Applied nuclear science and engineering at Los Alamos

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SPEAKER:
MARK CHADWICK
DATE/TIME:
MON, 02/10/2020 - 4:00PM TO 5:00PM
LOCATION:
3105 ETCHEVERRY HALL
Spring 2020 Colloquium Series
Co-hosted with NSSC
Abstract:

I will describe research at Los Alamos that is advancing our US nuclear technology capabilities. Some of the applied areas we are working on are described: stockpile stewardship, and nuclear threat reduction. Experimental and simulation work related to our LANSCE facility, and our work at Nevada, are discussed.

About the Speaker:

Mark Chadwick obtained his PhD from Oxford and has had a thirty year career at Los Alamos. He led the simulation code division (that includes the MCNP) and has led the DOE/NNSA Science Campaigns program that funds experimental work at LANL. He also leads  the multi-lab US collaboration effort on cross section evaluations for the ENDF (evaluated neutron data file) database. Chadwick is an APS Fellow and a Los Alamos Laboratory Fellow.

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National Academy of Engineering

Professor Per Peterson, Elected to the National Academy of Engineering

February 07, 2020

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The Nuclear Engineering Department would like to recognize our very own Professor Per Peterson on his elected membership to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). Per Peterson was elected for his distinguished contributions in experimental and analytical research for the design and development of passive safety systems for advanced nuclear reactors.

Election to the National Academy of Engineering is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer. Academy membership honors those who have made outstanding contributions to "engineering research, practice, or education, including, where appropriate, significant contributions to the engineering literature" and to "the pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering, or developing/implementing innovative approaches to engineering education."

For more information, click here.

Fung Feature: Juhi Nandwani, MEng ’20 (NE)

Fung Feature: Juhi Nandwani, MEng ’20 (NE)

January 24, 2020

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One of our MEng students, Juhi Nandwani, MEng' 20 (NE) was featured on the Fung Institutes website for her work on growing the healthcare system in Belize and the importance of self-care.

The feature highlights her background as well as what inspired her to work in the field of nuclear engineering. She says, "My parents always advised me that choosing a career path is not about fiscal outcomes; rather, it is about pursuing a career that will bring you happiness. After years of considering what I would be happy doing every day, I finally chose nuclear engineering and radiological sciences, a field that changed my life greatly while I was working towards obtaining my radiation therapist license. The lack of radiation oncology in the medical field in my home country, Belize, initially led me to radiation therapy as a baccalaureate major. Belize as a country does not have the equipment and funds to invest in a radiation oncology department in any of our hospitals at this time. This task is in the hands of the current and future generations."

Keep up the good work Juhi! To read the full article, click here.

Compact accelerators and photon sources using laser-driven plasma acceleration

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SPEAKER:
CARL B. SHROEDER
DATE/TIME:
MON, 01/27/2020 - 4:00PM TO 5:00PM
LOCATION:
3105 ETCHEVERRY HALL
Spring 2020 Colloquium Series
Abstract:

Plasma waves can support extremely large accelerating fields, several orders of magnitude greater than conventional accelerators. Hence they can provide a compact method of generating energetic charged particle beams.  Plasma waves suitable for particle acceleration may be resonantly excited using the radiation pressure from intense, high-power, ultrashort laser pulses.  Laser-driven plasma accelerator experiments at the BELLA (BErkeley Lab Laser Accelerator) Facility at LBNL have demonstrated electron beams accelerated to multi-GeV energies over cm-scale plasmas.  Compact electron beams at GeV energies are being used to develop novel compact photon sources, including free electron lasers and MeV photons from Thomson scattering.  In this talk I will review recent experimental progress in the field, the path to higher energies and higher beam brightness, as well as potential applications of plasma-based accelerator technology.

