The Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board

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SPEAKER:
JOHN ABREFAH, PH.D.

SENIOR ENGINEER, DEFENSE NUCLEAR FACILITIES SAFETY BOARD

DATE/TIME:
MON, 11/02/2015 - 4:00PM TO 5:00PM
LOCATION:
3105 ETCHEVERRY HALL
Fall 2015 Colloquium Series
Abstract:

The Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board (Board) is an independent oversight organization within the executive branch.  The Board is chartered with the responsibility of providing recommendations and advice to the Secretary of Energy regarding public health and safety issues at Department of Energy (DOE) defense nuclear facilities.  Established by the US Congress in 1988, the Board started operation in October 1989.  The Board reviews and evaluates the content and implementation of health and safety standards, as well as other requirements relating to the design, construction, operation, and decommissioning of DOE’s defense nuclear facilities. The Board is also responsible for investigating any event or practice at a DOE facility, which has or could adversely affect public health and safety, by analyzing design and operational data pertinent to safety oversight of DOE defense nuclear facilities.  This talk will discuss how the Board uses operational and design data to evaluate the safety concerns at DOE’s defense nuclear facilities.

About the Speaker:

Dr. John Abrefah is a Senior Engineer at the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, where he is using his years of experience to advance the safety envelops of DOE defense nuclear facilities.  He has more than 25 years of experience in research, analysis and characterization of irradiated nuclear materials behavior, spent nuclear fuel degradation and general engineer materials degradation behavior for system design performance.  Prior to joining the Board in 2008, he was a staff scientist at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory for 15 years where he started as Senior Research Engineer and became the Team Lead for the Radiomaterials Chemistry Group.  At PNNL, he was the principal scientist that led the research activities to stabilize the Hanford corroded  spent nuclear fuel stored at the K-Basin for interim storage as well as developing the thermal stabilization process scheme for separating plutonium from the degraded polycubes stored at the Plutonium Finishing Plant. Dr. Abrefah has been recognized for his scientific work with a number of awards and honors including an Emerald Honors Award for Professional Achievement in 2006.  He was invited to participate in national scientific programs including reviewing nuclear industries deliverables to US Department of Energy on the Global Nuclear Energy Partinership and has published several reports and journal articles.  After graduation, he worked with Prof. Olander on nuclear material degradation to advance his professional research knowledge until he joined PNNL in 1993. Dr. Abrefah received his Ph.D in Nuclear Engineering in 1987 and MS in Nuclear Engineering in 1982 from the University of California Berkeley.

Hydrogen Isotope Transport in the Graphite Fuel Elements of Fluoride-Salt Cooled, High-Temperature Nuclear Reactors (FHR)

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SPEAKER:
RALUCA O. SCARLAT, PH.D

ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, DEPARTMENT OF ENGINEERING PHYSICS AT UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN MADISON

DATE/TIME:
MON, 10/26/2015 - 4:00PM TO 5:00PM
LOCATION:
3105 ETCHEVERRY HALL
Fall 2015 Colloquium Series
Abstract:
The Pebble-Bed Fluoride-Salt-Cooled High Temperature Reactor (PB-FHR) is an advanced nuclear reactor concept that combines high-temperature and low-pressure fluoride salt coolants with particle-encapsulated nuclear fuel. FHRs deliver heat in the 600 - 700°C range, and this temperature range makes it possible to couple nuclear heat to commercially available gas turbines for open air power conversion cycles, which enables combined-cycle efficiencies of 65% and provides the capability of natural gas co-firing for power peaking. One of the technical challenges that is most important in the commercialization if FHRs is the management of tritium. Under neutron-irradiation, the metallic constituents of the salt generate tritium, for which the salt has very low solubility. At 600oC and above, tritium readily diffuses through metals, and the salt-to-air metal heat exchanger is a pathway for the release of tritium to the atmosphere. In order to manage tritium release, two complementary approaches are being studied: tritium permeation barriers on metallic tubes, and methods for the extraction of tritium from the salt coolant. The fuel elements of FHR are made of a graphitic material in which the encapsulated fuel particles are embedded. It would be advantageous if the graphitic material of the FHR fuel elements could serve as an effective in-situ tritium sink. The Scarlat group studies the ability of this graphitic material to absorb hydrogen isotopes from the liquid fluoride salts. This presentation will provide an overview of tritium management in FHR, and will present the ongoing research at University of Wisconsin Madison on understanding the transport mechanisms of hydrogen isotopes from liquid fluoride salts into graphitic materials.
About the Speaker:

Raluca Scarlat is an assistant professor at UW Madison in the Department of Nuclear Engineering and Engineering Physics. She has a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering from UC Berkeley, and a B.S. in chemical and biomolecular engineering from Cornell University. Prior to her doctoral studies she has worked for GE and ExxonMobil. In 2011, she advised for Hitachi-GE, in Japan, on post-Fukushima changes to severe accident guidelines for the Japanese fleet of reactors. She has published articles in Nuclear Engineering and Design, Nuclear Instruments and Methods, Journal of Engineering for Gas Turbines and Power, and Progress in Nuclear Energy. Her research interests are in the area of heat and mass transport, thermal-hydraulics, nuclear reactor safety and design, and engineering ethics.

