Using the “New math”: Artificial intelligence and machine learning applications for the nuclear power industry

June 10, 2022, 3:00PMNuclear NewsCurtis Smith, Ahmad Al Rashdan, and Vivek Agarwal

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are helping scientists, engineers, regulators, and plant decision makers in their research and development of clean energy production to achieve a net-zero carbon footprint. While this science is new in terms of actual applications, it is fostering innovation in a variety of domains, from material discovery and qualification to advanced reactor design to supporting efficiencies in current power plants and transforming the usability of nuclear power plant control rooms.

Savannah River engineers engage students in real-world problem solving

January 21, 2022, 7:00AMNuclear News
From left to right, Richmond County Technical Career Magnet School (Team 1) students Leila Cortez, Jaidyn Moore, and Tamea Dunnom and teacher Carla Biley won third place in Best Engineering Student Design at the WORCshop@AU event. They are joined by Rick Connolly, SRNS operations and maintenance director and WORCshop@AU judge (second from right).

Savannah River Nuclear Solutions (SRNS), the Department of Energy contractor responsible for the management and operations of the Savannah River Site in South Carolina, partnered with Augusta University to create WORCshop@AU, an education outreach opportunity to introduce local high school students to nuclear science careers by solving a real-world problem. The program concluded on December 9, when student teams presented their solutions during a friendly competition.

Early career faculty members sought for new $2.5-million DOE program

December 14, 2021, 12:08PMNuclear News

The Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy is soliciting applications from untenured, early career faculty members for the new Distinguished Early Career Program. Applicants must respond by February 2 with a plan that integrates research, education, and service under the terms of a funding opportunity announcement dated December 6 and announced by the DOE on December 7. The DOE anticipates granting up to four $625,000 awards, each with a five-year duration.

ANS Winter Meeting: Universities to host a new generation of advanced reactors

December 13, 2021, 12:00PMNuclear News
A screen shot from the “Research Reactors in Support of Advanced Reactor R&D” session at the 2021 ANS Winter Meeting and Technology Expo.

First-of-a-kind research reactors, demo reactors, and research facilities are being developed and sited on university campuses to support the broader deployment of advanced reactors. At the 2021 ANS Winter Meeting and Technology Expo, during a December 2 panel session titled “Research Reactors in Support of Advanced Reactor R&D,” several of these planned projects were discussed in detail—including a molten salt reactor in Texas and a high-temperature gas–cooled reactor in Illinois.

The session was sponsored by the Reactor Physics Division and organized and chaired by Pavel Tsvetkov, of Texas A&M University. A video of the session is available to registered Winter Meeting attendees.

Students: Apply online now for 2022–2023 ANS scholarships

December 2, 2021, 7:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe

The American Nuclear Society supports more than 50 college students each year through its Scholarship Program, awarding more than $140,000 annually. Applications for the 2022–2023 academic year are now available, and all ANS student members are encouraged to apply. Recipients will be awarded between $1,000 and $5,000, based on merit and financial need.

NRC awards R&D grants to 10 universities

November 17, 2021, 6:59AMNuclear News

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced on November 15 that it has awarded nearly $5.5 million in grants to support research and development activities in nuclear science, engineering, technology, and related disciplines under the University Nuclear Leadership Program (UNLP), previously known as the Integrated University Program.

Back to school with Navigating Nuclear: ANS’s complete K-12 curriculum

August 27, 2021, 12:01PMANS Nuclear Cafe

Teachers and parents around the nation are learning about Navigating Nuclear: Energizing Our World—a K-12 nuclear science curriculum that now features content for all grade levels and can be accessed at ans.org/navigatingnuclear. The free online materials are classroom-ready, and include virtual field trips, project starters, and lessons available to every teacher and parent.

NAVIGATING NUCLEAR VIRTUAL CURRICULUM FINDS NEW HOME FOR SCHOOL YEAR

August 27, 2021, 10:10AMPress Releases

With back-to-school season upon us, the American Nuclear Society (ANS) is excited to announce that our Navigating Nuclear: Energizing Our World curriculum now reaches all grade levels and can be accessed at ans.org/navigatingnuclear.

