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INL names new leader for GAIN program

Christine King

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - A 26-year nuclear industry veteran has been named director of the Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) initiative.

Christine King will lead efforts on behalf of the Department of Energy Office of Nuclear Energy to help commercialize innovative nuclear energy technologies. She will help the nuclear community find technical, regulatory, and financial support.

"GAIN is a unique endeavor with a broad scope and a challenging mission, and there are a lot of exciting advances happening in nuclear right now," said King. "Our national lab system is uniquely positioned to help the advanced nuclear community commercialize their designs."

King's background includes work as operations director for Nucleation Capital, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm focused on bringing private capital into the advanced nuclear sector. She has also held leadership positions in nonprofits, including the Electric Power Research Institute. She has a degree in chemical engineering from North Carolina State University and an MBA from Lynchburg College.

Associate Idaho National Laboratory director Dr. John Wagner, with the Nuclear Science and Technology Directorate said King would assume the post Feb. 17.

"There is a growing number of nuclear innovators in the private sector that require access to the unique assets of the DOE's national laboratory complex to achieve their commercialization goals," said Wagner. "Christine's experience in engaging with the nuclear community, particularly helping startups find their footing by connecting them with appropriate resources, makes her the ideal candidate to take on this unique leadership role."

GAIN was established in 2015. Among its successes, GAIN helped reactor developer Oklo receive a site use permit for its 1.5 megawatt Aurora plant at INL. X-energy was awarded $3.5 million to further develop its advanced reactor.

King succeeds Dr. Rita Barnawal, who was recently named to head the DOE Office of Nuclear Energy.

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