UTNE Research Team Honored at PHME'14
A University of Tennessee Nuclear Engineering research team was honored with the Best Paper Award at the 2nd European Conference of the Prognostics and Health Management (PHM) Society (PHME14). This conference brings together the European community of PHM experts from industry, academia, and government in diverse application areas such as energy, aerospace, transportation, automotive, and industrial automation. PHME14 was held in Nantes France from July 8-10, 2014. The paper "Prognostics for Light Water Reactor Sustainability: Empirical Methods for Heat Exchanger Prognostic Lifetime Predictions" was presented at the conference by Dr. Wes Hines. The lead author was Zach Welz, a new graduate student in Nuclear Engineering; contributing authors were Alan Nam, Dr. Michael Sharp and Dr. Belle Upadhyaya. Research funding was provided by the DOE Nuclear Engineering University Program (NEUP) and the Lloyds Register Foundation and the International Joint Research Center for the Safety of Nuclear Energy. Lloyd's Register Foundation helps to protect life and property by supporting engineering-related education, public engagement and the application of research. (Posted 7/10/14)
UT's Hines Honored by American Society for Engineering Education
KNOXVILLE—The American Society for Engineering Education has named Wes Hines, head of the Department of Nuclear Engineering at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, the Glenn Murphy Award winner for 2014.
The award, named for one of the pioneering leaders in nuclear engineering at the collegiate level over a four-decade career at Iowa State, is one of the society's top honors.
"I am very honored and humbled to receive the Glenn Murphy award," said Hines. "It is great to be recognized for dedication to teaching excellence and to be associated with someone like him."
The award, consisting of an honorarium and a certificate, is given annually to an ASEE faculty member serving in a full-time role in either the US or Canada.
Chosen by friends, colleagues and former students of Murphy, the honoree must exhibit excellence in teaching, both in laboratories and classrooms; make significant contributions to literature in the field; use real-life issues or problems to get students involved; and put forward breakthrough ideas, analysis or contributions to nuclear engineering.
"We're extremely proud for Wes Hines to be considered for such a prestigious award, let alone be chosen as its recipient," said Wayne Davis, dean of the College of Engineering. "Being recognized by his peers at the highest level further cements the thought that our Department of Nuclear Engineering is on the right path."
Hines said nuclear engineering prides itself on being forward-thinking. "The use of such initiatives as offering the first master's degree through distance delivery is just one way that we've taken new approaches to what we do," he said.
The award is the latest for Hines, who has been honored as a distinguished alumnus of Ohio State University and received a distinguished professor award from Duke Power as well as numerous research and teaching awards and fellowships since joining UT in 1995.
For more on the American Society for Engineering Education, visit http://www.asee.org. (Posted 6/19/14)
Skutnik receives ORAU award
Dr. Steve Skutnik, assistant professor in the Department of Nuclear Engineering, was the recent recipient of an Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award. ORAU awarded competitive research grants totaling $175,000 to thirty-five junior faculty from ORAU member institutions. Read more >> (Posted 6/9/14)
Dodds presents in Istanbul
Dr. H. Lee Dodds, professor emeritus and former head of the Department of Nuclear Engineering, recently returned from Istanbul, Turkey, where he delivered the keynote address at the opening plenary session of the Nuclear Power Plants Summit. His presentation, entitled "Energy Choices and Consequences," is based on a new seminar course that he began to develop after his retirement from UT. The presentation has been given to several civic organizations and also to technical organizations such as the American Nuclear Society, Hong Kong Nuclear Society, and Harbin Engineering University in Harbin, China. Dodds' next presentation is scheduled for September, 2014, at the New Energy Forum-2014 in Qingdao, China, where he is an invited speaker in the opening plenary session. (Posted 6/9/14)
COE strengthens ties with Czech Technical University in Prague
Students from the Department of Nuclear Engineering, led by assistant professors Dr. Ondrej Chvala and Dr. Eric Lukosi, spent two weeks in May at Czech Technical University in Prague, Czech Republic. It's all part of a developing bond between the two universities as they move to build a closer relationship. "This represents a great chance for UT students to share ideas with counterparts from another part of the world, to work through real-world scenarios, and to gain experience in a way different from what they might otherwise see," said College of Engineering Dean Wayne Davis. Read more >> (Posted 6/9/14)
UT Nuclear Engineering Students Awarded Four Scholarships Through the American Nuclear Society
The American Nuclear Society scholarships are presented to undergraduate students of nuclear science and engineering in recognition of outstanding efforts and academic achievements in pursuit of a college education. Several University of Tennessee, Knoxville, students in the College of Engineering's Department of Nuclear Engineering have received these highly sought-after scholarship. These students are:
UT Nuclear Engineering Students Awarded Nine Scholarships, Three Fellowships Through DOE Program
Several University of Tennessee, Knoxville, students in the College of Engineering's Department of Nuclear Engineering received a nice start to the summer as Nuclear Energy University Programs announced its most recent award recipients, with UT netting nine undergraduate scholarships and three graduate fellowships.
Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy's Integrated University Program, undergraduate winners receive a $5,000 scholarship, while the graduate fellowship winners receive $50,000 annually over three years, as well as $5,000 toward summer internships at national laboratories or other approved locations.
"Having our students selected for these honors is a validation of the things we've got going on in our college," said Dean Wayne Davis. "For our students to be recognized like this speaks to their dedication, innovation and commitment to their work."
The goal of the program is to strengthen ties between students and the DOE's nuclear energy research programs. Students are expected to take on studies of some of the challenges facing the industry today, including sustainability and efficiency.
The nine scholarships break UT's previous high of six, and represent the most awarded to any university, while the three fellowships are tied for the most in this year's awards.
The three graduate students awarded fellowships are Daniel Hamm, Elizabeth Jones and Ryan Sweet.