U of Illinois plans to integrate research and power with advanced microreactor

June 30, 2021, 12:18PMNuclear News
A rendering of Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation’s micro modular reactor as proposed for construction on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus. (Graphic: USNC)

The U.S. state with more nuclear power plants than any other—Illinois—has no operating university research reactors. A team at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) intends to reverse that situation and construct a high-temperature gas-cooled microreactor. If the team's plans go ahead, the first new U.S. university research reactor deployment in about 30 years could also support commercial advanced reactor deployment.

NRC awards $10.7 million in academic grants

June 9, 2021, 9:31AMNuclear News

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced on June 8 that it has awarded 30 academic grants to 26 academic institutions in 19 states, totaling nearly $10.7 million. The funds will support scholarships, fellowships, and faculty development at four-year universities and colleges, two-year trade schools and community colleges, and minority-serving institutions.

ANS holds launch party for virtual field trip to space

May 24, 2021, 1:35PMANS News

ANS celebrated the launch of the newest Navigating Nuclear virtual field trip, “Nuclear Frontiers: Powering Possibility,” with a special watch party held on May 19. The video, which was viewed more than 70,000 times in the first week alone, explores the amazing ways that nuclear science is fueling earthly innovation and deep space exploration.

Join ANS's watch party for a virtual field trip into outer space

May 18, 2021, 3:00PMANS News
Photo: NASA, ESA, and STScI

Help ANS celebrate the launch of our newest virtual field trip, “Nuclear Frontiers: Powering Possibility,” by attending tomorrow's online watch party!

The virtual field trip explores the amazing ways that nuclear science is fueling earthly innovation and deep space exploration. The field trip video, which was made available earlier this month, is part of ANS’s Navigating Nuclear: Energizing Our World program The Navigating Nuclear program, which was started in August 2018, has already reached more than 1.5 million K-12 students.

Register now for the watch party for the virtual field trip, to be held tomorrow, May 19, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. (EDT).

Join ANS for a virtual field trip into outer space

May 17, 2021, 3:00PMANS News

Help ANS celebrate the launch of our newest virtual field trip, “Nuclear Frontiers: Powering Possibility,” which explores the amazing ways that nuclear science is fueling earthly innovation and deep space exploration. The video is part of the Society’s Navigating Nuclear: Energizing Our World program, which has reached more than 1.5 million K-12 students.

Register now for this special event, to be held on Wednesday, May 19, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. (EDT).

Journey to outer space in the latest Navigating Nuclear virtual field trip

May 7, 2021, 9:29AMANS News
Former NASA astronaut Franklin R. Chang-Diaz talks about the ways nuclear fusion will assist in deep space travel. (Photo: Navigating Nuclear)

In partnership with Discovery Education, ANS launched its third virtual field trip on May 6. “Nuclear Frontiers: Powering Possibility” takes students on a journey to learn how Earth-based nuclear science and technology are paving the way in space exploration. It is available on-demand on the Navigating Nuclear website.

ORISE reports uptick in nuclear engineering master’s degrees

March 2, 2021, 9:29AMNuclear News

An increase in the number of master’s degrees awarded in the United States in 2019 pushed the total number of nuclear engineering degrees to its highest level since 2016, according to a study conducted by the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) that surveyed 34 U.S. universities with nuclear engineering programs. The report, Nuclear Engineering Enrollments and Degrees Survey, 2019 Data, includes degrees granted between September 1, 2018, and August 31, 2019, as well as enrollments for fall 2019. It was released by ORISE in February.

Details: The 316 nuclear engineering master’s degrees awarded in 2019 represented a 21 percent increase over the 2018 total, and a 12 percent increase over the number awarded in 2017. The 194 doctoral degrees awarded in 2019 represented the second-highest level recorded since 1966.

Exelon Generation’s workforce development and knowledge transfer strategy

February 12, 2021, 4:10PMNuclear NewsHeather Davis

Students display items they received at a STEM workshop sponsored by Exelon. Photo: Exelon.

The landscape of Exelon Generation’s nuclear business has continued to evolve—even before the complications of a pandemic—but people will always remain the core focus. Our employees and our future employee pipelines are changing almost as fast as technology, which is why the development of the workforce, both present and future, along with the transfer of knowledge across all departments and levels of the organization, must remain adaptable and advance as well.

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

December 30, 2020, 7:07AMNuclear NewsRick Michal

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.

Nuclear Education and COVID-19

December 29, 2020, 7:07AMNuclear News

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.