Underestimated: Our Not So Peaceful Nuclear Future

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SPEAKER:
HENRY SOKOLSKI, PH.D

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE NONPROLIFERATION POLICY EDUCATION CENTER

DATE/TIME:
WED, 10/21/2015 - 12:00PM TO 1:00PM
LOCATION:
310 SODA HALL
Fall 2015 Colloquium Series
Abstract:

With the world focused on Iran, it is tempting to think that addressing this case, North Korea, and the problem of nuclear terrorism is all that matters and is what matters most. Perhaps, but if states become more willing to use their nuclear weapons to achieve military advantage, our security could be held hostage not just by Pyongyang, Tehran, and terrorists, but to nuclear proliferation, miscalculation, and wars between a much larger number of possible players. This, in a nutshell, is the premise of Underestimated: Our Not So Peaceful Nuclear Future, which explores what we think about this future and what we may actually be up against. The book has already received critical praise from SURVIVAL, Eric Schlosser (author of Command and Control), Andrew Marshall (former Office of Net Assessment), and a number of university professors including Robert Jervis (Columbia University), Peter Feaver (Duke) and Ambassador Robert Gallucci (Georgetown).

About the Speaker:

Henry Sokolski is the Executive Director of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center (NPEC), a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization founded in 1994 to promote a better understanding of strategic weapons proliferation issues among policy-makers, scholars and the media. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the Institute of World Politics in Washington, D.C.

He previously served in the Pentagon (1989-1993) as Deputy for Nonproliferation Policy and received a medal for outstanding public service from Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney. He also worked in the Office of the Secretary of Defense's Office of Net Assessment, as a consultant to the National Intelligence Council, and as a member of the Central Intelligence Agency's Senior Advisory Group. In the U.S. Senate, Mr. Sokolski served as a special assistant on nuclear energy matters to Senator Gordon Humphrey (R-NH), and as a legislative military aide to Senate Armed Service Committee member Dan Quayle (R-IN).

In 2008, Congress appointed him to serve a two-year term as a member of the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism.  Congress previously appointed him in 1999 to serve on the Deutch WMD Proliferation Commission.  Mr. Sokolski has authored and edited a number of works on proliferation, including Underestimated: Our Not So Peaceful Nuclear Future (2015); Best of Intentions: America's Campaign Against Strategic Weapons Proliferation (2001);  Nuclear Weapons Security Crises:  What Does History Teach? (2013), The Next Arms Race (2012), Nuclear Power's Global Expansion:  Weighing its Costs and Risks (2010); Nuclear Heuristics: Selected Writings of Albert and Roberta Wohlstetter (2009); Falling Behind: International Scrutiny of the Peaceful Atom (2008); Getting Ready for a Nuclear-Ready Iran (2005); and Getting MAD: Nuclear Mutual Assured Destruction, Its Origins and Practice (2004).

New Data on the Real Costs of Historical Nuclear Power Around the World

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SPEAKER:
JESSICA LOVERING

SENIOR ANALYST AT THE BREAKTHROUGH INSTITUTE

DATE/TIME:
MON, 10/19/2015 - 4:00PM TO 5:00PM
LOCATION:
3105 ETCHEVERRY HALL
Fall 2015 Colloquium Series
Abstract:

While most studies of nuclear costs focus narrowly on the US and France, Jessica Lovering’s newly curated dataset includes complete cost histories of nuclear reactors for seven countries. By comparing the historical trends in countries like the US, France, Germany, and Canada with newcomers like Japan, India, and South Korea, many lessons can be learned about what types of policies can bring the cost of nuclear power down.

About the Speaker:

Jessica earned an MS in Environmental Studies from the University of Colorado Boulder, where her studies focused on energy policy. During her last year of school, Jessica created a graduate course in nuclear energy, which she co-taught in the Spring of 2012 with a nuclear physics professor. The course was an interdisciplinary look at all aspects of nuclear power including social, environmental, financial, security, and legal issues. In 2011, Jessica was a Breakthrough Generation Fellow, researching energy access. In an earlier life, Jessica received a BA in Astrophysics from the University of California Berkeley and an MS in Astrophysics from the University of Colorado. She also worked for two years on NASA’s New Horizons mission, which will fly by Pluto in July 2015. In her free time, she enjoys dystopian fiction, ballet, and enjoying the great outdoors.