The nine undergraduate students awarded scholarships are Sarah Combee, Kaitlyn Darby, Travis Labossiere-Hickman, Tucker McClanahan, Danielle McFall, Gregory Meinweiser, Mikah Rust, Whitney Smith and Alyxandria Wszolek. (Posted 5/19/14)
Nuclear Engineering Study Abroad to Prague is underway
The Nuclear Engineering Study Abroad to Prague is underway. Pictured here are students Salman Altamimi, Naser Burahmah, Kaitlyn Darby, Tucker Mcclanahan, Melissa Megonigal, Whitney Smith, Eric Welch, Alexander Wheeler, and Fahad Zaman; and faculty Dr. Eric Lukosi and Dr. Ondrej Chvala. The group are at the active uranium mine and yellowcake facility located near the village of Dolní Rožínka. The students are standing in the yellow cake storage facility. Yellow cake is a processed oxide of Uranium which is extracted and concentrated from Uranium Ore. It is the raw material that is subsequently enriched and used for fuel in nuclear reactors. (Posted 5/12/14)
Oak Ridge native and senior in Nuclear Engineering, Emily Frame, is completing a study abroad program at the Czech Technical University in Prague. She is seen here working with the Czech students reconfiguring the core in the research reactor. (Posted 5/12/14)
Dr. Jason Hayward wins 2014 Research and Creative Achievement—Professional Promise at the Chancellors Honors Banquet
Jason Hayward keeps busy, with fifteen peer-reviewed publications in leading journals and presentations around the globe in just a year. He holds a joint appointment with UT, where he is an assistant professor of nuclear engineering, and with Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Nuclear Materials Detection and Characterization group. Within his field, Hayward has drawn praise for his work focusing on radiation instrumentation, a field of great importance to nuclear physics, astrophysics, nuclear nonproliferation and arms control, medical imaging, and materials research. The US Department of Energy recently honored him with its Early Career Award for his professional promise. (Posted 4/30/14)
Nuclear Engineering initiate new chapter of Alpha Nu Sigma, the nuclear engineering honor society
Alpha Nu Sigma was formed in 1979 to recognize high scholarship, integrity, and potential achievement in applied nuclear science and nuclear engineering among outstanding students. The University of Tennessee chapter, the Tennessee Alpha Chapter was initiated this year to recognize our premier students in the nuclear engineering field. The charter members were inducted into the new chapter at the Nuclear Engineering Awards Banquet held on April 24, 2014. Qualified students will be inducted on an annual basis to recognize high scholarship in the field of nuclear engineering.
The UT Department of Nuclear Engineering Advisory Board met on April 28, 2014 (see picture below). (Posted 4/30/2014)
Front Row (L to R): Dr. Yassin Hassan (Texas A&M), Dr. Neal Zapp (NASA), Ron Cocherell (Southern Nuclear Operating Company, Inc.), Dr. Daniel Stephens (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory), Neal McCraw (Merrick & Company), Desmond Chan (Bechtel Power Corporation), Dr. Cecil Park (Oak Ridge National Laboratory), Gary Gilmartin (Gilmartin Engineering Works), Chris Clark (BWXT Y-12), Dr. Wes Hines (Department Head, UTNE)
CNN, Czech newspaper feature views on Ukraine from nuclear engineering trio
Dr. Howard Hall, a Governor's Chair in the Department of Nuclear Engineering, Natalie Manayeva, a research assistant at the Institute for Nuclear Security, and Dean Rice, adjunct faculty member and former congressional aide, have had an article they wrote on the situation in Ukraine featured by CNN and a Czech Republic newspaper, Neviditelný Pes. (Posted 04/25/14) Read more >>
UTNE Department Head receives ASEE Award
UTNE Faculty and Department Head, Dr. Wes Hines has been chosen as the recipient of the 2014 ASEE Glenn Murphy Award in recognition of deistinguished accomplishments. The award will be presented to Dr. Hines at the Annual Awards Ceremony during the ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, June 15-18, 2014, Indianapolis. (Posted 4/23/14)
Nuclear engineering soccer team finds success
What's NU? soccer team: top row: Cole Gentry (Captain), Cody Walker, Fahad Zaman, Salman Altamimi;
bottom row: Cory Griffard, Dr. Ivan Maldonado, Naser Burahmah.
Not photographed: Ben Dabbs, Mustafa Elmas
The UT Department of Nuclear Engineering soccer team, called What's NU?, has reached an unprecedented level of success this year. The team qualified to the playoffs and has won their first game of the playoffs. The team's current record stands at three wins and one loss. Rumor has it that their "old professor," Ivan Maldonado, scored a goal during their last game.
