the INL as part of their partnership with the Department of Energy. The objective is to have a fully functional advanced nuclear reactor system by 2027, ensuring clean integrated energy systems throughout the U.S. and abroad.
“We really haven’t been building new nuclear and really haven’t been building what I call advanced nuclear… meanwhile our competitors, like China and Russia, are moving forward with these technologies and offering these to other countries,” Wagner said. “To continue U.S. leadership, we absolutely have to demonstrate these new technologies, demonstrate that they’re cost effective, safe, and viable for utilities and communities.”
Wagner said he will continue to work closely with the previous director, Mark Peters, to ensure a smooth transition forward.
"John Wagner is an excellent choice to lead INL and I look forward to helping him transition into his new role," INL Director Mark Peters said in a previous interview. "John's credentials are impeccable. He is a proven leader with a vision for where INL needs to go and a plan to get us there. Our laboratory is in good hands moving forward."