She succeeds Lady Balfour of Burleigh who has served 17 years as a trustee and 12 years in the chair.
The NLF holds the purse strings for nuclear decommissioning at the former British Energy (BE) nuclear plants, now owned and operated by EDF Energy. The £9bn fund is independent but works collaboratively with government, EDF and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA).
Mrs Venables is also chief executive of the Association of Drainage Authorities.
Energy minister Baroness Verma said: “Jean will bring a wealth of experience from her civil engineering career to the role of chair of the Nuclear Liabilities Fund. Her strategic involvement in long term infrastructure projects and her leadership capability will be invaluable to the board of the NLF. We look forward to working with her in the future.”