KNOXVILLE—The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, College of Engineering has awarded its most prestigious honor, the Nathan W. Dougherty Award, to Anthony (Tony) R. Buhl, an alumnus who guided the US power industry’s response to Three Mile Island and continues to be a leader in the industry today.
The Dougherty Award, established in 1957, honors engineers whose accomplishments have enhanced the profession and alumni whose activities have brought acclaim to the university. Buhl is in the company of other award recipients such as IBM’s Mark Dean, who helped invent the first computer keyboard, and Howard Chambers, a vice president at Boeing.
Buhl graduated in 1967 from UT, where earned his bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees. He is co-founder and CEO of EnergX, LLC, based in Oak Ridge, which provides solutions in hazardous and radioactive waste management, environmental services, and energy technology to the Department of Energy (DOE) and electric utilities.
Buhl has served as a senior executive at both the DOE and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). He was in the control room throughout the recovery from the accident at the Three Mile Island power plant in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, in 1979. During the next five years, Buhl managed the power industry’s response to the accident. He also supported the recovery efforts and safety evaluations in Russia following the Chernobyl accident.
Buhl served as the industry spokesman with the NRC to resolve severe accident issues. In all, he has visited thirty-nine countries in relation to nuclear safety issues. In 1985, he was elected a fellow of the American Nuclear Society for his contributions and expertise in safety, risk assessment and risk management.
The Nathan W. Dougherty Award was established by the College of Engineering in 1957 to pay tribute to Nathan Washington Dougherty, dean of the college from 1940 to 1956. Dougherty’s leadership moved UT’s engineering program to national prominence. He initiated joint projects with Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the US Air Force’s Arnold Engineering Development Center in Tullahoma—the location of the UT Space Institute. He also was an outstanding athlete, was named to the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame in 1967 and is credited with hiring Robert Reese Neyland as UT’s football coach in 1925.
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