About the Speaker:

Carl B. Schroeder is a Senior Scientist in the Accelerator Technology & Applied Physics Division, and Deputy Director of the BELLA Center at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.  He received his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1999.  He then was a UCLA postdoctoral fellow, where his research focused on the development of x-ray free-electron lasers at SLAC.  He joined LBNL in 2001, where his chief research interests have been the development of advanced accelerator concepts, plasma-based accelerators, and novel radiation sources.  He received the 2010 APS Dawson Award for Excellence in Plasma Physics Research, and became a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 2012.

Best Paper Awards

Announcing: The 2019 UC Berkeley's Nuclear Engineering Department Best Paper Awards

December 13, 2019

This past Friday, our department chair Peter Hosemann continues his annual holiday tradition and gave out the 2019 UC Berkeley's Nuclear Engineering Department Best Paper Awards to eight students at this year's holiday party.

Let's celebrate the following students for their amazing work:

  1. David Frazer for his publication entitled "Plasticity of UO2 studied and quantified via elevated temperature micro compression testing" in the Journal of Nuclear Materials.
  2. Kylie Bilton for his publication entitled “Non-negative Matrix Factorization of Gamma-Ray Spectra for Background Modeling, Detection, and Source Identification” in IEEE Transactions in Nuclear Science.
  3. Adriana Sweet for her publication entitled “Radiative-capture cross sections for the 139La(n, g) reaction using thermal neutrons and structural properties of 140La” in Physical Review C.
  4. Marissa Ramirez De Chanlette for her publication entitled "A Two-Grid and Nonlinear Diffusion Acceleration Method for the SN Equations with Neutron Upscattering." in the Journal of Computational Transport Theory.
  5. Tyler Bailey for his publication entitled “Biodistribution Studies of Chelated Ce-134/La-134 as Positron-Emitting Analogues of Alpha-Emitting Therapy Radionuclides” in the Journal of Nuclear Medicine.
  6. Amanda Lewis for her publication entitled "Ratio method for estimating uncertainty in calculated gamma cascades" in the European Physical Journal A.
  7. Jonathan Morrell for his publication entitled "Boutique neutrons advance 40Ar/39Ar-geochronology" in Science Advances.
  8. Daniel Wooten for his publication entitled "Linear Optimization for Predicting Material Compositions in Molten Salt Reactors" in the Annals of Nuclear Energy.

Congratulations to all the winners and a special thank you to those who were able to attend the event. Happy Holidays!

The State of the Nuclear Industry

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SPEAKER:
KURT EDSINGER
DATE/TIME:
MON, 12/09/2019 - 4:00PM TO 5:00PM
LOCATION:
3105 ETCHEVERRY HALL
Fall 2019 Colloquium Series
Abstract: In many ways, nuclear power has never been more needed than right now, but the challenges that nuclear power is experiencing in many parts of the world are substantial and largely tied to economics.  In the U.S., plants are shutting down before the end of their licensed lifetime. There are several factors at play, but their sustainability and longevity are largely reflective of their inability to compete in their marketplace.  Outside of the U.S., plants are experiencing similar pressures to reduce costs. The industry is exploring technology to increase competitiveness and have recognized a few successes and a number of additional opportunities. They are also looking beyond electricity to markets such as hydrogen and ammonia.

Nuclear power is also an important consideration for the future, and models of the future generation generally point to a significant role for nuclear.  However, new nuclear construction projects have experienced a series of cost overruns and schedule challenges. New designs that can be built more quickly and at lower cost are needed to compete in an environment that demands lower total life cycle costs.

