Professors Abergel, Fratoni, Hosemann Receive U.S. Department of Energy NEUP Grants

Professors Abergel, Fratoni, Hosemann Received U.S. Department of Energy NEUP Grants

June 17th, 2022

Untitled design

The Nuclear Engineering department received DOE Nuclear Energy related research awards of 4.7M$ as a lead institution and further funding as a collaborating institution. These funds will support several different research programs.

The Integrated Research Program lead by Professor Fratoni entitled "Bridging the gap between experiments and modeling
to improve the design of molten salt reactors".

The NEUP lead by Professor Abergel entitled "Advanced Screening Approaches for Accelerating Development of
Separations Technologies".

The NEUP lead by Professor Hosemann "High throughput mechanical testing of additively-manufactured materials" will utilize femto second laser ablation in combination with the automated microscale tensile tester to evaluate additive manufactured materials and generate data for quality control and ML approaches together with microstructure analysis.

The NEUP lead by Professor Hosemann "Science-Based Development of ASTM standard tests for graphite-based fuel pebbles" together with X-energy, ORNL and the University of Florida, will use conventional methods and develop new methods to obtain a fundamental understanding of the failure modes in pebble fuels during use and to quantify the failure rate to proctor quality control and predict performance.

Find out more here.




Per Peterson Awarded the ANS Walter Zinn Medal 

Per Peterson Awarded the ANS Walter Zinn Medal 

June 9th, 2022


Professor Per Peterson has been awarded the 2022 American Nuclear Society's Walter H. Zinn Medal in recognition of "his contributions to the development of technologies for passive safety in nuclear reactors, and his leadership to develop and commercialize fluoride salt–cooled high-temperature reactors".

The Walter H. Zinn Medal recognizes an individual for outstanding contributions to the advancement or implementation of nuclear technology. This award is to recognize notable and sustained technical contribution, leadership, or other service that has not been widely recognized, and is considered one of highest honors ANS has to give.

Find out more here.

Congratulations Professor Peterson!



What can nuclear engineering learn from design research? Integrating theory and evidence from contemporary nuclear reactor design into policy design


Aditi Verma


FRI, 04/29/2022 - 3:00PM TO 4:00PM
3105 Etcheverry Hall


While nuclear reactor design is recognized as an essential skill and intellectual output of academic nuclear engineering, little attention has been paid within the discipline to the structure of the reactor design process and how factors beyond physical constraints influence design outcomes. In this talk, I describe the first systematic exploration of the nuclear reactor design process through the application of methodological and theoretical tools developed within the mechanical engineering design research field. Empirically based on a study of 27 American and 5 French contemporary reactor projects, this work examines how reactor designers make decisions in the early foundational stages of design such as conceptualizing the available design space and making design choices around cost, safety, and performance. The findings of this study reveal that the structure of the design process and its outcomes are significantly shaped by the identity and expertise of the designer as well as the site of the design work.

They also highlight the importance of social determinants of design outcomes particularly in the early, critical stages of design, and point to the need for a richer understanding of the reactor design process that goes beyond the long-held view focused on engineering analysis as propounded in nuclear engineering pedagogy. A deeper comprehension of these determinants of design outcomes is likely to yield valuable insights for design practice, pedagogical purposes, and chiefly for the creation and implementation of policies in the nuclear energy sector. In closing the talk, I will briefly describe some of these future research directions.


Dr. Aditi Verma joined NERS in the Fall of 2021 as an Assistant Research Scientist and will become an Assistant Dr. Verma joined NERS in the Fall of 2021 as an Assistant Research Scientist and will become an Assistant Professor in the Fall of 2022. She will also support and interact with the Fastest Path team as a Faculty Associate. Verma is a Visiting Scholar at the Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs’s Project on Managing the Atom, and former Stanton Nuclear Security Postdoctoral Fellow at the Belfer Center where she was jointly appointed by the Project on Managing the Atom and the International Security Program. At MIT, she was a Burchard Scholar and a Kelly-Douglas Fellow.