The team includes students from Dr. Maldonado's NE470 class (Cody Walker, Fahad Zaman, Salman Altamimi, and Naser Burahmah), one of his PhD students (Cole Gentry), plus other graduate students and former NE470 survivors (Cory Griffard and Ben Dabbs). The team's name "What's NU?" is an old joke often told in NE470, where nuclear engineers should always answer "2.54 neutrons per fission." (Posted 04/14/14)
Maldonado speaks at Wheaton College
Dr. G. Ivan Maldonado, associate professor in the Department of Nuclear Engineering, recently lectured during the 2014 Wheaton College Science Symposium. Maldonado's talk was titled "A View of the Near-Term Evolution of Light Water Reactor Technology." Read more about the symposium >> (Posted 04/14/14)
Icove named first UT Professor of Practice
Dr. David Icove, research professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, is UT's first Professor of Practice, a position made possible through a new partnership with Underwriters Laboratories. The position is established with the goal of offering a course in fire engineering forensics that could change the way many things, from appliances to residences, are built. Read more >> (Posted 04/14/14)
Hines talks R&M at Maryland symposium
Dr. J. Wesley Hines, Postelle Professor and head of the Department of Nuclear Engineering, was an invited speaker at the twenty-fifth Reliability Symposium on April 2 at the University of Maryland. His talk was titled "Development of a Successful Program in Reliability and Maintainability Engineering." Read more >> (Posted 04/04/2014)
COE graduate program in nuclear engineering ranked fifth
One of the fastest growing graduate programs at UT has again risen in the 2015 U.S. News and World Report graduate rankings. The graduate program in the Department of Nuclear Engineering (NE) now ranks fifth among all universities in the nation. The College of Engineering's overall graduate program also climbed to thirty-sixth among all public universities. NE ranked sixth in the nation in last year's list. Read more >> Posted (3/28/2014)
INS hosts delegation from Jordan University
UT's Institute for Nuclear Security (INS) and the Department of Nuclear Engineering (NE) hosted a delegation of senior faculty from the Jordan University of Science and Technology (JUST) in early February. The JUST faculty were part of a State Department sponsored visit, and were exploring curriculum efforts in nuclear security studies. The INS has fostered the development of a number of classes and course modules across a number of departments, including extensive coursework as part of NE's Nuclear Security Science and Analysis graduate certificate program. (Posted 2/28/14)
David Dixon named "Scholar of the Week"
David Dixon, a PhD student in the Department of Nuclear Engineering, was named the Quest Scholar of the Week for achievements he has made in a series of projects while working at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Most recently, he was honored as part of a team for his work on a new type of nuclear reactor that could be used on space flights. Read more >> (Posted 1/31/14)
Zinkle Named American Physical Society Fellow
Steven Zinkle, UT-Oak Ridge National Laboratory Governor's Chair for Nuclear Materials, has been elected fellow of the American Physical Society. Zinkle was named for his significant contributions to the fundamental understanding of radiation effects in metallic and ceramic materials. An authority on the effect of radiation on materials in fission and fusion nuclear reactors, Zinkle came to UT from ORNL in 2013. At ORNL since 1985, he has also received the US Department of Energy's E.O. Lawrence Award among numerous awards and is a fellow of five other professional societies and a member of the National Academy of Engineering.(Posted 1/10/14)
Townsend receives ANS award
University of Tennessee Chancellor's Professor Dr. Larry Townsend was approved by the executive committee of the Radiation Protection and Shielding Division of the American Nuclear Society (ANS) to receive the "Professional Excellence Award " on the basis of outstanding professional contribution. The award will be made to Townsend at the 2014 Annual ANS meeting in Reno, Nevada. Townsend is a professor in the Department of Nuclear Engineering. Read more about ANS >> (Posted 12/6/13)
Czech faculty team visits for nuclear seminar
Dr. Lubomir Sklenka, of the Czech Technical University of Prague, Czech Republic, delivered the colloquia seminar "The Role of Reactors in Society" to the Department of Nuclear Engineering on December 4. Sklenka was accompanied by other faculty members from his university. Sklenka's talk covered the history and current applications of research reactors and the common fields for which the reactors are used. View a video of Sklenka's talk >> (Posted 12/13/13)
Hines meeting with IAEA
Dr. Wes Hines, Head of Nuclear Engineering Department, spent the week at an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) consultancy meeting to develop a new IAEA publication on "Instrumentation and Control for Advanced Small Modular Reactors". Fifteen consultants from eight countries attended the working meeting in Vienna and spent four days writing the first draft of the important technical report. (Posted 11/21/13)
David Dixon Dixon's research award in R&D Magazine
David Dixon, a doctoral student in the Department of Nuclear Engineering studying with Dr. Ivan Maldonado, shared accolades in the September issue of R&D Magazine for his work on an alternative type of nuclear reactor. The project won a 2013 R&D 100 award from the magazine. Read more >> (Posted 11/15/13)
KAERI representatives visit COE campus
Visitors from the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI) visited the UT COE campus on Wednesday, October 30. The visit was hosted by Dr. Wes Hines (far right in photo), the Charles P. Postelle Distinguished Professor and head of the Department of Nuclear Engineering (NE); Dr. Belle Upadhyaya, professor in NE; and Dr. William Hamel (far left in photo), professor in the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Biomedical Engineering, (MABE). The visit included discussions of the capabilities of both KAERI and COE and a current International Nuclear Engineering Research Initiative between the two institutions. The KAERI representatives also toured Dr. Hamel's robotics laboratory, as pictured above right. (Posted 11/8/13)
"Nuclear pirates" win Halloween Spirit Challenge
Faculty and staff from the Department of Nuclear Engineering (NE) won the inaugural UT COE Halloween Spirit Challenge on October 31. The challenge, also called the "Battle on the Bridge," took place between NE and the occupants of the new John D. Tickle Building: the Department of Industrial Systems Engineering (ISE) and the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE). The NE team's theme was "Pirates," as they were attempting to "take over" the walkway bridge to the Tickle building. They were successful and were crowned "winners" by a team of COE staff judges, who presented them with a now-coveted Halloween trophy. CEE's costume theme featured characters from the animated film "Despicable Me" as a theme. ISE's costume theme was the "Industrial and Systems Engineering taming the evil forces that affect process efficiency."
