NRC Commission Issues Construction Permit for Hermes Demonstration Reactor

NRC Commission Issues Construction Permit for Hermes Demonstration Reactor

December 12, 2023

Logo courtesy of Kairos Power
Logo courtesy of Kairos Power

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has approved a construction permit to Kairos Power for the Hermes non-power demonstration reactor to be built in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The demonstrator reactor is intended to provide operational data to support the development of a larger version for commercial power targeted in the early 2030s. The Hermes series aims to help mitigate technology, licensing, supply chain, and construction risk to achieve cost certainty for Kairos Power’s fluoride salt-cooled, high-temperature reactor (KP-FHR) technology.

UCBNE faculty Per Peterson is one of the co-founders of Kairos Power alongside UCBNE alumn Mike Laufer.

Read the Kairos Power write-up and NRC press release.

Per Peterson Reappointed to Diablo Canyon Independent Safety Committee

Per Peterson Reappointed to Diablo Canyon Independent Safety Committee

December 7, 2023

Per_Peterson
Governor Gavin Newson has reappointed UCBNE faculty Per Peterson to the Diablo Canyon Independent Safety Committee (DCISC), a position Peterson has held since 2008. First created in 1990, the DCISC is a 3-person committee tasked with reviewing and making recommendations regarding the safety of PG&E's Diablo Canyon Power Plant located in San Luis Obispo County. 

"Per F. Peterson, of Berkeley, has been reappointed to the Diablo Canyon Independent Safety Committee, where he has served since 2008. Peterson has been Chief Nuclear Officer at Kairos Power since 2017 and a Professor in the Department of Nuclear Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley since 1990. He was Executive Associate Dean at the University of California, Berkeley from 2015 to 2017. Peterson is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the American Nuclear Society. He earned a Doctor of Engineering degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Master of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. This position does not require Senate confirmation and there is no state compensation. Peterson is a Democrat.”

Peterson will serve alongside Peter Lam and Robert J. Budnitz.

Learn more about the DCISC and how the public can get involved in meetings and tours.

UCBNE Faculty and Research Showcased in Berkeley Engineering Magazine

UCBNE Faculty and Research Showcased in Berkeley Engineer Magazine

November 7, 2023

Photo from Berkeley Engineering
Photo from Berkeley Engineering
UCBNE faculty Raluca Scarlat, Per Peterson, and Peter Hosemann were featured in the Fall 2023 edition of Berkeley Engineer magazine in an article titled "Nuclear power renaissance". The article highlights their research and insight on molten salt technologies for advanced nuclear energy systems. Read the full article here.

Raluca Scarlat Promoted to Associate Professor

Raluca Scarlat Promoted to Associate Professor

October 19, 2023

UC Berkeley nuclear engineering professor Raluca Scarlat in her Etcheverry Hall lab in Berkeley, Calif. on Friday, March 4, 2022. (Photo by Adam Lau/Berkeley Engineering)
The UC Berkeley Nuclear Engineering Department is pleased to announce that Raluca Scarlat has been promoted to Associate Professor with tenure. Raluca joined the department in January 2019, and since then has made extensive contributions to the department and great accomplishments in research. She has built up the SALT lab with world class capabilities in the area of molten fluoride chemistry and has established herself has an international renowned expert in this field. Raluca has taken over the instruction of the course Engineering Thermodynamics- ENGIN 40 and has made substantial efforts to modernize the class. In addition, Raluca has put a lot of effort in supporting our students at all stages, working with ANS, as an example, to establish a peer mentoring program.

We look forward to see her continuing to thrive. Congratulations Raluca!

Gamma Reality, Inc: DOE and ANS Articles Spotlight Startup Founded by Kai Vetter and UCBNE Alumni Andy Haefner and Ryan Pavlovsky

GRI Logo

Gamma Reality, Inc: DOE and ANS Articles Spotlight Startup Founded by Kai Vetter and UCBNE Alumni Andy Haefner and Ryan Pavlovsky

October 6, 2023

GRI Logo
Logo courtesy of Gamma Reality, Inc.

UCBNE alumni Andy Haefner and Ryan Pavlovsky, alongside professor Kai Vetter, have worked to develop and commercialize real-time, 3D radiation mapping instruments through their work at LBNL and startup Gamma Reality, Inc. Their scene-data fusion enabled instruments have been increasingly adopted by nuclear power plants across the US, Canada, and Switzerland.

Learn more about the creation of Gamma Reality, Inc. in the full DOE article, and the applications of its technologies in the full ANS article.

