YMG turns the spotlight on national labs

April 17, 2020, 3:09PMANS News

ANS Young Members Group Chair Harsh Desai

The ANS Young Members Group has developed a new live webinar series that is free to all, and Harsh Desai is excited. “We have a great opportunity to highlight our national laboratory infrastructure, which is a pinnacle of innovation in nuclear science, technology, and engineering,” said Desai, chair of the YMG. “We’re giving each of the national labs the opportunity to highlight their mission, key projects, and rising stars, and we’re also giving members of the YMG executive committee valuable leadership experience building and moderating the webinar panels.”

ANS members sheltering in place during the COVID-19 pandemic can turn to ANS for a growing library of informative webinars, including the new Spotlight on National Labs series. “While we’re all dealing with this pandemic and many of us are at home, this is a good time to add value for our ANS members and especially recognize those who work at the labs,” Desai said. “They do a lot of exciting R&D and breakthrough science that will continue to help the nation move forward, especially as we look to a clean, carbon-free future.”

First up, INL: At Idaho National Laboratory, founded over 70 years ago as the National Reactor Testing Station, EBR-1 produced the first usable electricity from nuclear energy in 1951. The lab has played host to 52 unique or first-of-a-kind reactors so far. What has made this lab the ideal destination for reactor demonstrations past and future? Watch the debut of YMG’s Spotlight on National Labs series to find out.

ANS YMG Vice Chair Catherine Prat moderated a discussion with INL Lab Director Mark Peters and five panelists on April 15 as they explored what the lab considers to be its most important research and development initiatives—ranging from new demonstration reactors to integrated energy systems and space reactors.

ANS Young Members Group Vice Chair Catherine Prat

“It was appropriate that INL was the lab that kicked off the series, because it’s our leading lab for development and innovation in nuclear science and technology,” Prat said. She echoed a key message heard from webinar panelists: “With collaboration between the national labs, private industry, and utilities in the 1950s, our nation demonstrated new reactor technology in a few short years. We’re at a point now where that’s what needs to happen again. We need to show what technology can do to move the nuclear industry forward, and the work being done at INL is accomplishing that now.”

INL is helping the nuclear community answer a call to action, Prat said. “The driving force behind innovation is that everyone is interested in having carbon-free, clean energy moving forward. We can do it if we all work together. Now is the time, with national labs leading the charge,” she said.

Coming up next: “We’re hoping to highlight every single national lab over the next several months, spotlighting one lab every two to three weeks,” Desai said. In fact, the YMG has already planned the next two webinars in the Spotlight on National Labs series.

You can register now for an April 30 webinar featuring Argonne National Laboratory and a May 6 webinar on Los Alamos National Laboratory.

All Spotlight on National Labs webinars will be archived and accessible to ANS members as webinars on demand, and upcoming ANS webinars are listed at www.ans.org/webinars.

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