Berkeley, Calif. — This week, the Breakthrough Institute announced the hiring of Rani Franovich as Senior Policy Advisor, Climate & Energy. Rani brings more than 30 years of experience as a nuclear energy regulator to advise the Breakthrough Institute on safety, regulatory, and policy matters involving currently operating reactors as well as new reactor developers and applicants for design certification, construction permits, and operating license.
Before joining the Breakthrough Institute, Rani enjoyed an accomplished career in public service with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. She is a qualified NRC inspector and spent six years as a resident inspector at the Catawba Nuclear Station in York, SC, where she acquired an integrated knowledge of nuclear plant operations. Thereafter, Rani served in a variety of NRC leadership roles involving power reactor license renewal (safety and environmental reviews), public outreach, enforcement, licensee oversight and performance assessment, industry trends monitoring, emergency preparedness, incident response, allegations, safety culture, physical security, organizational culture change, and small modular reactor safety evaluations.
“We are thrilled to welcome Rani to our team,” said Ted Nordhaus, Executive Director at the Breakthrough Institute. “We are at a critical juncture for the future of advanced nuclear technology. Her breadth of experience and deep knowledge of the NRC and the nuclear energy regulatory apparatus will be a tremendous asset.”
While with the NRC Rani was a member of the NRC’s response team to the March 11, 2011, Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident, caused by a massive tsunami following the Tōhoku earthquake off the coast of Japan. She also served as a panelist for technical sessions of the NRC’s annual Regulatory Information Conference, delivered the keynote address for industry-sponsored training, presented at numerous public meetings in communities surrounding operating power reactors, and was interviewed by a wide variety of news media outlets local to those communities. Rani completed executive education in the National Environmental Protection Act (Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University); Strategic Management of Regulatory and Enforcement Agencies (Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard University); and Executive Ethical Leadership (The Institute for Ethical Leadership, Rutgers Business School). She also served in leadership roles with the NRC’s Federal Women’s Program Advisory Committee and advocated for increased diversity, inclusion, and representation of women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) positions at the Agency.
Since leaving the NRC in 2021 Rani has become an active member of the American Nuclear Society and serves on the Risk-informed, Performance-based Principles and Policy Committee (RP3C); the Working Group for ANS Standard 57.11, "Integrated Safety Assessments for Fuel Fabrication Facilities;” and as Secretary for the Advance Reactors Working Group.
Rani earned a Master of Science in Industrial and Systems Engineering from Virginia Tech. Her research and thesis focused on human-computer interaction, object-oriented interface and usability design. She also earned a Bachelor of Science from Virginia Tech with double majors in Psychology and English and a minor in Sociology.