Nuclear Engineering wishes to thank their able competitors and is planning on defending their title against all competitors next year. See more photos >> (Posted 11/1/13)
Ruggles speaks to Texas A&M
Dr. Arthur Ruggles, a professor in the Department of Nuclear Engineering, presented a seminar titled "Utility of PET Scanners for Flow Interrogation" on Monday, October 14, at Texas A&M University. The talk looked at performance improvements of Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scanners over the past twenty years and reviewed their use in flow measurement. (Posted 10/25/13)
Hines speaks at Penn State
Dr. Wesley Hines, Charles P. Postelle Distinguished Professor and head of the Department of Nuclear Engineering, made an invited visit to Pennsylvania State University on Thursday, September 26. His presentation, titled "Lifecycle Prognostics for Enhanced Reliability" was made to the Nuclear Engineering Department's Graduate Seminar class. Hines visited their major research laboratories, their research reactor, and radiochemistry facilities. (Posted 10/4/13)
Dodds lectures in China
Dr. Lee Dodds, professor emeritus and former head of the Department of Nuclear Engineering, recently visited China for two weeks as the guest of two Chinese universities, where he presented several lectures on "Energy Choices and Consequences." The first week was at Harbin Engineering University (HEU) in Harbin, China, and the second week was at the City University of Hong Kong (CityU) in Hong Kong, China. The picture at left shows Dodds riding a bike to one of his lectures at HEU. At CityU, according to Dodds, he did it the old fashion way—he walked. (Posted 10/4/13)
NE research proposal wins DOE award
A proposal by Dr. Steven Skutnik, an assistant professor in the Department of Nuclear Engineering (NE), was awarded $755,000 from the US Department of Energy (DOE) to develop new capabilities for a fuel cycle simulator called CYCLUS by building on an Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) software package for nuclear fuel modeling called ORIGEN. The resulting tool, called a flexible reactor analysis module, will allow scientists to assess the relative benefits of different choices for managing spent nuclear fuel. The award is part of the DOE's 2013 Nuclear Energy University Programs (NEUP) initiative, which is awarding $42 million to thirty-eight American universities and colleges for nuclear energy research and development projects focused on innovative solutions. Read more >> (Posted 9/27/13)
NE professors present at Milan conference
Dr. Jamie Coble, assistant professor in the Department of Nuclear Engineering (NE), and Dr. Belle Upadhyaya, professor in NE, participated in the International Conference on Prognostics and System Health Management, held in Milan, Italy, September 8-11, 2013. Coble and Upadhyaya presented papers and chaired technical sessions at the conference. Upadhyaya visited the Nuclear Energy Division of the Polytechnic Institute of Milan (POLIMI) and discussed collaborative activities between UTK and POLIMI with the institute's deputy director Dr. Marco Ricotti. (Posted 9/20/13)
Hall interviewed by WUOT
Dr. Howard Hall, Governor's Chair Professor in Nuclear Security in the Department of Nuclear Engineering, was interviewed about UT's newly opened Center of Excellence in Radiochemistry. WUOT's Chrissy Keuper spoke with Hall about what radiochemistry is and why he feels its applications are important. Hear the interview >> (Posted 9/13/13)
Zinkle named Governor's Chair Professor
Dr. Steve Zinkle, an authority on the effect of radiation on materials in fission and fusion nuclear reactors, has been named the thirteenth University of Tennessee-Oak Ridge National Laboratory Governor's Chair. Zinkle will serve as Governor's Chair for Nuclear Materials, based in the Department of Nuclear Engineering at UT with a complementary appointment in materials science and engineering. He begins at UT on October 1. Zinkle comes to UT from ORNL, where he was a UT-Battelle Corporate Fellow and chief scientist for the laboratory's Nuclear Science and Engineering Directorate. Read more >> (Posted 9/6/13)
Maldonado lectures in Czech Republic
Dr. G. Ivan Maldonado, associate professor in the Department of Nuclear Engineering, was recently invited by the Czech Technical University in Prague to provide lectures in the subject of reactor physics and small modular reactors. He spoke at there on August 25-27. In addition to visiting the university, Maldonado also lectured at one of their summer schools held in the small town of Pocatky, where selected top undergraduate students from the Czech Republic are invited to explore the field and opportunities in nuclear science and engineering. While with the summer school group, Maldonado also visited and lectured at the Temelin Nuclear Power Plant. This facility hosts two Russian-made VVER-1000 reactors that became operational in the early 2000s and generate 2000 MW of electricity as the largest single power source in the country. (Posted 9/6/13)
Townsend on panel for "Pandora's Promise"
Dr. Lawrence Townsend, Condra Chair Professor and Chancellor's Professor in the Department of Nuclear Engineering, participated in a panel discussion following a screening of the nuclear-power documentary "Pandora's Promise" on Saturday, July 20. About 300 people attended the showing of the film and heard the panel discussion about nuclear energy. Read more >> . (Posted 8/9/13)
Nuclear engineering professors visit UCOR, K-25
Dr. Jason Hayward, the UCOR Faculty Fellow, and Dr. Wes Hines, head of the Department of Nuclear Engineering, visited UCOR the morning of July 22, 2013. Hines and Hayward received an informative site tour from Jimmy Massey with explanations of the UCOR cleanup means and methods. The former site of the K-25 building, which was at one time the largest facility under roof in the world, is currently being dismantled. K-25 is a former uranium enrichment facility of the Manhattan Project which used the gaseous diffusion method. Hayward is the current UCOR Faculty Fellow, provided by UCOR through endowment to the College of Engineering in 2013. (Posted 7/26/13)
UT launches Radiochemistry Center; seeks to improve global security
The new Radiochemistry Center of Excellence is being established through a $1.2 million grant from the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) for the first year, with the potential for a total of $6 million for five years. The center will focus on research and education to advance UT and NNSA laboratories such as the nearby Y-12 National Security Complex, Los Alamos National Laboratory and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Dr. Howard Hall is the principal investigator for the new center and the UT-ORNL Governor's Chair Professor for Nuclear Security. The program will educate new students in radiochemistry. Read more (Posted 7/26/13)
Nuclear engineering team visits Idaho Accelerator Center
Graduate research assistant Mitchell Laubach, shown at right, research scientist Xiaodong Zhang, and Dr. Jason Hayward, professor and UCOR Faculty Fellow, from the Department of Nuclear Engineering made their third trip to the Idaho Accelerator Center in June 2013 to make measurements as a part of their DTRA Basic Research Project "Detection of Penetrating Radiation via the Cherenkov Effect." The goal of these measurements is to understand whether the prompt gamma signal is observable from fissionable materials when stimulated by a fast pulsed x-ray accelerator. The new generation of fast sensors they are testing is not blinded by the prompt flash of radiation emitted by the accelerator, and they are fast enough to localize the origin of gamma rays in a room to about 3 cm (100 ps) using time-of-flight. (Posted 7/26/13)
Hall named Quest "Scholar of the Week"
Dr. Howard Hall, Governor's Chair in Global Nuclear Security and a professor in the Department of Nuclear Engineering, is the "Scholar of the Week" on the Quest magazine Website. Hall, an internationally respected expert in nuclear security, currently directs a research group at UT whose interests focus on the application of science, technology, and public policy to international nuclear security needs and challenges. He was recently named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Each year, the AAAS Council elects Fellows whose efforts on the behalf of the advancement of science or its applications are scientifically or socially distinguished. (Posted 7/12/13)
A multidisciplinary team representing two colleges and four departments was recognized by the University of Tennessee Chancellor's Office with a Multidisciplinary Research Award at the Chancellor's Honors Banquet Ceremony on April 8, 2013, for research on "Transformational Scintillation Materials for Neutron and Gamma Detectors and Education Integration."
