Three UCBNE Alumni Receive NSSC Awards

Three UCBNE Alumni Receive NSSC Awards

September 3rd, 2021

From Left to Right: Hi Vo, Kelly Kmak, Mark Straub
From Left to Right: Hi Vo, Kelly Kmak, Mark Straub

Three UCBNE alumni have been awarded the 2021 Nuclear Science and Security Consortium's Awards for Outstanding Publication and Outstanding Thesis.

Mark Straub (PhD in Chemistry awarded May 14, 2021) won for Best Reviewed Publication with "Recent Advances in Nuclear Forensic Chemistry", which was featured as a cover article in a special issue of Analytical Chemistry. Read more about this article here.

Kelly Kmak (PhD awarded May 14, 2021) won for Outstanding Thesis for Radiochemistry and Forensics with “Investigation of the 230Th(p,2n)229Pa Reaction as a Route to 225Ac”.

Hi Vo (PhD awarded May 14, 2021) won for Outstanding Thesis for Nuclear Engineering with “Influence of Defects’ Mechanical Stability on Microscale Plasticity and Failure”.

The NSSC Outstanding Publication Award is awarded annually by the Nuclear Science and Security Consortium to the lead author(s) of an outstanding peer-reviewed paper published in the areas of basic and applied science and engineering supporting the nation’s nuclear security and nonproliferation mission.

The NSSC Outstanding Thesis Award is awarded annually by the Nuclear Science and Security Consortium to scholars who have completed an exceptional thesis in the areas of basic and applied science and engineering supporting the nation’s nuclear security and nonproliferation mission.

These highly competitive awards honor NSSC Fellows and Affiliates for their excellent contributions to nuclear security science.

Raluca Scarlat awarded the ANS Mary Jane Oestmann Professional Women’s Achievement Award

Raluca Scarlat awarded the ANS Mary Jane Oestmann Professional Women’s Achievement Award

August 25th, 2021

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Professor Raluca Scarlat has been awarded the 2021 American Nuclear Society's Mary Jane Oestmann Professional Women’s Achievement Award.

The American Nuclear Society's Mary Jane Oestmann Professional Women’s Achievement Award recognizes the outstanding personal dedication and technical achievement by a woman for work she has performed in the fields of nuclear science, engineering, research or education.

Find out more about the Mary Jane Oestmann Professional Women’s Achievement Award here https://www.ans.org/honors/award-oestmann/. 

Congratulations Professor Scarlat!

 

NE Graduate Austin Lo featured in the Titans of Nuclear Podcast

NE Graduate Austin Lo featured in the Titans of Nuclear Podcast

August 23, 2021

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Austin Lo was featured in the latest episode of the Titans of Nuclear podcast. After completing his Ph.D. candidacy at UCBNE in 2020, Austin joined Oak Ridge National Laboratory as a postdoctoral Researcher. Now he joins hundreds of noteworthy experts and professionals in the field to grace the podcast with their expertise, including two of our Professors, Rachel Slaybaugh and Per Peterson (both featured back in 2018).
In episode 329, Austin discusses his dissertation, space nuclear power, the evolution of R&D, and expanding nuclear innovation. Listen, Watch, and/or View show notes here.

 

Titans of Nuclear is an audio encyclopedia of interviews with the greatest minds in Nuclear Energy. The show has been airing since 2018 and was started by Bret Kugelmass, a Stanford MS mechanical engineer, robotics entrepreneur, and climate change thought leader. Bret identified a severe disconnect between nuclear and tech adjacent communities as impediments to innovation, financing, and social acceptance. He has built the podcast in order to help educate around the nuances of the world's most vital clean energy source. He is joined by co-hosts Jadwiga Najder, a Polish nuclear engineer and advocate, and Olubunmi Olajida, a Nigerian energy policy analyst. Titans of Nuclear is enjoyed by over 50,000 subscribers across 147 counties (and counting). If you'd like to recommend a guest or to give us feedback, you can do so here. And if you want to help others find us as well, please take a moment to leave us a review on iTunes.

