Six Nuclear Engineering Faculty Members Receive U.S. Department of Energy NEUP Grants

Six Nuclear Engineering Faculty Members Receive U.S. Department of Energy NEUP Grants

June 18, 2020


NEUP funds nuclear energy research and equipment upgrades at U.S. colleges and universities and provides student educational support.

The following six faculty members were awarded NEUP grants to further their research to help the U.S. Department of Energy accomplish its mission of leading the nation's investment in the development and exploration of advanced nuclear science and technology:

MIT & Raluca Scarlat: Molten Salt Reactor Test Bed with Neutron Irradiation
UTK & Massimiliano Fratoni: Multi-physics fuel performance modeling of TRISO-bearing fuel in advanced reactor environments
Rebecca Abergel: Evaluating hydroxypyridinone-based ligands for actinide and fission products recovery in used fuels
Peter Hosemann: Femtosecond Laser Ablation Machining & Examination - Center for Active Materials Processing (FLAME-CAMP)
Lee Bernstein, Massimiliano Fratoni, Jon:  Improved Molten Salt Reactor Design with New Nuclear Data for the 35Cl(n,x) and 56Fe(n,n’) reactions
NCSU & Peter Hosemann:  Corrosion Sensitivity of Stainless Steels in Pressurized Water Reactor Water Chemistry: Can KOH replace LiOH in PWRs?
NEUP infrastructure:
Peter Hosemann: Scanning Electron Microscope for nuclear materials investigation enabling in-situ techniques and novel characterization for the nuclear energy community


Researchers lead federal efforts to improve COVID-19 testing

Researchers lead federal efforts to improve COVID-19 testing

April 22, 2020

Rebecca Abergel of Berkeley Lab's Chemical Sciences Division is studying how an anti-radiation-poisoning pill she developed in 2014 could help to protect people from the potential toxicity in the long-term retention of gadolinium, an ingredient in MRI contrast agents. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory on Wednesday, September 4, 2019 in Berkeley, Calif. 09/04/19

The Department of Nuclear Engineering is pleased to announce that one of our very own faculty has been leading the efforts during this global pandemic in the fight against COVID-19.

Rebecca Abergel, a faculty scientist in the Chemical Sciences Division and faculty for the Department of Nuclear Engineering, is leading a team to help establish validated alternatives to the instruments and reagents used for the currently approved diagnostics for COVID-19. This effort will provide normalized protocols to the broader community.

For more information, click here

David T. Attwood Award for ASTES (AS&T Excellence in Service)

David T. Attwood Award for ASTES (AS&T Excellence in Service)

May 8, 2020

Our very own, Marissa Ramirez de Chanlatte, was selected as the recipient for the David T. Attwood Award for ASTES (AS&T Excellence in Service).

Congratulations Marissa! The department celebrates your accomplishments!

Bethany Goldblum to receive 2020 James Corones Award

Bethany Goldblum to Receive 2020 Corones Award

April 29, 2020


The Krell Institute has named Bethany Goldblum the recipient of the James Corones Award in Leadership, Community Building, and Communication for 2020.

The late James Corones founded Krell, a nonprofit that oversees several DOE graduate fellowship programs, in particular, the DOE National Nuclear Security Administration Stewardship Science and Laboratory Residency graduate fellowships (DOE NNSA SSGF and DOE NNSA LRGF). Dr. Goldblum was chosen for her exceptional achievements in nuclear physics and nonproliferation, mentorship of early-career scientists, and her advocacy for science communication.

Goldblum is the Department of Nuclear Engineering associate research engineer and executive director of the Nuclear Science and Security Consortium, a UC Berkeley-led collaboration of seven universities and five Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratories. The consortium, established with a $25 million grant from the DOE National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE NNSA), focuses on nuclear security and nonproliferation research and on training future nuclear experts. Goldblum was instrumental in the program’s renewal in 2016.

For more information, click here.

Congratulations Dr. Bethany Goldblum!

Daniel Kammen elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Daniel Kammen elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

April 23, 2020


Nine UC Berkeley faculty members from a wide range of disciplines have been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS), a 240-year-old organization honoring the country’s most accomplished artists, scholars, scientists and leaders.

The nine are among 276 new AAAS members from throughout the country and raise Berkeley’s total count of living AAAS members to about 260.

