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U.S. Department of Energy Idaho Office recognized as Presidential Rank Award recipient

Idaho National Laboratory is distributing this news release on behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy-Idaho Operations Office

News Media Contact: Danielle Miller, (208) 526-5709,

For Immediate Release: Dec. 20, 2021

U.S. Department of Energy Idaho Office recognized as Presidential Rank Award recipient

Idaho Falls, ID - The U.S. Office of Personnel Management has announced the 2021 Presidential Rank Award winners, chosen by President Joe Biden. Amongst the recipients was U.S. Department of Energy Idaho Operations Office Manager Robert Boston. Boston received the Presidential Rank Award of Meritorious Executive for sustained accomplishments at the Department of Energy.

Known throughout the DOE complex as experts in nuclear energy and safety, Boston and his Idaho Operations Office (DOE-ID) employees attained success both before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. This accomplishment recognized by the Biden administration and the Office of Personnel Management.

In 2018, Boston launched an Idaho based nuclear safety review team that completely rewrote and approved the nuclear safety analysis for the Transient Reactor Test (TREAT) facility located at Idaho National Laboratory (INL). Restart of the historical reactor at INL marked the return of a capability that is critical to the United States’ role in the development and improvement of nuclear fuels, for both the existing fleet and a new generation of advanced nuclear reactors under design. The TREAT facility possesses specialized capabilities to test and develop accident tolerant nuclear fuel. This was the first time in 30 years that DOE restarted a reactor, and nuclear safety analysis was critical to project success.

“INL and the employees of the DOE Idaho Operations Office have long history of facing and solving many of the world’s most complex scientific and engineering challenges related to nuclear energy,” said Boston. “When the need to develop and improve nuclear fuels arose, I knew the extensive nuclear safety knowledge of my staff and co-workers as well as the TREAT facility’s unique capabilities could provide a solution.”

In 2020, when challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic began to arise, Boston’s expert team seamlessly transitioned DOE-ID to a remote work environment, while still retaining productivity. They were able to meet the needs of DOE and other federal agencies such as the Department of Defense and Homeland Security. Crucial national research and development priorities were attained amidst the pandemic thanks to continued operation of INL’s Advanced Test Reactor, which provides unmatched, national priority nuclear fuel and materials testing capabilities for military, federal, university and industry partners and customers, as well as the TREAT facility’s ongoing work to test and develop accident tolerant fuels.

“I am extremely honored to be recognized for these accomplishments and the important work the Idaho Operations Office staff performs for the U.S. Department of Energy,” said Boston.

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