Bio: Dr. Kurt Edsinger is the Director of Materials & Advanced Nuclear at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). The primary system materials area at EPRI consists of three major programs, BWR Vessel and Internals Program (BWRVIP), PWR Materials Reliability Program (MRP), and Steam Generator Management Program (SGMP), along with a group focused specifically on non-U.S. materials challenges overseen by the International Materials Research (IMR) committee. These activities include near- term efforts to resolve current issues and basic R&D to address longer-term issues and support the viability of the industry. The advanced nuclear area focuses on technologies and R&D to enable deployment of the next generation of plants, both light water reactors and non-light water reactors, led by the Advanced Nuclear Technology (ANT) program. Prior to his current role in Materials & Advanced Nuclear, Dr. Edsinger held a number of roles of increasing responsibility in EPRI’s Nuclear Sector, including Director of Fuel and Chemistry, and Manager of the Fuel Reliability Program (FRP). Before joining EPRI, he managed the Materials Technology Group for General Electric. In that position, he led a group of scientists and engineers in resolving BWR fuel performance issues, developing new fuel products, and demonstrating fuel reliability margins. Dr. Edsinger received a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering from San Jose State University and a Doctorate degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a dissertation on fracture in structural steels.

Plutonium and Uranium from Weapons Testing

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SPEAKER:
Kiel Holliday
DATE/TIME:
MON, 11/25/2019 - 4:00PM TO 5:00PM
LOCATION:
3105 ETCHEVERRY HALL
Fall 2019 Colloquium Series
Abstract:

It’s not immediately intuitive to think of an explosion as a reducing environment. After all, a conventional explosion is an oxidative process. In the case of a nuclear explosion; however, it has been known since 1975 that large amounts of iron in the surrounding environment can be reduced to its ferrous form. 1. An explanation for this is not readily available based on mass balances and equilibrium redox conditions. There has been speculation as to the nature of actinide oxidation states under these conditions based on condensation temperatures and fractionation. 2. This work is the first direct measurement of the oxidation state of plutonium in historic fallout and improves upon previous measurements of uranium and iron. 3. In addition to the oxidation state, the local chemistry surrounding the actinides in fallout debris will ultimately dictate its long-term stability. To investigate what phase contains these actinides in fallout we combined autoradiography with scanning electron microscopy – energy dispersive spectroscopy to map which elements co-locate with plutonium. This lead to some insight into the factors that ultimately drive plutonium concentrations in fallout debris.

About the Speaker:

 Kiel Holiday is Group Leader for the Chemistry of Nuclear Materials Group in the Materials Science Division. He received his Ph.D. in Radiochemistry from University of Nevada, Las Vegas in 2009. He completed a two-year post-doc with the Institut für Nukleare Entsorgung (INE) in Karlsruhe, Germany before joining the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in 2011. Kiel has experience in solid-state synthesis and characterization of actinide materials by various X-rays and electron techniques. Kiel currently performs research in the chemical processing of nuclear materials for stockpile stewardship, nuclear forensics, and innovations in manufacturing.

Investigating Uranium(VI) Sorption and Mobility in Future Nuclear Waste Repositories

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SPEAKER:
RUTH M. TINNACHER
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, EAST BAY
DATE/TIME:
MON, 11/18/2019 - 4:00PM TO 5:00PM
LOCATION:
3105 ETCHEVERRY HALL
Fall 2019 Colloquium Series
Abstract:

Most nuclear waste repository options include an engineered barrier system surrounding waste containers in order to minimize the release of radioactive contaminants into the environment after waste package failure and waste form degradation. The proposed buffer material in these barrier systems is compacted bentonite, a natural, geologic material largely consisting of montmorillonite clay. Uranium (U) is the primary element in spent nuclear fuel, and a relevant, environmental contaminant of water resources. Uranium sorption onto clay and its slow diffusive transport away from waste canisters are expected to limit U(VI) mobility in future engineered barrier systems. However, a prediction of these processes is complicated by the complex mineralogical structure of montmorillonite clay, and the effects of evolving chemical and thermal conditions on U(VI) solution speciation, sorption and transport behavior. In this talk, we will provide an overview of the relevant parameters and processes that are expected to govern uranium mobility in future engineered barrier systems, and characterize the effects of chemical solution conditions and temperature on U(VI) sorption and diffusion behavior based on results from our ongoing experimental and modeling studies.

This research is being performed using funding received from the DOE Office of Nuclear Energy's Nuclear Energy University Program (Federal Grant Number: DE-NE0008683).

