The New Yorker featured Brian Wirth, UT-Oak Ridge National Laboratory Governor’s Chair for Computational Nuclear Engineering, in an article entitled
Department of Nuclear Engineering News
Some of the best and brightest undergraduate students from around the United States gathered at UT recently for the chance to meet top experts in the field of nuclear engineering. The sessions gave prospective graduate students a chance to mingle with some of the biggest names in nuclear research and energy, including Y-12, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the UCOR facilities at the East Tennessee Research Park, and the Tennessee Valley Authority, as well as with UT faculty and students.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.