Nuclear science research highlights from 2020

Frequently the three international research journals published by ANS dedicate issues to special topics or selected top papers presented at conferences. In celebration of Nuclear Science Week, here’s a recap of the research highlights published by Nuclear Science and Engineering (NSE), Nuclear Technology (NT), and Fusion Science and Technology (FST) in 2020 (ANS members get free subscriber access):

Elementary school resources added to Navigating Nuclear

Elementary school lesson plans are the latest additions to the Navigating Nuclear: Energizing Our World website. The two lesson plans were created to help students in grades 3-5 understand the power of the atom and how to investigate different energy sources.

Navigating Nuclear is a K-12 nuclear science and energy curriculum created in partnership by the American Nuclear Society and Discovery Education, with lead funding from the Department of Energy's Office of Nuclear Energy.

Nuclear in K-12 education: Overview of ANS toolkit and reflections from educators

A free webinar today from 3:00 p.m.-4:30 p.m. (EDT) will look at the resources that the American Nuclear Society has developed with Discovery Education and the Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy to help K-12 educators teach nuclear science and technology.

The webinar will begin with an overview of the resources, followed by reflections and commentary from three educators of various grade levels on their experiences teaching nuclear science and their thoughts about ANS’s instructional materials. The webinar will conclude with a Q&A session with the panelists.

Registration is required for this Nuclear Science Week event.

ANS celebrates Nuclear Science Week with social media campaign, new RIPB webpage

The nuclear industry has embraced the risk-informed and performance-based (RIPB) decision-making process over the past two decades. Still, it remains a complex concept to explain in lay terms.

With that in mind, the American Nuclear Society will be kicking off an RIPB awareness social media campaign as part of Nuclear Science Week 2020, which begins today and runs through Friday. The campaign will link decision making to everyday events in a person's life and feature a series of images and seemingly easy questions requiring a choice to be made. For example, ANS asks, “Would you get rid of your car if the radio didn’t work?” or “Would you toss a lamp if the shade was dirty?”

ANS Student Sections virtual 5K fundraising event nears completion

There is still time to participate in the “Nuclear Power: Let’s Keep it Running” 5K virtual run fundraiser sponsored by the ANS Student Sections Committee. The virtual 5K is designed to raise awareness about safe, clean, and reliable nuclear energy and to enrich the experiences of students in nuclear science and technology.

The campaign has raised more than $2,500 and consists of an online donation platform where student sections can form teams, organize runs, and connect to donors within their communities and throughout the country.

Candidates nominated for 2021 ANS national election

Candidates have been named to fill seven ANS leadership positions with terms beginning in June 2021.



The candidates for a one-year term as vice president/president-elect are Steven A. Arndt and Corey McDaniel. Arndt, ANS Fellow and member since 1981, is a senior technical advisor with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and McDaniel, ANS member since 2008, is chief commercial officer and director of industry engagement at Idaho National Laboratory.

The elected candidate will succeed current ANS Vice President/President-Elect Steven Nesbit in June 2021, when Nesbit becomes president.

Rahnema named editor of Nuclear Science and Engineering


Farzad Rahnema, a professor of nuclear engineering and director of the Computational Reactor and Medical Physics Laboratory at the Georgia Institute of Technology, has been appointed editor-designate of the American Nuclear Society’s Nuclear Science and Engineering journal. Rahnema, an ANS Fellow and member since 1989, was named editor-designate on September 8 by ANS President Mary Lou Dunzik-Gougar, and he will begin his duties on October 1. He succeeds current editor Michael Corradini, who has been serving on an interim basis since Dan Cacuci retired from the role in November 2019.

ANS members approve amendment adding YMG rep to board of directors

The American Nuclear Society will include a representative from the Young Members Group on its Board of Directors after ANS members voted this week overwhelmingly in favor of amending Article B6 of the ANS bylaws. The change was mandated by Objective Outcome 5 of the ANS Change Plan 2020.

To keep the number of directors at 16, the approved amendment decreased the number of non–U.S. resident directors from three to two.

Black racial justice webinar kicks off DIA series

The Diversity and Inclusion in the American Nuclear Society (DIA) Committee opened its new series of webinars on September 2 with a panel discussion, “Black Racial Justice in the Nuclear Community.”