Rethinking Nuclear: How Can We Change the World’s Cumulative Carbon Emissions Soon Enough?

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SPEAKER:
JOSEPH LASSITER III, PH.D.

SENIOR FELLOW, SENATOR JOHN HEINZ PROFESSOR OF MANAGEMENT PRACTICE IN ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT, RETIRED

DATE/TIME:
MON, 10/12/2015 - 4:00PM TO 5:00PM
LOCATION:
3105 ETCHEVERRY HALL
Fall 2015 Colloquium Series
Abstract:

Today’s existing nuclear power alternatives as well as renewables are currently forecast by the EIA and IEA to be losing the race with fossil fuels worldwide and are expected to continue do so for the forecast future. A suite of new nuclear power alternatives that is capable of competing economically with fossil fuels (coal in Asia and natural gas in the United States) is on the drawing boards, but time is of the essence if we want to keep cumulative, worldwide CO2 emissions from reaching what could well be threatening levels.

About the Speaker:

Joe is the Senator John Heinz Professor of Management Practice in Environmental Management, Retired. He studies one of the world’s most pressing problems: developing clean, secure and carbon-neutral supplies of reliable, low-cost energy all around the world. He teaches in the Harvard Business School MBA program as well as in Harvard University’s Executive Education programs.  In addition to being a Senior Fellow at HBS, he is a Faculty Fellow of the Harvard Environmental Economics Program (HEEP) and a Faculty Associate of the Harvard University Center for the Environment (HUCE). Since joining HBS in 1996, his work has focused on financing high-potential ventures and bringing their innovations to market in different parts of the world. Outside Harvard, he has been an active investor in and director of a wide range of new ventures and public companies.From 1994 to 1996, Professor Lassiter was President of Wildfire Communications, a telecommunications software venture backed by Matrix Partners and Greylock Partners. From 1974 to 1994, he was a Vice President of Teradyne (NYSE/ automatic test equipment) and a member of its Management Committee. Professor Lassiter began his career at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Department of Ocean Engineering as an Instructor in 1970 and was promoted to Assistant Professor in 1972. He received his BS, MS, and PhD from MIT.

Nuclear Safety Research and Development at the Department of Energy

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SPEAKER:
ALAN LEVIN, PH.D.

SENIOR TECHNICAL ADVISOR AT THE DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY’S OFFICE OF NUCLEAR SAFETY

DATE/TIME:
MON, 10/05/2015 - 4:00PM TO 5:00PM
LOCATION:
3105 ETCHEVERRY HALL
Fall 2015 Colloquium Series
Abstract:

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has established a corporate Nuclear Safety Research and Development (NSR&D) Program, managed by the Office of Nuclear Safety in DOE’s Office of Environment, Health, Safety and Security.  The primary objectives of the program are the identification, support, and dissemination of the results of R&D to address cross-cutting nuclear safety issues relevant to the design, construction, and operation of DOE civilian and defense nuclear facilities, to improve nuclear safety at those facilities.  This presentation discusses the DOE NSR&D Program’s background and establishment, current projects and near-term objectives, and the Office of Nuclear Safety’s plans for enhancing and expanding the Program’s activities. The NSR&D Program was formally established in 2011, and the first projects to be supported by the Program were selected in 2013.  A DOE-wide call for proposals is distributed each year, and the proposals submitted are evaluated by the NSR&D Committee, composed of representatives from National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and DOE program offices responsible for oversight of nuclear facilities and chaired by the Office of Nuclear Safety’s NSR&D Program Manager.  In addition to the projects undertaken as a result of the calls for proposals, the Office of Nuclear Safety initiates projects involving the preparation of technical reports addressing cross-cutting nuclear safety issues.  As the NSR&D projects are completed, the resulting hardware, software, and methodologies will be used to augment and/or improve DOE nuclear safety policy, procedures, operations, and oversight.  The Office of Nuclear Safety continues to work closely with NNSA and DOE program offices to expand the number and scope of NSR&D projects, and to look for opportunities to collaborate with other organizations to identify and study nuclear safety issues relevant to DOE’s nuclear facilities.