Daniel Kammen, a professor of energy and resources, public policy and nuclear engineering and director of the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory. He directs research on the energy supply and energy transmission, smart grid and low-carbon energy systems, life-cycle impacts of transportation options and energy for community development in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

The new UC Berkeley members are in good company. Other newly elected members are singer, songwriter and activist Joan Baez, former U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., author Ann Patchett, poet and playwright Claudia Rankine, lawyer Anita Hill, New York Times reporter Adam Liptak and independent filmmaker Richard Linklater.

“The members of the class of 2020 have excelled in laboratories and lecture halls, they have amazed on concert stages and in surgical suites, and they have led in board rooms and courtrooms,” said AAAS president David Oxtoby. “With today’s election announcement, these new members are united by a place in history and by an opportunity to shape the future through the Academy’s work to advance the public good.”

For more information click here

climate one Podcast, “What’s the Future for Nuclear Power?”

climate one Podcast, "What's the Future for Nuclear Power?"

April 10th, 2020

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Per Peterson, Professor of Nuclear Engineering, UC Berkeley

Edwin Lyman, Acting Director, Nuclear Safety Project, Union of Concerned Scientists


 Ken Farabaugh, Former Employee, Vermont Yankee

 Jose Reyes, Co-Founder & Chief Technology Officer, NuScale Power


Jacob Dewitte, CEO, Oklo



Christine Parthemore, Chief Executive Officer, The Council on Strategic Risks




Once thought to be a modern power source, nuclear fell out of favor after a series of major accidents. But nuclear power is extraordinarily efficient, reliable and clean--does it deserve a new lease on life? The latest episode of @climateone is out now:


Nuclear power - revive it or allow a slow death? Today, about a hundred nuclear plants provide 20 percent of America’s electricity.

Once touted as a modern power source, nuclear fell out of favor after a series of major accidents – most notably those at Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima. A handful of the plants that once dotted the landscape have been shuttered because they can’t compete with cheaper sources of power. By the end of the century, the industry was languishing. But the urgency of climate change causes some to advocate giving nuclear a new lease on life.  A discussion about the health of the nuclear power industry today, and the 21st century innovations that could point to a new path forward.

The podcast and radio show has been released, and is available on climate oneiTunesStitcher, Spotify and GooglePlay

Kairos Power: From University Conception to Mission-Driven Start-Up

Ed Blandford CTO
MON, 04/06/2020 - 4:00PM TO 5:00PM
via ZOOM
Spring 2020 Colloquium Series

Fluoride-salt cooled, high-temperature reactors (FHRs) combine existing technologies in a novel way, using high-temperature fuels from gas-cooled reactors with a low-pressure molten salt coolant.  In the last decade, U.S. national laboratories and universities have addressed key scientific and technical questions for the licensing and deployment of FHRs, and have developed pre-conceptual FHR designs with different fuel geometries, core configurations, heat transport system configurations, power cycles, and power levels.  Founded in 2016, Kairos Power, a mission-driven engineering company based in California, has built on the foundation laid by the U.S. Department of Energy sponsored university Integrated Research Projects to design, license, and demonstrate the KP-FHR.  This talk overviews the history of FHR technology and the major role played by universities, as well as Kairos Power’s mission to enable the world’s transition to clean energy.

About the Speaker:

Dr. Edward Blandford is a Co-Founder & CTO of Kairos Power. He is responsible for technology development, experimental testing, modeling and simulation, and process engineering activities at Kairos Power. Prior to co-founding Kairos Power, he was at the University of New Mexico where he was an assistant professor in the Department of Nuclear Engineering. Dr. Blandford was also a Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University. He also worked for several years as a project manager at the Electric Power Research Institute focusing on steam generator thermal-hydraulics and material degradation management. Dr. Blandford has a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.

Smart use of ionizing radiation in biomedical imaging

MON, 03/30/2020 - 4:00PM TO 5:00PM
via ZOOM
Spring 2020 Colloquium Series

Biomedical imaging modalities that rely on x-ray and gamma-ray interactions in biological objects and radiation detectors present potential risk of radiation-related complications. In many cases, imaging using ionizing radiation is essential to detect and monitor human diseases; however there is no established consensus about how to maximize the use of ionizing radiation. Smart use of ionizing radiation in biomedical imaging is enabled by advancing hardware and software solutions, extracting the most out of acquired images, and re-using/re-purposing already acquired images. In this talk, I will discuss general concepts of each area, and past and ongoing research efforts of my research group.