During the webinar, which was viewed by more than 200 people, five panelists discussed racial justice issues and their own experiences throughout their lives. Included on the panel were Warren “Pete” Miller, former Department of Energy assistant secretary for nuclear energy; Michelle Scott, DOE senior advisor; Charlyne Smith, PhD candidate at the University of Florida; Ira Strong, legacy engineer at the Palo Verde plant in Arizona and a student at the University of New Mexico; and Sola Talabi, senior consultant at Pittsburgh Technical.

ANS’s Bilbao y León picked to lead World Nuclear Association

Bilbao y León

ANS member Sama Bilbao y León, currently head of the Division of Nuclear Technology Development and Economics at the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency, will succeed Agneta Rising as the World Nuclear Association’s director general, the WNA announced this morning.

Rising, who took the reins of the WNA in January 2013, is the former vice president, environment, at Vattenfall AB; cofounder and former president of Women in Nuclear; and former president of both the European Nuclear Society and Swedish Nuclear Society. The WNA said that she is stepping down at the end of October “to move to new endeavors.” Rising will continue as director general until the end of October, with Bilbao y León serving as “director general in waiting” beginning October 5.

ANS distinguished service award renamed to honor Levenson


Thanks to a generous donation from Margaret S. Y. Chu, a member of the American Nuclear Society since 2000, the ANS Distinguished Service Award will now honor Milton Levenson, ANS past president (1983–1984) and Fellow who died in 2018. Chu’s career path intersected with Levenson many times over a 13-year span through their work as consultants. Following his death, Chu wanted a way to honor the man she described as “an extraordinary scientist who dedicated over 70 years of his life to nuclear energy.”

ANS designates TFTR and FCF for landmark status

A look inside the TFTR plasma vessel. Photo: DOE

The Tokamak Fusion Test Reactor (TFTR) at Princeton University and the Fuel Cycle Facility (FCF) (now known as the Fuel Conditioning Facility) at Idaho National Laboratory have been designated as ANS Nuclear Historic Landmarks. The official awarding of the honors will occur during the 2020 ANS Virtual Winter Meeting, which begins November 16.

The TFTR received the award for demonstrating significant fusion energy production and tritium technologies for future nuclear fusion power plants and for the first detailed exploration of magnetically confined deuterium-tritium (D-T) fusion plasmas.

INL’s FCF and its Experimental Breeder Reactor II (EBR-II) were honored for demonstrating on-site recycling of used nuclear fuel back into a nuclear reactor.

Key federal nuclear policy post opens to applicants

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) within the Executive Office of the President is charged with reviewing and approving the annual budget requests of federal departments and agencies, including the Department of Energy. “In many ways, the OMB is the final authority on government spending,” explained ANS Executive Director/CEO Craig Piercy.

A window has just opened for applicants to serve as a nuclear program examiner for the OMB, with responsibility for analyzing nuclear policy issues and developing recommendations.

Sign up for the first ANS Virtual Career Fair

Registration is open for the American Nuclear Society’s first Virtual Career Fair, to be held September 22-23. The online event will provide early career professionals and students in the nuclear science, engineering, and technology fields an opportunity to meet with representatives from utilities, vendors, suppliers, national laboratories, government agencies, consulting firms, and universities. Attendees will learn about co-ops, internships, and full-time employment opportunities in a one-stop shop, online setting.

For more information, visit here or contact Catherine Prat, chair of the ANS Young Members Group.

ANS webinar: Diversity, equity, and inclusion roundtable series

The American Nuclear Society is offering a members-only webinar on Wednesday, September 2, at 1:00 p.m. (EDT) on the topic of “Black Racial Justice in the Nuclear Community.”

A panel of ANS members will discuss racial justice and share experiences through their personal and professional roles.

The webinar will be the first of a series of actions organized by the Diversity and Inclusion in ANS Committee (DIA).

Registration is required for the webinar.

A global nuclear science and engineering commencement

With the support of the European Nuclear Education Network, the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) is hosting an online event on August 27, at 7 a.m. EDT (1 p.m. in Paris).

The event will celebrate and recognize the accomplishments of the graduating classes of 2020 and 2021, especially those within the nuclear science and technology fields.

The event is free and open to all. Registration is required.