Complex Oxides in the Nuclear Fuel Cycle – New Activities at UC Irvine

Complex Oxides in the Nuclear Fuel Cycle – New Activities at UC Irvine, Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry and Materials Science and Engineering at UCI

Sarah - zweite Bearbeitung (3)
Sarah Finkeldei
Assistant Professor
Department of Chemistry and Materials Science and Engineering at UCI
MON, 11/16/2020 - 4:00PM TO 5:00PM
Fall 2020 Colloquium Series

Complex oxides with fluorite derived structures play a key role in the nuclear fuel cycle context. We enhance wet-chemical synthesis routes, e.g. co-precipitation or internal gelation, to fabricate tailor-made precursors for advanced nuclear fuel forms as well as potential nuclear waste forms with the defect fluorite or pyrochlore crystal structure. Utilizing state-of-the-art-characterization techniques such as neutron diffraction with pair distribution function analysis and laser fluorescence spectroscopy enables an in-depth understanding of materials properties and provides structural information such as where and how actinides, e.g. Pu are immobilized in a pyrochlore waste form. An overview of recent activities about developing suitable fabrication routes of fluorite-structure derived ceramics in the nuclear context, the impact of the fabrication avenue towards their properties as well as the effect of radiation-induced structural order/disorder transitions towards the properties of the materials will be presented.

About the Speaker:

Sarah Finkeldei studied Chemistry at the RWTH Aachen and studied pyrochlore oxides as potential nuclear waste form during her PhD in the Institute of Nuclear Waste Management at the Helmholtz Research Center Juelich, Germany. She received her PhD with honors from the RWTH Aachen University in 2014. During her time as a postdoctoral researcher in the Helmholtz Center in Juelich, she led a collaborative project with Prof. Rodney Ewing (Stanford University) and Prof. Maik Lang (UT Knoxville) on long-term matrix corrosion of spent nuclear fuel. In August 2017 Sarah joined the Nuclear Fuel Materials Group at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory as a postdoctoral researcher and worked under the supervision of Dr. Kurt Terrani and Dr. Andrew Nelson for the Advanced Fuels Campaign of DOE. In July 2019 Sarah joined the Department of Chemistry at UCI as Assistant Professor where her research interests span from advance nuclear fuel forms to nuclear waste forms. 

Isotope Production: Occupation and/or Adventure

Isotope Production: Occupation and/or Adventure, Dr. Etienne Vermeulen, Senior Scientist, Los Alamos National Laboratory

Etienne Headshot (1)
Dr. Etienne Vermeulen
Senior Scientist, Los Alamos National Laboratory
MON, 11/09/2020 - 4:00PM TO 5:00PM
Fall 2020 Colloquium Series

Radioisotope production is a fascinating field of study that encompasses multiple disciplines, ranging from nuclear physics and chemistry to nuclear engineering and medical science. Users of isotope include fields as diverse diagnostic and therapeutic medicine, nuclear forensics, geochronology, antimatter research, cosmology and high energy physics. This lecture follows a semi-autobiographical path of the speaker around the world, producing isotopes for all the disciplines mentioned above and more, hopefully illustrating the incredibly diverse and interesting (and frustrating) challenges provided to the avid researcher.

About the Speaker:

Dr Etienne Vermeulen started his career in 1998 at what was then known as the National Accelerator Centre in South Africa. He received the Degree B.Tech in Chemistry during this time and was then employed as Chemist from 2001 to 2003. In 2007 he received an M.Sc. (cum laude) in radiochemistry from Stellenbosch University. He played a large role in the establishment of Positron Particle Emission Tracking (PEPT) at iThemba LABS in conjunction with the University of Cape Town. From 2009 to early 2014 he was the Targetry and Bombardments coordinator responsible for all aspects of isotope production targetry at iThemba LABS. In March 2014 he received a PhD in Physics from Stellenbosch University with the topic “Production of radionuclides with medium energy protons with the emphasis on targetry” and then joined the Paul Scherrer Institute as Staff Scientist from 2 June 2014 to June 2017. At PSI he was involved in the production and separation of radiolanthanides as well as the design of targets and production control systems for routine isotope production. He played a major role in establishing the Tb-161 production. During this time he also played a pivotal role in the production of the novel therapy/diagnosis isotope Tb-149 at the ISOLDE facility at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland. He joined Los Alamos National Laboratory in July of 2018 as senior scientist and is currently lead physicist for the Isotope Production Facility at the LANSCE accelerator at LANL.