About the Speaker:

Dr. Alan Levin is a senior technical advisor in the Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Safety, and is also the manager of DOE’s corporate Nuclear Safety Research and Development Program.  He has more than 35 years’ experience in nuclear reactor and facility design, safety, testing, regulation, and quality assurance.  Prior to joining DOE in 2013, he was a senior staff member in regulatory affairs at AREVA, working on a range of issues related to new reactor licensing, post-Fukushima modifications to existing plants, and medical applications of nuclear technology.  Dr. Levin’s professional experience includes nearly 15 years with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, where he worked in the Offices of Nuclear Reactor Regulation and Nuclear Regulatory Research, and served as a member of Chairman Richard Meserve’s personal staff.  Before joining the NRC, Dr. Levin was a faculty member in Georgia Tech’s Nuclear Engineering and Health Physics Program, where his research included thermal-hydraulics, accident analysis, and testing on advanced water-cooled and gas-cooled reactors.  He began his career at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where he worked on the breeder reactor safety program.  Dr. Levin holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and a doctorate in Nuclear Engineering, both from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  He is a licensed Professional Engineer in Maryland and Illinois.  He is also a Fellow of the American Nuclear Society, and is a past-Chair of both the Washington, D.C. ANS Section and ANS’s Nuclear Installations Safety Division.  He served on the ANS Board of Directors from 2007-2010.

INL’s Advanced Modeling & Simulation Capabilities for Nuclear Applications

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SPEAKER:
RICHARD MARTINEAU, PH.D.

DIRECTOR OF NS&T M&S

DATE/TIME:
MON, 09/28/2015 - 4:00PM TO 5:00PM
LOCATION:
***247 CORY HALL***
Fall 2015 Colloquium Series
Abstract:

**PLEASE NOTE TIME AND LOCATION CHANGE FOR THIS TALK**

The Multiphysics Object Oriented Simulation Environment (MOOSE) developed at Idaho National Laboratory (INL) represents a novel approach toward nuclear reactor simulation. MOOSE is an HPC development and runtime framework that utilizes a modular approach, allowing scientists and engineers to rapidly create new fully coupled, multiphysics applications. At INL and other institutions, a number of different physics simulation capabilities have been developed based on the MOOSE framework in support of nuclear applications for DOE programs, such as NEAMS, CASL, LWRS, etc. Recent MOOSE framework developments have enabled the efficient combination of multiple, independently developed applications with the goal of achieving massive, multiscale calculations. These developments, which include both a flexible execution strategy and a sophisticated data exchange facility, allow MOOSE-based applications to run concurrently while exchanging data, a process we have termed "multi-coupling". Here, this multi-coupling procedure will be demonstrated for several reactor centric physics to display the algorithmic capability in MOOSE to preform multiphysics simulations of LWRs.

 

About the Speaker:

Dr. Richard Martineau (INL) began employment at the INL in July of 1989. He is Director of INL?s Nuclear Science & Technology Modeling and Simulation. Rich is responsible for those aspects of developing advanced numerical methods, scientific numerical packages, high-performance computing frameworks, and multiphysics analysis tools for nuclear power applications. Dr. Martineau has twenty-five years experience conducting computational fluid dynamics research and investigations. Expertise includes computational fluid dynamics, nonlinear coupling methods for multiphysics applications, compressible material dynamics (including stress wave phenomena and shock physics), fluid dynamics and heat transfer theory, and thermodynamics. Dr. Martineau is the primary developer of the MOOSE-based application called Bighorn, which is designed to simulate single- and multi-phase conjugate heat transfer domains. He is also the programmatic and technical lead on the development of RELAP-7, the next generation nuclear reactor systems analysis capability. Dr. Martineau obtained a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Idaho.

Neutron Scattering from Baghdad to Berkeley

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SPEAKER:
PROFESSOR LEE BERNSTEIN

DEPARTMENT OF NUCLEAR ENGINEERING, UCB

LAWRENCE LIVERMORE NATIONAL LABORATORY

DATE/TIME:
MON, 09/21/2015 - 4:00PM TO 5:00PM
LOCATION:
3105 ETCHEVERRY HALL
Fall 2015 Colloquium Series
Abstract:

Neutron-induced reactions generate energy in reactors and weapons, and are responsible for the formation of virtually all of the elements heavier than iron.  However, more than 80 years after the discovery of the neutron by Chadwick, we still lack the ability to accurately predict the interaction of neutrons with matter due to the rich complexities of nuclear physics.  The result is that all of the information about neutron scattering used in nuclear science and engineering applications come from a combination of careful experiment and evaluation.  Unfortunately, there is a paucity of inelastic neutron scattering data for the majority of the stable nuclides at energies well-above room temperature.  The single largest body of such data was taken at the Al-Tuwaitha research facility outside of Baghdad in the 1970s.  This “Baghdad Atlas” contains neutron scattering data for more than 75 stable nuclides taken over the course of 1000’s of hours of careful experimentation.  Unfortunately, the reactor at Al-Tuwaitha was “decommissioned” in the first Gulf War, and only a handful of copies of the Atlas survived.  The newly formed Data Evaluation for Applied Nuclear Science (DEANS) group at the UC-Berkeley department of nuclear engineering has taken on the task of compiling and evaluating data and performing complementary experiments using neutron sources on the UC campus and laboratories throughout the world.  In this talk I will give an update on the status of neutron scattering data, tell the story of the “Baghdad Atlas” and discuss the steps we are taking in Berkeley to improve our understanding of the interactions of neutrons with the world around us.  This work was supported the US department of energy under grants DE-AC02-05CB11231
(Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory) and DE-AC52-07NA27344 (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory) and the UC Office of the President.

Peering into Thermonuclear Plasmas at the National Ignition Facility

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SPEAKER:
DANIEL CASEY, PH.D. AND LAURA ROBIN BENEDETTI, PH.D.

STAFF SCIENTISTS

LAWRENCE LIVERMORE NATIONAL LABORATORY

DATE/TIME:
MON, 09/14/2015 - 4:00PM TO 5:00PM
LOCATION:
3105 ETCHEVERRY HALL
Fall 2015 Colloquium Series
Abstract:

The goal of inertial confinement fusion (ICF) is to release copious amounts of energy by compressing isotopes of hydrogen to extreme conditions: i.e. densities and pressures, existing only for a few pico-seconds, that exceed those found in the core of our sun. The National Ignition Facility (NIF) was built to explore these conditions and attempt to demonstrate controlled thermonuclear fusion in the laboratory. The diagnoses of these extreme conditions at the short timescales and in the harsh environments where they exist is very challenging indeed.  A suite of world-class diagnostics (including optical, x-ray, and neutron detectors) have been developed to accomplish these goals.  This talk with introduce some basic requirements of ICF and techniques used to diagnose these experiments. Additionally, it will discuss a few techniques we are exploring for the future.

About the Speaker:

Daniel Casey and Laura Robin Benedetti are staff scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory studying inertial confinement fusion (ICF) at the National Ignition Facility (NIF).  They work on diagnosing and understanding the properties of ICF implosions as the implosion achieves its highest densities and temperatures (stagnation).

Daniel Casey also performs experiments to study the growth of hydrodynamic instabilities of imploding capsules that can impede performance.  Previously, he helped design and commission the magnetic recoil spectrometer that measures the neutron spectrum of NIF implosions. Dr. Casey obtained his B.S. degree in Nuclear Engineering from the University of New Mexico (2005) and a Ph. D. in Applied Plasma Physics from the department of Nuclear Science and Engineering at MIT (2012).

Laura Robin Benedetti also probes the properties of materials at extreme pressures, temperatures, and strain rates.  Additionally, she is a world recognized expert at high speed x-ray imaging instruments and related technologies. Prior to working at LLNL she studied the physical and chemical properties of materials in giant planets.  Dr. Benedetti has a B.S. degree in Aerospace Engineering and a B. A. in Philosophy from the University of Southern California (1994) and a Ph.D. in Physics from University of California Berkeley (2001).

The creation of the sword “Berkelium” through authentic Saxon sword manufacturing techniques

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SPEAKER:
HI VO, DAVID FRAZER, NATHAN BAILEY

HOSEMANN GROUP

DEPARTMENT OF NUCLEAR ENGINEERING

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, BERKELEY

DATE/TIME:
MON, 08/31/2015 - 4:00PM TO 5:00PM
LOCATION:
3105 ETCHEVERRY HALL
Fall 2015 Colloquium Series
Abstract:

Last year, a new competition was created at the annual Metals Minerals and Materials Society’s (TMS) conference for smithing historically accurate blades.  Hearing of this challenge, UCB quickly formed a team of students led by Prof. Hosemann.  This teamed joined with local artisan blacksmith Jim Austin for his expert guidance and experience.  Utilizing Saxon sword manufacturing processes, the team smelted magnetite ore into ingots.  These ingots were forged into strips, and forged-welded together to create the body of the blade.  The final shape of the blade was achieved through hand-hammering and lengthy mechanical polishing.  Finally, after a hardening heat treatment, a handle was affixed and the sword “Berkelium” was formed!  Along the way to the completion of the sword, the team characterized samples of the blade material during the manufacturing steps to understand the evolving microstructures during smelting, forging and hardening.  At the TMS conference the UCB team was awarded “best example of a traditional blade process / ore smelting technique.”

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