Strong performances across the board

May 8, 2024, 7:00AMNuclear NewsCraig Piercy

Craig Piercy

Another year, another stellar performance by America’s nuclear plants. We’ve come to expect high capacity factors, and it’s a credit to the men and women of the profession. They’ve made routine something that was unimaginable not so long ago.

The decadal challenge for the nuclear enterprise now is to maintain this high level of operational excellence for the current fleet, while at the same time ushering in a new generation of technologies at scale. It will be a big job—but one that seems more and more likely with each passing day.

It is against this hopeful backdrop that I take the opportunity to update you on our latest steps toward making the American Nuclear Society a class-leading professional society.

SRMC funds STEM scholarships for Voorhees University

April 5, 2024, 12:01PMRadwaste Solutions
SRMC’s Dave Olson (left) presents a $10,000 check to Voorhees University president Ronnie Hopkins. (Photo: SRMS)

Savannah River Mission Completion (SRMC), the liquid waste contractor at the Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site, recently presented a $10,000 check to Voorhees University to fund science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) scholarships.

Winthrop University personnel visit SRS

April 2, 2024, 7:00AMNuclear News
SRNS’s Sean Alford (standing) discusses career opportunities with Winthrop University faculty and staff during a tour of the Savannah River Site. (Photo: SRNS)

Faculty and staff from Winthrop University recently toured the Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site as part of a workforce development partnership.

NEDHO diversity panels inspire and raise awareness

March 5, 2024, 7:03AMNuclear News

The NEDHO Diversity Panel featured, from left, University of Michigan professor John Foster; Jeffrey Harper, then a vice president at X-energy; William D. Magwood, director general of the NEA; and Londrea Garrett, a Ph.D. student at UM. (Photo: Aditi Verma/University of Michigan)

The Nuclear Engineering Department Heads Organization (NEDHO) has been sponsoring Diversity Panels since October 2022, when the inaugural meeting was hosted by the University of Tennessee Department of Nuclear Engineering. The panels were established as a distinguished speaker series by a working group led by Wes Hines, head of the UT Department of Nuclear Engineering, and Todd Allen, a former NEDHO chair and the current chair of the Department of Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences (NERS) at the University of Michigan.

Allen explained that the panels are meant to be “a first step toward improving the diversity of the talent entering the nuclear science and engineering fields.” The idea came from a presentation by Andreas Enqvist, director of the nuclear engineering program at the University of Florida, at the November 2021 NEDHO meeting. According to Allen, Enqvist described “ASEE [American Society for Engineering Education] data on how poorly the nuclear engineering field was doing at getting black students to study nuclear at the B.S. level and, even worse, how few moved from B.S. to graduate programs.”

Education outreach promoted by SRS and WIPP

January 29, 2024, 9:30AMNuclear News
WIPP’s Joy James-Foster (left) visited SRNS’s Kim Mitchell to learn about how to establish a Regional Science Bowl in Carlsbad, N.M. (Photo: SRNS)

A program manager from the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant recently visited the Savannah River Site to benchmark an education outreach program’s successful science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) outreach initiatives, which have been in place with local schools since 2008.

Cloud chamber kits show radiation in action for K-12 students

January 25, 2024, 7:00AMNuclear News

American Nuclear Society conferences always showcase the latest in nuclear, but one of the biggest attractions at this past November’s Winter Conference and Expo in Washington, D.C., was tech that is not new at all: cloud chambers. The Society is launching a new K-12 outreach effort featuring the ANS Visualizing Radiation Cloud Chamber Kit, and ANS staff were on hand to show it off.

Nuclear Energy 101 ends on nuclear applications note

January 22, 2024, 3:02PMANS News

Nuclear Energy 101, the five-course educational series for congressional staffers, came to a close in October with its final talk. This seminar series is a fun—and popular—tool for ANS to explain the basics of nuclear science and technology to and network with Capitol Hill denizens. After a long hiatus, the series returned in March 2023, and delivered five successful courses.

A conversation with Grace Stanke, Miss America 2023

August 24, 2023, 12:06PMNuclear NewsJames Conca

“I see nuclear energy as the obvious path forward, and it confuses me as to why everybody else doesn’t. That’s the primary goal with my Miss America policy platform of ‘clean energy, cleaner future.’”

Recently I sat down with Grace Stanke, the current Miss America and a student at the University of Wisconsin in nuclear engineering exploring subjects like nuclear fuel enrichment and reactor performance (as well as being a virtuoso violinist, for good measure).

This year she’s touring the country advocating for clean energy in a cleaner future and for America to reach net zero with the help of nuclear power, while correcting misconceptions and improving communication about nuclear science and encouraging young women to pursue STEM careers.

We talked just after she had finished visiting the Hanford Site while she was on her way to appear at Town Hall Seattle at the request of grassroots pronuclear group Friends of Fission Northwest. I was impressed with the depth of her knowledge and her ability to communicate difficult issues in a concise manner that didn’t require any deep background to understand. I mean, who knows the intricacies of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant? I was tempted to ask her to run for president.