About the Speaker:

Ruth M. Tinnacher has been an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry at California State University East Bay since Fall 2016. She completed M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in ‘Environmental Science and Engineering’ at the Colorado School of Mines in May 2001 and December 2008, as well as a Dipl. Ing. (Equiv. M.Eng.) in ‘Chemical Process Engineering in Industrial Environmental Protection’ at the University of Leoben, Austria in 2000. After working as a Postdoctoral Fellow at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory for three years, she joined Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory as a Project Scientist in July 2011. In her research, Dr. Tinnacher investigates environmental geochemistry problems that are driven by energy- and climate-related questions. Her primary research focus has been on the environmental impacts of nuclear energy and waste, with a particular interest in the mobility of radioactive contaminants in subsurface environments. In addition, she is also interested in the impacts of geologic CO2 sequestration and hydraulic fracturing on groundwater quality, and the link between environmental geochemistry and carbon cycling.

The Future of China’s Nuclear Power Program

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SPEAKER:
MARK HIBBS
DATE/TIME:
MON, 11/04/2019 - 4:00PM TO 5:00PM
LOCATION:
3105 ETCHEVERRY HALL
Fall 2019 Colloquium Series
Abstract:

China today, after three decades of forced development and deployments, is poised to become the world’s leading nuclear power country during the first half of this century. If China succeeds, it will surpass all advanced nuclear power countries that failed so far to effect a transition from light-water reactors to fast reactors with a closed fuel cycle; in recent years China launched initial industrial-scale projects toward the achievement of this goal. But during the 2020s and beyond the environment for nuclear power development in China will constrain China’s resolve and capacity in several areas. These include deepening contradictions in electricity policy, challenges in technology development, the evolution of government and industry risk assessment, the persisting impact from the Fukushima accident, and the maturing of China’s political economy.

About the Speaker:

Mark Hibbs is Senior Fellow in the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, D.C. His research is focused on international nuclear trade, national nuclear power programs, and international nuclear governance. Hibbs has assisted the participating governments of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the leading global multilateral nuclear trade control arrangement, and is the author of the Carnegie report The Future of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, published in 2011. In 2012 Hibbs co-authored with James Acton a report on Why Fukushima Was Preventable. In 2014 Hibbs authored a study on Turkey’s policies concerning the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and the NSG, as part of a project called Turkey’s Nuclear Future. Since 2012, Hibbs has led a project at Carnegie supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation concerning decision making in China’s nuclear energy program. In 2018 Hibbs published the final report from this project as a book: The Future of Nuclear Power in China; the Mandarin-language version of this report was published in China in 2019.

How to Deliver the Goods Through Application of Quality Assurance Principles

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SPEAKER:
DAREN JENSEN
DATE/TIME:
MON, 10/30/2019 - 6:00PM TO 7:00PM
LOCATION:
3105 ETCHEVERRY HALL
Fall 2019 Colloquium Series
Abstract:

This colloquium will discuss why it is important to embrace quality assurance principles for research programs in order to create a competitive advantage, enhance the research reputation, and gain customer confidence: “delivering the goods”.

About the Speaker:

Mr. Daren Jensen is the owner of Optimum Performance Solutions consulting and has over thirty-three years of experience in managing and implementing complex nuclear quality assurance programs and providing consulting services. He is the former QA Manager for the Nuclear Energy University Programs (NEUP) and is the current QA Program Manager for the Idaho National Laboratory where he led the effort in preparing for and achieving the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Nuclear Quality Assurance (NQA-1) certification for the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) QA program. He has a B.S in Physics from Idaho State University and an M.S in Industrial Safety from the University of Idaho.  He is a Six Sigma Blackbelt and a certified Quality Management System Lead Auditor. Mr. Jensen is the Chair of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) NQA-1 Applications Subcommittee and a Member of the NQA-1 Executive and Standard (Main) Committees.