Feature Article

John Gilligan: NEUP in support of university nuclear R&D

John Gilligan has been the director of the Nuclear Energy University Program (NEUP) since its creation in 2009 by the Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy (DOE-NE). NEUP consolidates DOE-NE’s university support under one program and engages colleges and universities in the United States to conduct research and development in nuclear technology. The two main R&D areas for NEUP funding are fuel cycle projects, which include evolving sustainable technologies that improve energy generation to enhance safety, limit proliferation risk, and reduce waste generation and resource consumption; and reactor projects, which strive to preserve the existing commercial light-water reactors as well as improve emerging advanced designs, such as small modular reactors, liquid-metal-cooled fast reactors, and gas- or liquid-salt-cooled high-temperature reactors.

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Feature Article

Nuclear Education and COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States on a wide basis in March of this year, and life as we knew it changed. “Social distancing” and “essential workers” entered the jargon and working from home for many became the norm.

The number of remote meetings skyrocketed, and various companies have seen that business can be conducted without having employees in the office.

For universities, distance learning has been common for a while now, but with COVID it has become essential.

Nuclear News asked some nuclear engineering professors about how their programs have been dealing with the pandemic. We posed three questions and asked for responses to any or all of them:

How has COVID affected your NE program, and what have you learned from the experience?

Has your NE program been able to contribute to your university’s broader COVID response (e.g., through research or volunteer programs)?

What opportunities or challenges do you foresee in the next year for your program and your students?

The following are responses received by NN.

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President's Column

The value of “fluffy” stuff

Mary Lou Dunzik-Gougar

You know the old saying that those who can, do, and those who can’t, teach? Well, I say anyone thinking that way should be kept far away from students!

In my time at Argonne National Laboratory and Idaho National Laboratory, I worked with incredible scientists and engineers doing cutting-edge research. Unfortunately, making progress in research is not always conducive to the education and training of those who haven’t yet gained the necessary expertise. And there is an interesting phenomenon that occurs the more one gains in education and experience: We tend to forget what we were like before, what it was like not to know everything we do now. More than one of my PhD colleagues at the national labs dismissed the education and outreach efforts that I pursued in my spare time: scouts, K-12 classroom visits, teacher workshops, science expos, etc., viewing any focus other than the truly technical as just “fluffy” and a waste of valuable time and effort.

Letter from the CEO

U.S. university programs: Lighting the way to a brighter nuclear future

Craig Piercy

We have dedicated this month’s edition of Nuclear News to university programs and their contributions in advancing the field of applied nuclear science and technology and readying the next generation of scientists and engineers.

Say what you want about the condition of the U.S. nuclear enterprise today, but there is no denying that our university-based programs in nuclear science and engineering are still the envy of the world. You can see it in the way these programs attract students and faculty from across the globe, and from their formative contributions to technologies, such as the NuScale power module and many of the advanced reactor designs being developed today.

Feature Article

NEDHO: A nuclear education alliance

The Nuclear Engineering Department Heads Organization (NEDHO) is an alliance of the heads (chairs) of about 30 nuclear engineering schools, departments, and programs in the United States. NEDHO is managed by an executive committee consisting of the chair, the chair-elect, and the three most immediate past-chairs. NEDHO meetings are normally held in conjunction with the American Nuclear Society’s national meetings. The NEDHO meetings are open to anyone, but on matters that require a vote, each institution is limited to a single official representative (i.e., one vote).

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Baranwal reviews virtual STEM lessons for U.S. tribal communities


In a blog post to the Department of Energy’s website on November 23, Rita Baranwal, assistant secretary for the Office of Nuclear Energy, commended recent virtual lesson projects from the Office of Nuclear Energy and the Nuclear Energy Tribal Working Group to increase STEM opportunities for Native American tribes.

The spotlighted lesson discussed in the article focused on a 3D-printed clip that turns a smartphone or tablet into a microscope with the ability to magnify items by 100 times. The Office of Nuclear Energy shipped nearly 1,000 of these microscope clips to students across the country, many of them going to U.S. tribal communities.

Missouri S&T’s nuclear engineering program gains department status

Missouri S&T’s pool-type nuclear reactor. Photo: Sam O’Keefe/Missouri S&T

Sixty years ago, the Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T), then known as the University of Missouri at Rolla, was one of the first U.S. institutions to offer a nuclear engineering degree. Now, decades after it was offered as an option within metallurgical engineering, Missouri S&T’s nuclear program has attained new status as the Nuclear Engineering and Radiation Science Department, the university announced on October 20.

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.

American Nuclear Society provides repository of diversity, equity, and inclusion educational resources on ans.org

La Grange Park, IL– The American Nuclear Society (ANS) has introduced a new curated list of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) educational resources to its website. These collected resources can help educate ANS members and the nuclear science and technology community on the many facets of DEI.

ANS is your nuclear resource during COVID-19

This story was updated on April 29 with details about the ANS Annual Meeting.

The American Nuclear Society remains committed to serving the needs of the nuclear community even as the COVID-19 pandemic affects how we all communicate. Read on to learn more about the timely content that ANS is delivering to fit the way you live and work today.

Distance learning is the new normal

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on universities has been wide-ranging, as it has forced remote learning across campuses, with a few exceptions.

Steve Biegalski, chair of the Nuclear Engineering Department Heads Organization (NEDHO), whose membership consists of 44 academic institutions, said that the group’s universities have also transitioned to online education. The switch has gone fairly well, he said, adding that laboratory courses have not transitioned as well as regular classroom lectures. The biggest impact, however, has been in the area of research.

Anniversary Observations

The seismic event was huge and was felt all over the world.  With a moment magnitude of over 9.0, the earthquake and was the fourth largest ever in the more than 100 years of recorded history.  Huge land masses shifted as much as 2.4 meters, and the rotation of the earth was changed so that days were suddenly just a little (but measurable) bit shorter.  It had sped up the world.

Honoring Dr. Leona Woods - #Herstory

Show Engineering Love During EWeek, February 17-23

Why Nuclear is an Emerging Technology for the Space Economy

Nuclear energy has played a key supporting role in historic missions to Mars, Pluto, and across the Solar System for the last 50 years. On January 1 2019, the nuclear-powered New Horizons flew by the most distant object ever observed up close - Ultima Thule, after it having already flown by Pluto in 2015.

Today in History: Einstein Presented World with Famous Equation in Physics

Albert Einstein is one of the most well-known physicists throughout history. Among other things, he is also known for formulating the world-famous equation E=mc2, the equation that relates that energy and mass as not separate, but rather a single entity. This equation opened doors to numerous scientific advances.

National Nuclear Science Week 2018 Kicks Off

Navigating Nuclear with Bob Fine and Dr. Eric Loewen

Get to Know Nuclear with Nuclear Science Week 2016!

Celebrate Nuclear Science Week

October brings many wonderful things each year, but of special interest to us is the annual National Nuclear Science Week (#NuclearSciWeek on social media) event which is intended to help everyone learn how nuclear science and technology works every day to improve their lives.

National Nuclear Science Week 2015 - Nuclear Energy

NSW logoWednesday during National Nuclear Science Week is devoted to the topic of Nuclear Energy.  Do you know how we use the energy obtained by splitting the atom to produce the electricity that charges up your phone, powers your TV and router, and lights your way?  Click on the link below to see the basics.