Karl van Bibber Group Awarded 5-Year U.S. Department of Energy Grant

Karl van Bibber Group Awarded 5-Year U.S. Department of Energy Grant   

September 29, 2023

NDR03762-positive-Edit

The group of professor Karl van Bibber has been awarded a $1.1M grant for five years from the Department of Energy, for the proposal "Innovative metamaterials and quantum amplifiers for very high mass dark matter axion searches".  This work supports research and development of novel microwave resonators of metallic or dielectric microstructures whose plasma frequency can be engineered and tuned. The development of such devices would open up the possibility of experiments searching for the dark matter of the universe in the form of a very light hypothetical particle, the axion which can resonantly convert to a weak radio signal in a strong magnetic field. Berkeley's partners in the proposal, a group at the University of Colorado led by Konrad Lehnert will also receive $1.1M for R&D on innovative quantum amplifiers and quantum acceleration schemes at very high frequencies.

The not so secret guide to being a Berkeley Engineer

The not so secret guide to being a Berkeley Engineer

September 19th, 2023

Episode-716

On this week's episode of The (Not So) Secret Guide to Being a Berkeley Engineer our own NE Professor Bethany L. Goldblum gives advice alongside other amazing Berkeley Engineering professors to students.

If you want to learn how to gain the most out of your first semester at Berkeley and the best resources on campus, listen to the podcast episode.

To learn more click the link: https://engineering.berkeley.edu/podcast/ess-716-tips-from-berkeley-engineering-faculty/

Kai Vetter Featured in NYT, CBS Articles on Fukushima Water Release

Kai Vetter Featured in NYT, CBS Articles on Fukushima Water Release

September 14, 2023

Vetter

Professor Kai Vetter was featured alongside other nuclear science experts in the August 29th, 2023 article of the New York Times, "China’s Disinformation Fuels Anger Over Fukushima Water Release" to comment on the Fukushima waste water release plan. Additionally, he was featured in the September 14th, 2023 CBS News article, "Radioactive discharge from Fukushima nuclear plant raising concerns on California coast".

Read the full NYT article and CBS News article.

New Department Chair Announcement: Max Fratoni

New Department Chair Announcement: Massimiliano Fratoni

July 1, 2023

Fratoni

The UC Berkeley Nuclear Engineering Department is pleased to announce our new department chair Massimiliano Fratoni.

Massimiliano Fratoni is Xenel Distinguished Associate Professor in the Department of Nuclear Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley (UCB).

He received a Laurea in Nuclear Engineering from Sapienza Università di Roma (Italy), and a MSc and a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley.

Prior to joining the Nuclear Engineering Department at UCB, he held a Research Scientist position at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and a faculty position at The Pennsylvania State University.

Prof. Fratoni’s main research interests are in sustainable nuclear energy through advanced reactors and advanced fuel cycles that maximize natural resource utilization and minimize nuclear waste. During his career, Prof. Fratoni has worked on several advanced reactor concepts including molten salt reactors, both solid and liquid fuel, sodium and lead cooled fast reactors, reduced moderation boiling water reactors, accident tolerant fuel and fusion reactors. He also worked on machine learning application in nuclear data and waste repository performance.

New Faculty Announcement: Bethany Goldblum

New Faculty Announcement: Bethany Goldblum

July 1st, 2023

Bethany

The UC Berkeley Nuclear Engineering Department is pleased to announce new faculty member Dr. Bethany L. Goldblum. She joins the department as an Associate Professor in Fall 2023.

Goldblum is a Faculty Scientist in the Nuclear Science Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. She is also Executive Director of the Nuclear Science and Security Consortium, a multi-institution initiative established by the National Nuclear Security Administration to train the next generation of nuclear security experts. Her research explores fundamental and applied nuclear physics, proliferation detection, and nuclear weapons policy. Goldblum leads the Bay Area Neutron Group, a research team focused on neutron detection for nuclear security applications, and founded and directs the Nuclear Policy Working Group, an interdisciplinary team of scholars developing policy solutions to strengthen global nuclear security. She has been involved with the Public Policy and Nuclear Threats Boot Camp nearly since its inception, and acted as director of the program since 2014. She is the author of more than 100 publications on nuclear science and policy issues and recipient of the 2020 James Corones Award in Leadership, Community Building, and Communication. Goldblum received a Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.

4153 Etcheverry Hall, MC 1730 (map) University of California
Berkeley, California 94720
510-642-4077

Student Services
agill@berkeley.edu
510-642-5760