Secretary of Energy Visits Kairos Power

Secretary of Energy Visits Kairos Power

August 21st, 2021

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On August 18, Kairos Power welcomed U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm and Senator Martin Heinrich at their KP-Southwest testing and manufacturing center in Albuquerque, New Mexico. They were given a tour of the facilities following the Senate passage of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act – a historic piece of legislation that includes investments in clean energy.

On their LinkedIn page they wrote

"We are grateful to be among community members, local leaders, and organizations whose efforts are recognized as positively supporting New Mexico’s clean energy transition and the nation’s decarbonization goals... We would like to extend gratitude to our KP-Southwest team members who worked with flexibility and grace this week to enable a very successful and exciting tour of our facilities."

Kairos currently has over 200 full-time team members and expect to creat at least 65 more high-skilled and high-paying jobs in Albuquerque to support major hardware demonstrations.

Later that week, DOE Secretary Granholm also paid the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (LBNL) a visit. Kairos' Co-Founder and Chief Nuclear Officer, Professor Per Peterson (UC Berkeley, LBNL) commented, "It’s excellent to have strong policy support for clean energy including nuclear."

Similarly, the department celebrates this step towards more clean energy!

SHERMAN: A UCBNE MEng Capstone Project Now Developed at LANL

SHERMAN: A UCBNE MEng Capstone Project Now Developed at LANL

March 12, 2021

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A former MEng Capstone project by Jay Lin was published as a paper last year, and now developed as a product at Los Alamos National Laboratory. It was renamed from RANHAM to SHERMAN (Sample Handling Environment for Radioactive Materials Analysis with Neutrons) and has a commissioning report due in September 2021.

It is planned to hold spend fuel rods for 3D tomography investigations at the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center (LANSCE) accelerator.

To read the published paper: https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007/s11837-019-03849-2.pdf

Looking forward to more excellent news from our Alumni!

UCBNE Researchers and the search for Dark Matter

UCBNE Researchers and the search for Dark Matter

February 12, 2021

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UCBNE Professor Karl van Bibber and his group of researchers were featured on campus news for their recent publication in Nature introducing a new experiment to harness the "weirdness of quantum mechanics to accelerate the search for the axion, one of two leading hypothetical subatomic particles that may make up the bulk of dark matter in the universe."

This new technique, called quantum squeezing, allowed the HAYSTAC detector to search for axions at twice the speed as before. “The HAYSTAC detector was already essentially at the quantum limit, and now we’ve actually found a way of circumventing the quantum limit entirely,” said co-author Karl van Bibber, executive associate dean at Berkeley’s College of Engineering and one of the senior researchers on the HAYSTAC project. “Several theoretical works are now predicting that the axion mass is right in the frequency range where HAYSTAC is ready to go next. And we’ve got the cavities and amplifiers all lined up and ready to search.”

Read more in the glowing Berkeley News Article

Great work and congratulations to the research team, Very exciting developments!

Berkeley Team take first-ever measurements of Einsteinium

Berkeley Team take first-ever measurements of Einsteinium

February 5th, 2021

Leticia Arnedo -Sanchez (from left), Katherine Shield, Korey Carter, Jennifer Wacker at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory on Tuesday, November 17, 2020 in Berkeley, Calif. 11/17/20

Researchers in Rebecca Abergel's lab obtained a small sample of einsteinium, a highly radioactive and difficult-to-obtain element, and made the first ever measurement of its bond distance. The study was published in Nature.

“Structural and Spectroscopic Characterization of an Einsteinium Complex,” has been published in Nature; A study co-led by Berkeley Lab scientist and UC Berkeley Nuclear Engineering (UCBNE) Assistant Professor Rebecca Abergel, Los Alamos National Laboratory (LLNL) scientist Stosh Kozimor, and a team of scientists: study co-authors Korey Carter, Katherine Shield (current UCBNE Grad student), Kurt Smith, Leticia Arnedo-Sanchez, Tracy Mattox, Liane Moreau, and Corwin Booth of Berkeley Lab; Zachary Jones and Stosh Kozimor of Los Alamos National Laboratory; and Jennifer Wacker and Karah Knope of Georgetown University—several of whom are graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.