Imaging at the Speed of Light – Reconstruction-Free Radionuclide Imaging

SACRAMENTO, Calif., July 27, 2015

At UC Davis campus Dr. Simon Cherry  on July 27, 2015.

Photo by Robert Durell

Simon R. Cherry Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering and Department of Radiology

FRI, 04/22/2022 - 3:00PM TO 4:00PM
3105 Etcheverry Hall

Positron emission tomography (PET) is a widely used medical imaging technique, and like many other tomographic imaging modalities, relies on an image reconstruction step to produce cross-sectional images. Detection and localization of the back-to-back annihilation photons produced by positron-electron annihilation defines the trajectories of these photons, which when combined with tomographic reconstruction algorithms, permits recovery of the spatial distribution of positron-emitting radionuclides.  Time-of-flight information, typically at the level of 200-400 ps in modern PET systems is used to constrain the reconstruction process. Once the time-of-flight resolution is improved by an order of magnitude to ~30 ps, a new regime is encountered where radioactive decay events can be directly localized without the need for tomographic reconstruction. In this presentation we show how prompt Cherenkov luminescence, photodetectors with very fast single photon response times, and deep-learning based timing pickoff algorithms are combined in an ultra-fast radiation detector to achieve a timing resolution of 32 ps, localizing positron-electron annihilation sites to 4.8 mm.  We also show this is sufficient to directly generate a cross-sectional image of positron-emitting radiotracers.

Simon R. Cherry, Ph.D. received his B.Sc.(Hons) in Physics with Astronomy from University College London and a Ph.D. in Medical Physics from the Institute of Cancer Research, University of London. He is currently Professor in the Departments of Biomedical Engineering and Radiology at the University of California, Davis. Dr. Cherry’s research interests focus on the development and application of biomedical imaging systems. Dr. Cherry is a fellow of six professional societies and served as Editor-in-Chief of the journal Physics in Medicine and Biology from 2011-2020. Dr. Cherry was elected as a member of the National Academy of Engineering in 2016 and to the National Academy of Inventors in 2017.


Kairos Power receives 2022 BloombergNEF Pioneer Award

Kairos Power receives 2022 BloombergNEF Pioneer Award

April 14th, 2022


BloombergNEF has announced its twelve winners of the 2022 BNEF Pioneers program, including Department of Nuclear Engineering professor Per Peterson and alumni Mike Laufer and their team at Kairos Power. Kairos Power was recognized for its "novel advanced nuclear reactor technology to complement renewable energy sources". For over a decade, this program has sought to identify and highlight technological innovations that accelerate global decarbonization and halt climate change.

You can read more about this achievement here.

UCBNE CUORE Collaboration and the Search for Matter

UCBNE CUORE Collaboration and the Search for Matter

April 6th, 2022


"Search for Majorana neutrinos exploiting millikelvin cryogenics with CUORE" has been published in Nature. The Cryogenic Underground Observatory for Rare Events (CUORE, Italian for “heart”) is one of several next generation neutrinoless double-beta decay (0νββ) experiments. Affilated with the published article include those from the UC Berkeley Department of Physics, the Nuclear Science Division of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the Engineering Divison of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, as well as the UC Berkeley Department of Nuclear Engineering.

The link to the article can be found here. And further coverage of the article can be found here.

Raluca Scarlat Selected for U.S. Department of Energy’s Nuclear Advisory Team

Raluca Scarlat Selected for U.S. Department of Energy's Nuclear Advisory Team

February 9th, 2022

Raluca Scarlat is among eleven members named to the Department of Energy's Nuclear Energy Advisory Committee, which advises the secretary and the assistant secretary for nuclear energy on current priorities in the department's programs. "A change in the structure and focus in NEAC will help DOE act more quickly and effectively to research advances in nuclear power to meet the nation's energy, environmental, and national security needs,” said Andy Griffith, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Fuel Cycle and Supply Chain. NEAC is structured to provide input from multiple perspectives, with Raluca Scarlat representing the university perspective.