New senior manager of STEM programs begins at ANS

June 20, 2023, 9:31AMNuclear News


The American Nuclear Society is invested in growing the nuclear community through its K-12 STEM programs like the STEM Academy and Navigating Nuclear. Craig Piercy, ANS Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer, noted that when he speaks with engineering and technology students, “Most of them chose to go into nuclear because they believe in the power of the technology to help people. So, the core question is this: How do we inspire and educate a new, larger generation of professionals? It has to start at the K-12 level.”

To further this goal, the Society has brought on Uchenna Ezibe as senior manager of STEM programs. Ezibe, who has spent his career in education or STEM program management, has a clear passion for STEM education and a natural curiosity about nuclear science and technology and is very excited to help grow ANS’s educational programs.

SRS alliance brings STEM offerings to K-12 students

June 8, 2023, 7:00AMNuclear News
Gary Senn and Kim Mitchell assist second graders from Chukker Creek Elementary School in Aiken, S.C., with a STEM project.

For almost four decades, the Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site in South Carolina and the Ruth Patrick Science Education Center at the University of South Carolina–Aiken (USC Aiken) have partnered to bring science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education to the area's kindergarten through 12th grade students.

DOE-EM to fund minority-serving STEM programs

May 1, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) will offer an estimated $24.5 million to minority-serving institutions to help foster a sustainable and diverse science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce pipeline within the office.

NNSA makes awards to nine STEM consortia

April 12, 2023, 7:01AMNuclear News

The Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration has awarded nine new grants totaling $40.8 million to minority-serving institutions (MSIs) to promote the development of a diverse, highly skilled, and enduring stream of students in STEM fields who may find careers with the NNSA. Each grant that was awarded has a three- to five-year period of performance.

DOE makes efforts to develop an inclusive STEM workforce

March 28, 2023, 3:02PMANS Nuclear Cafe
Participants in a job fair at the recent 2023 Waste Management Symposia visited a booth hosted by DOE representatives. A virtual component of the job fair is available through March 31. (Photo: DOE)

More than 300 employees from the Department of Energy's Office of Environmental Management (EM) have recently retired, resulting in a large amount of job vacancies across the cleanup program, according to the DOE.

EM’s Workforce Management Office is implementing recruitment efforts to fill the vacancies with college graduates, early career professionals, mid-career candidates, and seasoned veterans.

According to the DOE, "The open positions offer opportunities across many different disciplines, including engineering, science, business, management, safety and information technology."

Entergy’s WIN chapter honored for promoting nuclear science

March 15, 2023, 3:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe

The Women in Nuclear chapter at Entergy Nuclear has been recognized by the U.S. WIN organization as the “most reactive” for its educational outreach efforts conducted during last year’s Nuclear Science Week.

The annual award recognizes significant achievements in promoting nuclear science in the community. U.S. WIN chapters are judged on the number of activities held during Nuclear Science Week, the number of participating WIN members, the number of individuals and public sectors reached, and the variety of topics covered.

The launch of the ANS STEM Academy

February 14, 2023, 7:01AMANS News

The new ANS STEM Academy launched at the end of 2022 encompasses all of the American Nuclear Society’s educational programs. It brings together a state-of-the-art curriculum with nuclear experts and enriches classroom experiences to enable a national expansion of K-12 nuclear science and technology education. The new program strives to serve educators, students, and everyone interested in nuclear science and technology.

WM Symposia announces STEM Champions Challenge

February 6, 2023, 3:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe

Waste Management Symposia (WMS), which hosts the annual Waste Management Conference in Phoenix, Ariz., is launching a new effort along with Longenecker & Associates to support science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education efforts to attract and build the next-generation nuclear workforce. The engineering, environmental, and nuclear services company Spectra Tech is joining the initiative by matching Longenecker & Associates' contributions to the program.

DOE expands minority partnership program for post-doctoral researchers

March 1, 2022, 7:00AMNuclear News

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management recently announced the expansion of its Minority Serving Institutions Partnership Program for post-doctoral researchers.

The program will offer the opportunity for recent graduates with Ph.D. degrees to perform scientific research that furthers technology development, enhances the global scientific knowledge base, and results in publishing in peer-reviewed journals.

Piercy's opening remarks at the ANS Winter Meeting

January 19, 2022, 7:04AMANS NewsCraig Piercy

Craig Piercy

ANS ended 2021 on a high note with our first post-pandemic national meeting, held in Washington, D.C. What follows is a lightly edited version of remarks, shorn of opening and closing pleasantries, that I gave to 500-plus attendees during the opening plenary session:

I think the big question everyone will be asking this week will be some form of “How did you spend the pandemic?” I can tell you how ANS spent the pandemic: on a strict quarantine diet and fitness program.

We’ve figured out how to maintain what we believe is a higher level of service on 20 percent fewer FTEs. We’ve rebuilt our digital infrastructure and have a firm path forward toward a modern data architecture. We are in the process of selling our headquarters building in La Grange Park, Ill., and moving to a smaller, more manageable footprint in suburban Chicago, with an outpost in Washington, D.C.

NNSA expands Minority Serving Institution Partnership Program

November 24, 2021, 9:30AMNuclear News

The Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration has awarded nine grants totaling $38.8 million to build more partnerships with minority-serving institutions (MSIs), leverage untapped students, and expand its talent pipeline. Known as the Minority Serving Institution Partnership Program (MSIPP), it now has 24 active consortia partnerships encompassing 46 schools.