The US Department of Homeland Security has tasked them with developing needed radiation measurement capabilities through a $2 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS). In addition to its important intellectual contribution, the team has mentored many UT undergraduate and graduate students through the project, and their work has been presented at conferences around the globe and forged partnerships with researchers in Germany and Switzerland.
Principal investigators for this five-year NSF/DHS ARI award are Dr. Laurence Miller, a professor in the Department of Nuclear Engineering; Dr. Dayakar Penumadu, professor and head of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering; and Dr. Charles Melcher, director of the Scintillation Materials Research Center (SMRC).
Other significant contributors to the project include:
The principal investigators also thank Dr. Andrew Stephan, Steven Wallace, and Dr. Sheng Dai for previous research that contributed to the successful proposal. (Posted 6/14/13)
The research of a UT professor working to create a battery that packs several thousand times more energy than batteries used today has received a boost from Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU).
Eric Lukosi, an assistant professor in nuclear engineering, received a $10,000 Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award, including $5,000 from ORAU and $5,000 in matching funds from the UT Office of Research. The award is given to thirty young faculty members at ORAU member institutions with the goal of enriching their research and professional growth, spurring new funding opportunities.
ORAU provides innovative scientific and technical solutions for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and other federal agencies to advance national priorities in science, health, education, and national security. A nonprofit corporation and federal contractor, ORAU manages the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education for the DOE.
"The Powe Award is very prestigious, and Eric's important research is very deserving," said Wayne Davis, dean of the College of Engineering. "This honor bodes well for his future success in sponsored research."
Lukosi's research focuses on the development of a long-lived, innovative nuclear battery termed a High Temperature Direct Energy Conversion (HiTDEC). The proposed battery operates by converting radioactive energy to electrical energy using a semiconducting diamond transducer.
"Current direct energy conversion nuclear batteries are very sensitive to radiation damage, thereby limiting the useful lifetime to a few days," said Lukosi. "The proposed nuclear battery aims to surpass this limitation by providing power generation for over a year. This can be especially useful for spacecraft and sensors."
The funds will be used for initial investigations into techniques that lessen radiation damage to the diamond transducer. The study is important to the success of the HiTDEC nuclear battery and will help define the achievable potential energy stored in the battery.
"ORAU is excited to support thirty exciting new ideas proposed by junior faculty from member institutions," said Arlene Garrison, ORAU vice president of University Partnerships, in a statement. "This funding enables creative exploration at a critical early career stage." (Posted 6/11/13)
Creative UT Nuclear Engineering Student Involved in Breakthrough Experiment
By G. Ivan Maldonado, Associate Professor, UT Department of Nuclear Engineering
On September 18, 2012, I was invited by one of my PhD students, David Dixon, currently working at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), to be an observer at an experiment at the Device Assembly Facility (DAF) complex on the Nevada National Nuclear Security Site. A team of LANL, NASA, and NSTec engineers led by Dr. David Poston and David Dixon, among others, carried out a remarkable proof-of-concept test that employed the Flattop spherical benchmark assembly (Figure 1) as a source of heat to operate a Sterling engine and generate 24 watts of electricity. The thick natural uranium reflector can host small spherical cores of enriched fissile material to perform criticality experiments. A small team of –notably mostly young- engineers took advantage of an existing and vacant cylindrical hole in the assembly large enough to host a small diameter heat pipe that transferred the heat of fission from the core to power the Sterling engine, which in turn generated electricity. This unprecedented experiment was a great success in that it proved a relatively simple concept that could potentially be used to generate long-term electricity for deep space and long-term NASA applications.
It did not surprise me at all that David Dixon was involved in this rather unique experiment that involved quite a bit of engineering creativity, because I know him well. In fact, while he was pursuing his MS degree at UT, David helped me build a multi-core Beowulf cluster from scratch, which in and of itself was great but not overly remarkable, until one day I found out that he had installed a car radiator to help water cool the cluster cores "economically" because the AC in the room was inadequate (Figure 2). We ultimately decided against this bulky setup and opted for more compact heat pipe based (yes, heat pipe) CPU mounted cooling. However, it is hard to forget finding a radiator and jugs of antifreeze in my computer lab!
More recently, during the Fukushima nuclear tragedy in Japan, David was deployed as a backup to represent LANL in Washington DC as a nuclear engineering expert and advisor to the US government. Sometime during that period, questions and discussions led to exploring the feasibility of water jet cutting technology to help break through huge reinforced concrete structures. Under strong skepticism by experts, David led a team of engineers to look into this. See photos of: David setting up the water jet equipment (Figure 3), an enlarged view of the hole drilled through a large concrete block (Figure 4), and receiving an award of recognition for his Fukushima response service from the U.S. Secretary of Energy, Dr. Steven Chu (Figure 5).
I am certainly a fortunate and very proud professor to have run into such a creative individual like David Dixon as my graduate student. He's also the kind of person who never hesitates to give folks a hand to help fix your car or move across town. David is expected to complete his PhD in Nuclear Engineering in 2013, that is, if I can ever stop him from having so much fun! (Posted 11/29/12)
TN-Chattanooga participants recognized at ANS Winter Conference
In September 2012, American Nuclear Society members in the Tennessee Valley area turned out in record numbers to support an ANS presence at a public hearing in order to inform the public and media about the nonproliferation benefits of the mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel program. These remarkable volunteer efforts were recognized in several venues at the 2012 ANS Winter Conference & Technology Expo, including the ANS Public Information (PI) Committee meeting, the ANS Board of Directors, and the ANS PI Workshop hosted by Mimi Limbach of Potomac Communications and Craig Piercy, ANS rep in Washington, D.C. The decision was made at the PI Workshop to designate the official name of the Chattanooga hearing as the "Chattanooga Caper."