Raluca Scarlat is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Nuclear Engineering, heads the SALT Laboratory at University of California Berkeley, and is the recipient of the ANS Mary Jane Oestmann Award. Professor Scarlat has expertise in high temperature chemistry and materials for advanced reactors, reactor design and safety analysis, and engineering ethics.

Max Fratoni selected for the UC Berkeley Faculty Leadership Academy

Max Fratoni selected for the UC Berkeley Faculty Leadership Academy 

November 17 , 2021


Professor Max Fratoni was selected for the UC Berkeley Fall 2022 Faculty Leadership Academy. This multidisciplinary leadership development program is intended for tenured faculty who are interested in developing skills and knowledge for leadership on the Berkeley campus.

Find out more about the Faculty Leadership Academy: and its selections for the Fall 2022 cohort:

Congratulations Professor Fratoni!

UCBNE Graduate Student Jaewon Lee Wins 3rd Place at IEEE Nuclear Science Symposium and Medical Imaging Conference

UCBNE Graduate Student Jaewon Lee Wins 3rd Place at IEEE Nuclear Science Symposium and Medical Imaging Conference

November 3 , 2021


UCBNE graduate student Jaewon Lee won 3rd place in the student competition of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Nuclear Science Symposium and Medical Imaging Conference that took place on October 16th-23rd, 2021.

His submission, "Single Detector 3D Source Imaging Using a Kullback-Leibler Divergence Based Prior", improves the ability in the localization and mapping of radioactive materials in three dimensions in unconstrained environments overcoming challenges in conventional approaches.

In addition to Jaewon's presentation, eight other students of the Berkeley Applied Nuclear Physics program gave presentations: Kalie Knecht, Yifan Zheng, Ivan Cho, Jake Hecla, Robin Peter, Chris Lamb, Matt Marshall, and Michael Bondin.

Read more about the IEEE Nuclear Science Symposium and Medical Imaging Conference here.

Congratulations Jaewon!

RadWatch & DoseNet: building scientific literacy through a network of radiation and environmental sensors


**In-Person only**

Ali Hanks

Lecturer and Assistant Project Scientist in Nuclear Engineering

University of California, Berkeley

FRI, 09/10/2021 - 3:00PM TO 4:00PM
3105 Etcheverry Hall

The 2011 Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant accident serves as an example of the risks associated with energy technologies and the need to minimize physical as well as psychological effects on local and global communities. We have established the RadWatch and DoseNet community outreach programs to enhance the public understanding of risks associated with radiation exposure. The RadWatch program works to provide transparent, relevant measurements of radioactivity in our environment through measurements of locally sourced fish and produce. The ongoing monitoring of radiation in our environment provides the public with a clear baseline for what is “normal”. This work has since been expanded to include the use of neutron activation analyses to determine the concentrations of heavy metals in such samples, further contextualizing previous radiological measurements and our environmental impact. Similarly, the DoseNet project was developed to bring radiation and environmental data into classrooms and connect directly with students. DoseNet is a network of radiation and environmental sensors connecting schools in the Bay Area, Japan, and around the world. The DoseNet program has used this network to recruit a handful of high school students each summer as interns. These programs represent parts of a multidisciplinary undertaking to educate the next generation about radiation science, improve scientific literacy, and improve our communication of technical concepts to our communities.

Ali Hanks is a Lecturer and Project Scientist in the Department of Nuclear Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. Her research is focused on advancements in radiation detection and imaging  technologies. As head of the RadWatch and DoseNet outreach programs, a large part of her work focused on the applications of advanced radiation detection technologies towards public education and outreach. Dr. Hanks received her Ph.D. in High Energy Nuclear Physics from Columbia University as part of the PHENIX collaboration. She spent 4 years as a Postdoctoral Fellow at Stony Brook University, and then at UC Berkeley where she had a joint Postdoctoral position in the Physics and Nuclear Engineering departments. She has been an Assistant Project Scientist in the Department of Nuclear Engineering since 2017, and has worked as a Lecturer the last three years teaching a new course she designed based on her work with students in the DoseNet program.

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

Student Services