The research was supported by the DOE Office of Science. Luminescence spectroscopy experiments were conducted at the Molecular Foundry at Berkeley Lab, and X-ray absorption spectroscopy at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL) at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. With experimental facilities not available in 1952, when Einsteinium was discovered, the team measured the first-ever Einsteinium bond distance and with less than 250 nanograms of the element!

“There’s not much known about einsteinium,” said Abergel, who leads Berkeley Lab’s Heavy Element Chemistry group. “It’s a remarkable achievement that we were able to work with this small amount of material and do inorganic chemistry. It’s significant because the more we understand about its chemical behavior, the more we can apply this understanding for the development of new materials or new technologies, not necessarily just with einsteinium, but with the rest of the actinides too. And we can establish trends in the periodic table.”

Read more on their challenges and findings in this LBL news piece

Congratulations Professor Abergel and Kathy Shield! —from your UCBNE family.

More News coverage:

Nature

Chemistry world

The Nuclear Science and Security Consortium wins 5-year NNSA Grant for the third time

The Nuclear Science and Security Consortium wins 5-year NNSA Grant for the third time

January 27, 2021

Bay Area Neutron Group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory on 08/22/2017 in Berkeley, Calif.

The Berkeley-based center, the NSSC, has won the National Nuclear Security Administration's (NSSA) 5-year, $25 million grant for the third time in a row. The NNSA first awarded the NSSC with a $25 million grant in 2011, then in 2016, and now for Sept. 2021. UC Berkeley's Nuclear Engineering Department Chair, Professor Peter Hosemann, highlights  this "is particularly notable given that most centers only receive it once or twice."

There is a recompetition for the grant every 5 years, as detailed by UCB Nuclear Engineering professor and NSSC program director, Jasmina Vujic: “We have to recompete — this is not renewal — every single time, meaning we have to write an entirely new proposal, have an entirely new team, and compete on a national level against anybody else."

The NSSC has supported over 550 undergraduates, graduates, postdoctoral students, faculty and specialists throughout its history. Focusing most of its funding to student support. “The consortium provides a strong draw for students into nuclear security and nonproliferation research areas,” said NSSC executive director and UCB researcher Bethany Goldblum in an email. “These scholars will go on to be leaders in nuclear nonproliferation, nuclear arms control, nuclear incident response, nuclear energy, and other nuclear-related fields.” 

We congratulate Professor Vujic, Dr. Goldblum, and those that contributed to the successful proposal. To another successful and fruitful 5 years ahead!

Read more on the Daily Cal's feature

Kairos Power’s Hermes, one of the Risk Reduction Projects awarded by DOE’s Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program

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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced the projects to be funded by its Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program (ARDP) award for Risk Reduction funding. Kairos Power LLC (Alameda, CA) was selected and will be awarded $629 million over seven years (DOE share is $303 million) and will receive $30 million in initial funding for FY20.

A recognition for the Hermes Reduced-Scale Test Reactor and Kairos's progress in developing its commercial-scale KP-FHR (Kairos Power Fluoride Salt-Cooled High Temperature Reactor): "a novel advanced nuclear reactor technology that leverages TRI-structural ISOtropic particle fuel (TRISO) fuel in pebble form combined with a low-pressure fluoride salt coolant."

 

DOE's announcement

NE MEng Alumni, Joshua McCumber writes about balancing academics and work in new blog on Medium

NE MEng Alumni, Joshua McCumber writes about balancing academics and work in new blog on Medium

MONDAY, OCT 15TH 2018

 

In his new blog post on Medium entitled "A Nuclear Balance: UC Berkeley’s MEng program and full-time work," Joshua McCumber shares his story, his challenges and triumphs as a nuclear engineer.

At Berkeley, the intellect and curiosity of fellow students were the best I have ever experienced.

Check out the full article here.