The ANS Nuclear Cafe caught up with four of the Chattanooga Caper participants—Steve Skutnik, Chris Perfetti, Lane Carasik, and Howard Hall—in the ANS Media Room and arranged an impromptu photo session.
Cheers to these four members for their efforts, and we hope to see additional Chattanooga Caper reps in Atlanta for the 2013 ANS Annual Conference (June 16-20, 2013). Remember to stop by the media room to introduce yourself to the always friendly and helpful ANS staff reps. (Posted 11/29/12)
UT grad program testing radiation downtown by Gerald Witt
A white pickup with U.S. Government tags, a trailer of nuclear testing devices and a weather vane have diverted downtown Knoxville lately. But don't break out the hazmat suits. Matthew Beach, a grad student, is just monitoring equipment in the trailer measuring ambient nuclear energy bouncing around in the urban setting. This is not the focused, powerful stuff studied at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, but the natural nuclear energy that surrounds us — radiation from the sun, the Earth and elsewhere that we never notice. "You have invisible particles," Beach said in describing radiation. Devices in the trailer loaned from ORNL carry a voltage level, he said, "and particles change that current." The change in the current shows the amounts of radiation, Beach kindly described to a layperson. Jason Hayward, University of Tennessee assistant professor of nuclear engineering, is leading the research to determine a baseline that will show fluctuations in radiation. "We're just mapping," Hayward said.
On Thursday police closed Wall Avenue for the afternoon so Beach could park the truck and run generator-powering computers and other technology in the trailer. The mapping, he said, will continue downtown throughout next week. "It's kind of boring," Beach said, jotting notes.
Research opportunities at ORNL for students and faculty
Oak Ridge National Laboratories (ORNL) offers research opportunities for undergraduates, post-baccalaureates, graduate students and faculty through programs such as the Higher Education Research Experience (HERE) and Nuclear Engineering Science Laboratory Synthesis (NESLS). Participants can gain a competitive advantage through hands-on research, mentoring by top scientists, and the use of state-of-the-art equipment and facilities. Applicants are selected based on academic achievements, scientific interests, and career goals. ORNL has a long history and interest in providing hands-on research experiences to students at all academic levels. Over the years, these research experience programs have enhanced students' academic curricula and at the same time have helped ORNL develop its own workforce and contribute to the national vision for excellence in science, mathematics, engineering, and technology (STEM). (Posted 10/19/12).
UT COE faculty members express their Big Ideas
College of Engineering faculty members Dr. Howard Hall, Governor's Chair professor of nuclear security, and Dr. Brad Vander Zanden, professor in electrical engineering and computer science, were recently featured in the university's Big Orange Big Ideas campaign. Hall sees ways to apply UT's capabilities to the challenge of global nuclear security. Video >> (Posted 10/19/12).
UT Nuclear Engineering Student Sectionof the ANS recognized for outstanding community service
The UT Student Section of the American Nuclear Society (ANS) received a 2011-2012 Certificate of Distinction from the national ANS in recognition of the group's outstanding service to the community and to the society. (Posted 10/12/12).
UT, ORNL Lead National Team to Study Materials Performance in Nuclear Fusion Reactors
KNOXVILLE — Power from nuclear fusion reactors has the promise to be safe, sustainable and limitless. But science has not been able to bring fusion energy to the commercial energy market. This is partly because the operating limits of the reactor materials are not known. A team of researchers at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, in collaboration with seven other institutions, is trying to change that. Led by Brian Wirth, UT-ORNL Governor's Chair for Computational Nuclear Engineering, the Scientific Discovery through Advanced Computing (SciDAC) project will receive $2.3 million from the Department of Energy for the first year with plans for a total of $11.5 million over five years. ORNL and UT will receive $850,000 for the first year with plans for a total of $4.1 million over five years. Nuclear fusion promises an almost limitless supply of clean and safe energy. Unlike the nuclear fission reactors used today, it doesn't come with the challenge of managing used nuclear fuel containing very long-lived radioactivity. This is because the process to create the energy is different. In nuclear fission, an atom is split into two smaller atoms which remain radioactive for hundreds to many thousands of years. In fusion, two or more smaller atoms are fused into a larger atom that is not radioactive. "However, the fusion process currently pursued unleashes a very high-energy neutron that is believed to produce more damage to reactor materials than in fission," Wirth said. "Now is the right time to examine this impact of fusion reactions on materials as we determine whether we can really make fusion work as a practical energy source." The researchers will examine how the surfaces of materials which comprise the reactor respond when being bombarded by energetic neutrons and ions. Using high-performance computers such as ORNL's Jaguar and UT's Kraken, the researchers will try to accurately predict materials' performance and evaluate materials systems and component design for the fusion reactor environment. The team will then be positioned to use their computational tools to evaluate new materials and component designs to enable fusion energy. "A fusion reactor works by introducing plasma — a hot, electrically charged gas that serves as the reactor fuel — into a vacuum vessel," Wirth said. "The plasma is then confined using electric and magnetic fields into a central, vacuum region." The problem, he said, is that ions from the plasma escape and bombard the material surfaces, in addition to the high-energy neutrons. This combination causes significant damage and changes the properties of the reactor materials. "It's likely materials do not exist today that could be used to build a reactor that would contain the plasma," Wirth said. The material property changes are driven by many processes that occur in less than a nanosecond. Yet, it is the cumulative interaction of such processes over much longer times that determine the precise value of these changes. Wirth and his team aim to develop models which stretch this interaction over the period of many decades to evaluate their long-term effects. "We are trying to identify and model numerous microscale defect and impurity interaction processes that occur over rapid time scales which can span