About the Speaker:

Youngho Seo, PhD, is a Professor and Director of Nuclear Imaging Physics in the Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging, Professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology, Faculty Affiliate at the Bakar Computational Health Sciences Institute, Program Member of Pediatric Malignancies and Prostate Cancer programs at the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center at UCSF, Faculty of the UC Berkeley - UCSF Bioengineering Graduate Program, and Physicist Faculty Scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Dr. Seo leads a group of physicists and engineers working in the field of radionuclide and x-ray imaging instrumentation and physics, and directs the UCSF Physics Research Laboratory and the microPET/CT, microSPECT/CT, and optical imaging core facility. His primary research focus is to use quantitative SPECT/CT, PET/CT, and PET/MR molecular imaging tools for a broad range of research areas from small animal imaging using dedicated animal imaging systems and basic instrumentation hardware and software development to physics analysis of clinical imaging data.

Nuclear Engineering to Make a Difference

MON, 03/09/2020 - 4:00PM TO 5:00PM
Spring 2020 Colloquium Series

We all (I hope) want to use our careers to make a difference. This talk will walk through one example of how that might look and lead into a broader discussion of how one could use a highly technical nuclear engineering education to have an impact. I’ll talk a bit about computational neutronics, nuclear innovation, and government in particular. I’ll also talk about what students can think about and do as they frame their own path to fulfill their own goals.

About the Speaker:

Prof. Slaybaugh researches computational methods applied to nuclear reactors, nuclear non-proliferation and security, and shielding. Slaybaugh is currently serving as a Program Director at ARPA-E. She is also a Senior Fellow at the Breakthrough Institute and at the Berkeley Institute of Data Science. Slaybaugh received a BS in Nuclear Engineering from Penn State, where she served as a licensed nuclear reactor operator, and a PhD from University of Wisconsin–Madison in Nuclear Engineering and Engineering Physics with a certificate in Energy Analysis and Policy. Slaybaugh’s Rickover Fellowship took her to Naval Nuclear Laboratory prior to joining Berkeley.

Using Data Competitions to Crowdsource Innovative Solutions to Urban Radiation Detection Problems

MON, 03/02/2020 - 4:00PM TO 5:00PM
Spring 2020 Colloquium Series


In 2017 and 2018, NA-22 sponsored a project to host data competitions to solicit innovative solutions for urban radiation detection problems. A team from Los Alamos, Oak Ridge, and Berkeley National Laboratories fielded and hosted two competitions. The first was restricted to those with a government affiliation, while the second was hosted on Topcoder and was open to an international field of competitors. The competitors were asked to detect, identify and locate 6 different radioactive sources from simulated data that modeled a detector being driven down an urban street. A total of 87 competitors created over 2500 submissions across the two competitions. We will present a new methodology for creating the training and test data sets for the competition that thoroughly explores the diverse problems space considered. In addition, an extended post-competition analysis is able to highlight the strengths and weaknesses of the winning algorithms and make detailed comparisons between competitors. A different version of the problem may want to emphasize aspects of the detect, identify and locate the problem for runs with sources and false positives for runs with no sources. Hence, multiple criterion optimization with Pareto fronts allows identification of top solutions for different combinations of the study objectives. Results from the two competitions will be presented and the solution with their improvement of currently used methods compared. 

About the Speaker:

Christine Anderson-Cook has been a Research Scientist in the Statistical Sciences Group at Los Alamos National Laboratory since 2004. She currently leads projects in the areas of sequential design of experiments, non-proliferation and effective hosting of data competitions. Before joining LANL, she was a faculty member in the Department of Statistics at Virginia Tech for 8 years. Her research areas include response surface methodology, design of experiments, reliability, multiple criterion optimization and graphical methods. She has authored more than 200 articles in statistics and quality peer-reviewed journals, and has been a long-time contributor to the Quality Progress Statistics Spotlight column. She has co-authored a popular book on Response Surface Methodology with Raymond Myers and Douglas Montgomery. She has served on the editorial boards of Technometrics, Journal of Quality Technology, Quality Engineering and Quality and Reliability Engineering InternationalShe is an elected fellow of the American Statistical Association and the American Society for Quality. She is the recipient of the ASQ 2018 Shewhart Medal, the ASQ Statistics Division 2012 William G. Hunter Award, and a two-time recipient of the ASQ Shewell Award. In 2011 she received the 26th Annual Governor’s Award for Outstanding New Mexico Women.