Assistant Secretary of Energy for Environmental Management: Who Is Monica Regalbuto?
On February 25, 2015, President Barack Obama re-nominated Monica C. Regalbuto to lead the Office of Environmental Management, which is responsible for cleaning up radioactive and toxic waste and contamination created by the nation’s nuclear weapons programs. She was originally nominated in May 2014 but although it cleared the Environment and Public Works Committee in June, the Senate never took up her nomination. The position has been vacant since summer of 2011.
Regalbuto was born in 1962 in Mexico, where her parents, Horatio and Conchita Gonzalez, sent her to private schools. She attended Instituto Technológico de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering in 1983 and met the man who became her husband that year as well, John Regalbuto.
Monica Regalbuto came to the United States to continue her studies at Notre Dame, earning an M.S. in 1986 and Ph.D. in 1988, both in chemical engineering.
After graduation, she joined the Argonne National Laboratory near Chicago, where she supported development of technologies to treat high-level waste. She remained there until 1996 when, wanting to get experience in the private sector, Regalbuto joined BP-Amoco, for whom she managed projects, including one investigating technologies to lower sulfur levels in gasoline.
Regalbuto returned to Argonne in 2001 and became head of process chemistry and engineering, working on technologies for treatment of used nuclear fuel. She joined the Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management in 2008 as senior program manager in waste processing. While there, Regalbuto worked on a three-year Massachusetts Institute of Technology study of fuel cycle to investigate the disposal of waste from economic, risk and other factors.
As she awaits confirmation by the Senate, Regalbuto is deputy assistant secretary for fuel cycle technologies in DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy.
Regalbuto holds six patents. She and her husband, who teaches chemical engineering at the University of South Carolina, have three adult children: Ricky, Carol and Robbie. Regalbuto served on the Glenbrook, Illinois, school board.
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