less than a nanosecond," Wirth said. "And then we are trying to integrate these into a model that can predict the material response over the years and decades for which a plasma reactor needs to operate." Wirth notes that making these goals more challenging is the fact that no current experimental facilities exist that accurately represent the environment these materials are expected to face. "Our research will address one critically important aspect toward getting to fusion energy," Wirth said. "I'm optimistic about the potential for fusion energy, but realistic in understanding how difficult it will be to realize." The Department of Energy's Office of Fusion Energy Sciences and Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research are jointly funding this SciDAC project. Collaborating institutions include Argonne National Laboratory; Los Alamos National Laboratory; Pacific Northwest National Laboratory; University of California, San Diego; University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; University of Massachusetts, Amherst; and General Atomics. (Posted 9/11/12)
UT Nuclear Engineering faculty receives the ISA Fellow award
Dr. Belle Upadhyaya received the ISA Fellow Award and the International Society of Automation Honors and Awards Gala during the ISA Automation Week in Orlando, FL on September 24, 2012 (Posted 9/28/12)
Chattanooga television station WDEF quoted UT Nuclear Engineering professor Dr. Howard Hall in its report on the TVA discussion. Read about and view the TV report. (Posted 9/14/12)
Dr. Jason Hayward named first UCOR Fellow
A major gift from Department of Energy (DOE) contractor UCOR has established the UCOR faculty fellowship in the University of Tennessee, Knoxville's College of Engineering. This gift meets Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek's challenge to private supporters to help recruit and retain UT's most talented faculty. UCOR (URS |CH2M Oak Ridge LLC), the DOE's cleanup contractor for the Oak Ridge Reservation, is donating $250,000 toward the fellowship. The first recipient of the faculty fellow award is Jason Hayward, an assistant professor in the college's Department of Nuclear Engineering. Hayward is a top recipient of external research awards in the department, which is the ninth-ranked graduate program in the nation, according to US News and World Report. Leo Sain, UCOR's president and project manager, announced the fellowship on Friday, June 29, at the East Tennessee Economic Council meeting in Oak Ridge. Read more about the Chancellor's Challenge. (Posted 7/6/12)
The International Society of Automation has elected Dr. Belle Upadhyaya, Nuclear Engineering, to the distinguished grade of ISA Fellow. Awards will be presented at the 50th Annual ISA Honors & Awards Gala on Monday, Sept. 24, at the Rosen Centre Hotel in Orlando, Fla. (Posted 6/22/12)
Two UT Nuclear Engineering students have received the "Innovation in Fuel Cycle Research" award from the US Department of Energy, Office of Nuclear Energy, Fuel Cycle and Research and Development. Cole Gentry and Nathan George, PhD students in the UT Department of Nuclear Engineering each won an award for their research work in Fully Ceramic Micro-Encapsulated Fuel (FCM). Both of these students recently completed their Masters of Science Degree in nuclear engineering during the past year and are currently pursuing their doctorate degree under the supervision of Dr. G. Ivan Maldonado, Associate Professor at UT Nuclear Engineering. Their research on FCM fuel is conducted under collaboration with several Oak Ridge National Laboratory staff members; namely, Mr. Andrew Godfrey (also a UT NE distance education graduate student), Dr. Kurt Terrani, and Dr. Jess Gehin (Adjunct and Joint ORNL/UT Faculty). The award recognizes the research described in the following two articles published at the recent international meeting in physics of reactors held in Knoxville in the spring:
- C. Gentry, G.I. Maldonado, A. Godfrey, K. Terrani, J. Gehin, "Application of Fully Ceramic Microencapsulated Fuel for Transuranic Waste Recycling in PWRs," PHYSOR 2012 – Advances in Reactor Physics – Linking Research, Industry and Education, Knoxville, TN, April 15-20, 2012, on CD ROM (#317).
- N. George, G.I. Maldonado, K. Terrani, A. Godfrey, J. Gehin, "Uranium-Based Fully Ceramic Microencapsulated Fuel for PWRs," PHYSOR 2012 – Advances in Reactor Physics – Linking Research, Industry and Education, Knoxville, TN, April 15-20, 2012, on CD ROM (#380)
This is the third annual Innovations in Fuel Cycle Research awards competition for students sponsored by the Office of Fuel Cycle Technologies of the U.S. Department of Energy. The program is designed to: award graduate and undergraduate students for innovative fuel-cycle-relevant research publications, and demonstrate the Office of Fuel Cycle Technologies' commitment to higher education in fuel-cycle-relevant disciplines. In addition to cash prizes, the top-ranked prize winners will present in a special session of the 2012 American Nuclear Society Winter Meeting (San Diego, CA, November 11-15, 2012). Additionally, some participants will be invited to participate in anInnovators' Forum, a forum designed around innovative thinking techniques and engaging students in advancing innovations in fuel cycle research. Both events offer compensation for allowable travel expenses of the students awarded. (Posted 6/22/2012)
HALL EXAMINES FUTURE NEEDS IN NUCLEAR AND RADIOCHEMISTRY
Professor Howard Hall, Department of Nuclear Engineering and the UT Institute for Nuclear Security, served on the "Committee on Assuring a Future U.S.-Based Nuclear Chemistry Expertise," under the Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology in the Division on Earth and Life Studies of the National Research Council. The committee looked at the ability of the United States to meet future nuclear and radiochemistry needs. It found that, while demand for nuclear and radiochemistry experts will not decrease, many of the current experts are approaching retirement age and the number of students opting for careers in these fields has decreased dramatically. The report offers recommendations for actions to avoid a shortage of personnel in the future. Download the full report here. (Posted 6/8/12.)
UT will receive $360,000 in Nuclear Energy University Programs funds from a collaboration of Associate Professor of Nuclear Engineering Ivan Maldonado on the Georgia Tech-led project "Fuel Core Design Options to Overcome the Heavy Metal Loading Limit and Improve Performance and Safety of Liquid Salt Cooled Reactors." Maldonado and his colleagues will examine new options for fuel and core designs in liquid salt-cooled reactors. They hope to develop a new, safer, and more efficient design. (Posted 5/29/12)
The Oak Ridge/Knoxville Section of the American Nuclear Society annually awards scholarships to nuclear engineering students based on academic achievement and professional promise.
