Department of Nuclear Engineering News

Professor Receives DOE Funds to Assess What to Do with Used Nuclear Fuel

The question of what to do with spent nuclear fuel in the United States has never been definitively answered. A UT professor has received funding from the US Department of Energy to develop new capabilities for evaluating potential alternatives to directly disposing of used fuel.

UT Names Nuclear Materials Expert as Thirteenth Governor’s Chair

Steve Zinkle, an authority on the effect of radiation on materials in fission and fusion nuclear reactors, has been named the thirteenth University of Tennessee-Oak Ridge National Laboratory Governor’s Chair. Zinkle will serve as Governor’s Chair for Nuclear Materials, based in the department of nuclear engineering at UT with a complementary appointment in materials science and engineering. He begins at UT on October 1.

Professor Researching Nuclear Batteries Receives ORAU Award


The research of a UT professor working to create a battery that packs several thousand times more energy than batteries used today has received a boost from Oak Ridge Associated Universities. Eric Lukosi, an assistant professor in nuclear engineering, received a $10,000 Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award, including $5,000 from ORAU and $5,000 in matching funds from the UT Office of Research.

Professor Receives Department of Energy’s Early Career Award

A UT professor whose research on neutron imaging could improve medical imaging and high-mileage electric vehicles has received the US Department of Energy’s Early Career Research Award. Jason Hayward, UCOR Faculty Fellow in Nuclear Engineering, will receive $750,000 over five years starting in July. The award is granted to researchers in universities and the department’s national laboratories. It supports the development of individual research programs of outstanding scientists early in their careers.

What’s Your Big Idea?—Howard Hall

Faculty, staff, students, and alumni are sharing the big ideas that make a difference in their world. Howard Hall, a Governor’s Chair professor of nuclear security, has the big idea to take UT’s capabilities and apply them to the challenge of global nuclear security.

College of Engineering Receives DOE Funds to Improve Nuclear Safety

UT will take part in two U.S. Department of Energy projects totaling more than $9 million which involve a team of institutions to improve upon nuclear energy safety and efficiency. The projects draw upon lessons learned from the 2011 Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant accident. The two awards are part of the DOE’s 2012 Nuclear Energy University Programs Integrated Research Programs.

UT, ORNL Lead National Team to Study Materials Performance in Nuclear Fusion Reactors

Power from nuclear fusion reactors has the promise to be safe, sustainable, and limitless. But science has not been able to bring fusion energy to the commercial energy market. This is partly because the operating limits of the reactor materials are not known. A team of researchers at UT Knoxville and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, in collaboration with seven other institutions, is trying to solve this challenge.

Oak Ridge’s UCOR Funds Faculty Position as Part of Chancellor’s Faculty Challenge

Pictured, left to right: UCOR's Bob Smith, Leo Sain, Cathy Hickey, Veronica O'Hearn and Ken Rueter with Jason Hayward in Hayward's lab.

A major gift from Department of Energy contractor UCOR has established the UCOR faculty fellowship in the College of Engineering. This gift heeds Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek’s challenge to private supporters to help recruit and retain UT’s most talented faculty. The first recipient of the faculty fellow award is Jason Hayward, an assistant professor in the Department of Nuclear Engineering.

UT Receives $1.7 Million to Train Nuclear Leaders and Conduct Research

Nuclear Energy University Programs

UT Knoxville is receiving more than $1.7 million from the US Department of Energy for scholarships, a fellowship, and research grants to train and educate the next generation of leaders in America’s nuclear industry. The awards are part of the Department of Energy’s Nuclear Energy University Program and Integrated University Program that will support research and development and student investment at forty-six colleges and universities.