Margaret Harding
Margaret Harding

The National Nuclear Security Administration is celebrating the women who make up the backbone of our Enterprise. Our workforce is made stronger by the contributions and accomplishments of amazing women whose expertise ensures that we successfully meet the challenge of our crucial mission.

Although women make up more than half of the world’s population, women comprise a minority of professionals working in nonproliferation. In the Women in Nonproliferation Series, we celebrate the women from the NNSA’s Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation who work in Research & Development, Material Management and Minimization, Global Material Security, and Nonproliferation and Arms Control. These outstanding NNSA women are leading the way to help keep our nation safe and set a powerful example for women and girls considering careers in nonproliferation. 

Margaret Harding, Technical Consultant for NNSA’s Part 810 Program

Margaret Harding is a Technical Consultant to DOE/NNSA’s 10 CFR Part 810 program (Part 810), which has the responsibility for authorizing the transfer of unclassified nuclear technology and assistance to foreign atomic energy activities within the United States or abroad. Margaret supports the Part 810 program by helping bridge the gap between policy and technology by translating complex technical information into something understood by policy experts. In addition, the program leverages her many years of experience in the nuclear industry to improve communications about the Part 810 regulation.

Margaret has traveled on behalf of NNSA several times to speak and assist with the Industry Sidebar event at international Nuclear Suppliers Group meetings. She’s built and maintained extensive relationships with U.S. industry leaders and stays informed of industry trends through her own research to advise on the Part 810 program’s strategic initiatives.

On one of the best parts of the job, Margaret says, “I never know what’s going to happen next. I also feel like I’m really making a difference in helping industry understand why export control of nuclear technology is important.”

Margaret was the only woman in her graduating class, earning a bachelor’s degree in Nuclear Engineering from Iowa State University and says she became interested in nuclear security by “being in the wrong place at the right time.” After a 27-year long career, which culminated in Margaret leading a division in nuclear energy of one of the largest global energy companies, she left industry just as NNSA was seeking talented people with industry experience to help improve the Part 810 regulatory rulemaking process. Margaret, with her extensive expertise in nuclear security and decades of experience in industry, was the perfect candidate.

Margaret said that NNSA differs from other organizations she has been a part of. “There’s way higher ratio of women in this part of NNSA than in the nuclear industry. For most of my career, I would be one of very few women in a room. Here, from my first day, women have outnumbered men. It’s cool to see!”

In her spare time, Margaret loves to cook and bake. She says, “Any time there’s an in-person party within our team, I strive to bring something yummy to share.”

*This is part of an ongoing series to recognize women in nonproliferation at NNSA*