Watch Video Presentation

Jasmina Vujic: The First Female Chair of a Nuclear Engineering Department

Jasmine Vujic: The First Female Chair of a Nuclear Engineering Department

November 06, 2020


Jasmina Vujic was the first woman to join UC Berkeley’s nuclear engineering faculty in 1992, and in 2005 became the first female chair of a nuclear engineering department in the nation. She is renowned as a top researcher in the field of nuclear energy systems, numerical methods and biomedical applications of radiation. She is also the principal investigator and founding director of the Nuclear Science and Security Consortium. The $50M+ multi-institution initiative aims to train the next generation of nuclear scientists and engineers, as well as engage academic communities in collaborative research and development with national laboratories in support of the nation’s nonproliferation mission.

Vujic was born and raised in Serbia, where she has been involved in educational initiatives. She is a member of RadWatch, a Berkeley project that provides data on radiation to the public. From 2009–11 she helped lead the Nuclear Engineering Department Heads Organization and has worked as a consultant for such companies as General Electric, Transware and VeriTainer.

As an internationally recognized expert in nuclear science and technology, Vujic is a member of various domestic and international advisory boards and nuclear reactor safety boards. She is a fellow of the American Nuclear Society and has been a member of several committees of the U.S. National Academies of Sciences.

Nuclear Energy: Essential to the Energy Transition

Nuclear Energy: Essential to the Energy Transition, William D. Magwood, Director-General, OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA)

NEA - DG William-D-Magwood-IV
William D. Magwood
Director-General, OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA)
MON, 11/02/2020 - 8:00 AM to 9:00 AM
Fall 2020 Colloquium Series

Around the world, governments are taking actions intended to lead to a new, environmentally sustainable energy framework.  Whether or not all these efforts will be successful, they are already disruptive and present challenges for the nuclear sector today and into the future.  NEA Director-General Magwood will discuss current challenges to the nuclear industry and present recent analysis by the Nuclear Energy Agency regarding the anticipated Energy Transition and why nuclear energy must play a vital role.  He will review the emergence and importance of new technologies and the challenges that lay ahead as well as the vital importance of broadening and deepening the world’s nuclear science and technology human resource base.  He will highlight recent international activities led by the NEA to prepare for the future.

About the Speaker:

Mr. Magwood took up his duties as Director-General of the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) on 1 September 2014. He has extensive experience in both the regulatory and developmental aspects of nuclear energy, including at the international level.

From 2010 to 2014, he served as one of the five Commissioners appointed by the US President and confirmed by the US Senate to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). While a commissioner, he advocated the importance of nuclear regulatory independence and the necessity of maintaining strong, credible, and technically sound nuclear regulation in the United States and all countries that use nuclear power.

Prior to his appointment at the NRC, from 2005 to 2010 he provided independent strategic and policy advice to the US and international clients on energy, environment, education, and technology policy issues. From 1998 to 2005, Mr. Magwood was Director of the US Government’s civilian nuclear energy program at the US Department of Energy (DOE). During his tenure, he established the Idaho National Laboratory; created activities that reversed the decline of US nuclear technology education; and launched important initiatives such as the Generation IV International Forum (GIF) and the US “Nuclear Power 2010,” which helped restart nuclear plant construction in the United States. He was also actively involved in the work of the NEA, serving as a Steering Committee Bureau member from 1999 to 2005, including a term as Chair of the Steering Committee from 2004 to 2005.

Prior to his experience at the DOE, Mr. Magwood managed electric utility research and nuclear policy programs at the Edison Electric Institute in Washington, DC, and was a scientist at Westinghouse Electric Corporation in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Mr. Magwood, a US national, holds Bachelor's degrees in Physics and English from Carnegie Mellon University and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Pittsburgh.

Watch Video Presentation

4153 Etcheverry Hall, MC 1730 (map) University of California
Berkeley, California 94720

Student Services