UT Nuclear Engineering undergraduate students Alexandra Popova and Hailey Green, second and third from the left in the adjacent photo, each received $2,000 scholarships this year (Posted 5/7/2012)
University of Tennessee Nuclear Engineering students had a total of nine presentations at the recent American Nuclear Society Student Conference held in Las Vegas, NV. Charles Morrow won the award for the best oral presentation in the Nuclear Installations Safety/Operations and Power session for his talk entitled "Auto-Regression Modeling of Pressure Transducers for Monitoring of Gas Centrifuge Facilities." Ben Dabbs won the award for best oral presentation in the Neutronics session for his talk entitled "Local Area Fast Neutron Background Measurements." In other ANS-related news, six UT Nuclear Engineering undergraduate students were awarded $2000 ANS scholarships this spring. The scholarships are sponsored by the National ANS and are competed for on a national level. Harrison Bogema and Blake Palles both won ANS Undergraduate Scholarship Awards; Phillip Braaten won the ANS William R. and Mila Kimel Memorial Scholarship Award; Lane Carasik won the ANS Robert T. Liner Memorial Scholarship Award; Eric Collins won the ANS Human Factors, Instrumentation and Controls Division (HFICD) Nuclear Power Scholarship Award, and Caroll Huffine won the ANS Raymond DiSalvo Memorial Scholarship Award. (Posted 5/11/12)
The UT Department of Nuclear Engineering Advisory Board met on April 30, 2012 (see picture below). (Posted 5/4/2012)
Front Row (L to R): Scott Thomas (Duke Energy), Angela Howard (Howard-Johnson Associates), John Auxier (Auxier and Associates), Dr. Audeen Fentiman (Purdue University), Ron Cocherell (Southern Nuclear Operating Company, Inc.)
Back Row (L to R): Dr. Cecil Parks (Oak Ridge National Laboratory), Chris Clark (BWXT Y-12), Dr. Norbert Ackermann (Spinlab Utility Instrumentation, Inc.), Larry Tucker (GE-Hitachi Nuclear Alliance)
Nuclear Engineering Ph.D. graduate makes COE history
Jamie Anderson is the first female African-American student to graduate from the University of Tennessee with a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering. The Knoxville native earned her BS in 2008, her MS in 2009, and will accept her doctorate at the May 10, 2012, graduate hooding.
Anderson’s studies are within the Radiological Engineering Concentration. Her research interests include measurements and modeling of the effectiveness of shielding materials for use in space environments; Monte Carlo space radiation transport and shielding codes; and methods for estimating environmental levels of radioactivity.
In her work as a graduate research assistant, Anderson helped develop improved HETC-HEDS estimates of detector response for the Cosmic Ray Telescope for the Effects of Radiation (CRaTER) instrument on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft; analyzed actual CRaTER data from NASA’s LRO mission; and computed LET and dose response for CRaTER using the HZETRN and HETC-HEDS transport codes.
Anderson also spent summer 2008 as a Reactor Engineering Summer Intern at the Tennessee Valley Authority Watts Bar Nuclear Plant in Spring City, Tenn.
In addition to her field experience and coursework, Anderson has been honored with several awards in her academic career, and has presented numerous papers. She was given the Hall of Fame Award at the recent TLSAMP Banquet. She also co-authored journal articles on her CRaTER research and on estimating radiation exposures of a solar-particle event on Mars.
Anderson will continue her research with CRaTER on a post-doctorate basis at UT with Dr. Lawrence Townsend via funding by the University of New Hampshire. She plans on seeking a professorship follow her post-doctorate work. (Posted 04/27/12)
Dr. Ivan Maldonado will be the co-General Chair of the the ANS Physics of Reactors Topical Meeting, titled PHYSOR 2012, Sunday-Friday, April 15-20, at the Knoxville Convention Center. This is the premier international conference on the physics of nuclear reactors, expecting to attract around 500 registrants from around the world. Provost Dr. Susan Martin as well as ORNL Lab Director Thom Mason will be among the dignitaries providing welcome remarks on Monday, April 16, during the plenary. Also on Monday night, Joan Cronan will offer a motivastional talk during a banquet at the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame. For information, visit http://physor2012.org. (Posted 4/13/12).
Undergraduate Research Awards for Spring, 2012.
Lane Carasik and Christopher Baxter (not pictured), students in Nuclear Engineering, were undergraduate research projects award winners at this year's EUReCA awards ceremony on March 29, 2012. Their research was entitled "Thermal Stratification of a Twin Jet Mixing Experiment". Their faculty sponsor was Dr. Art Ruggles. (Posted 4/13/12)
Brian Wirth, Governor's Chair for computation nuclear engineering, briefed Secretary of Energy Steven Chu at Oak Ridge National Laboratory this week. Wirth spoke about nuclear fuel modeling activities within the Consortium for Advanced Simulation of Light Water Reactors (CASL). CASL is one of three Department of Energy hubs launched by Secretary Chu. Wirth currently serves as deputy focus area lead for materials performance and optimization within CASL which is a large-scale, $25 million-per-year effort to team up across national laboratories, universities, and industry in an attempt to model the performance of nuclear reactors. Wirth uses the high-performance computing capability of Jaguar to simulate nuclear fuel performance and the performance of nuclear reactors within a virtual reactor to better understand operating safety limits with the goal of optimizing power usage. Secretary Chu's stop in Oak Ridge was part of a daylong trip to underscore the Obama administration's support of nuclear energy. "We think that nuclear power will play an important role in this country's energy mix," he said, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel. "We can't put all our eggs in one basket." Read more about Secretary Chu's visit here. (Posted 2/17/12)
DOE Office of Nuclear Energy Approves Project
The DOE Office of Nuclear Energy has approved a collaborative International Nuclear Energy Research Initiative (I-NERI) project between the University of Tennessee Department of Nuclear Engineering (NE) and the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute, Daejeon, Republic of Korea. The project is titled, "Development of Diagnostics and Prognostics Methods for Sustainability of Nuclear Power Plant Safety Critical Functions." The project will integrate monitoring and diagnostics methods developed by the international team of Korean and U.S. collaborators and demonstrate the techniques and measurement strategies for three selected safety-related equipment in nuclear power plants. The NE collaborators are Dr. Belle Upadhyaya as the lead PI and Dr. Wes Hines as the Co-PI. (Posted 1/27/12)
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