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.

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?”

SRR renews agreement with Denmark Technical College

From left: Denmark Technical College president and CEO Willie Todd, Jr. gives SRR chief operating officer and deputy project manager Mark Schmitz and SRR president and project manager Phil Breidenbach a tour of a student lab.

Savannah River Remediation (SRR), the liquid waste contractor at the Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site, signed a memorandum of understanding on October 7 with Denmark Technical College (DTC), one of South Carolina’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU).

SRR signed an original MOU with DTC in 2019. The new MOU is effective through September 2021.

Foratom sounds alarm over nuclear skills shortage in Europe

The European Union’s education and training policy must do more to ensure that the nuclear sector has a sufficient number of people with the right skills, according Nuclear: Investing in a Competent Workforce for the Benefit of Society, a new position paper from Foratom. The Brussels-based Foratom is the trade association for the nuclear energy industry in Europe.

Stressing the vital roles that nuclear plays in low-carbon power generation and medical diagnosis and treatment, Foratom warns of a growing skills shortage, stemming in part from the significant portion of the nuclear workforce approaching retirement age.

In addition, the report states that “adapting to digitalization and automatization (which are important skill shifts for the decommissioning sector, as well as for new build) will be a challenge faced by the industry. This will require the reskilling and upskilling of workers, as well as ensuring an adequate transfer of knowledge between generations through apprenticeship schemes, for instance.”

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.

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.

Navigating Nuclear: Bringing it home

American Nuclear Society members who are parent­ing K–12 students have been drafted to serve as home ed­ucators during the COVID-19 pandemic. While schools may have provided e-learning resources, the school year is at an end. How can concerned parents prevent the dreaded summer slide?

Here’s our suggestion: turn to Navigating Nuclear: Energizing Our World, ANS’s K–12 curriculum devel­oped in partnership with Discovery Education, and teach nuclear chem­istry! Even if you live apart from the children in your life, consider using Zoom to introduce Navigating Nuclear to children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews.

UT, TVA to evaluate SMR development at Clinch River

The University of Tennessee (UT) and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) signed a memorandum of understanding on April 7 to evaluate the development of a new generation of cost-effective advanced nuclear reactors, such as small modular reactors (SMR), at TVA’s 935-acre Clinch River Nuclear Site in Roane County, Tenn.

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.

ANS Student Conference organizers pivot to online webinar series

When the COVID-19 pandemic forced 2020 ANS Student Conference organizers to cancel plans to meet in person on the campus of North Carolina State University, they already had a full calendar of events and hundreds of registered attendees. While the meeting could be rescheduled, graduating students who had signed up to participate in the Student Design Competition would miss the chance to present their research. Finding a way for those students to present their work was a priority.

Nuclear Energy for Quarantined Kids – and Everyone!

More and more folks are having to essentially home-school their children or relatives’ children as this whole virus thing plays out – and they are benefiting from a tremendous effort on the part of educators everywhere as transition is made to sent-out and, increasingly, remote educational materials. I thought it might be useful to present, with commentary, some short nuclear energy videos that you could watch or use if you check down through materials or want to supplant them. (We really do have to take a moment to applaud our educators, everywhere, for what they’re facing – and the administrators as well.)

Navigating Nuclear takes high school students on virtual field trip to INL

When Navigating Nuclear’s latest virtual field trip (VFT) debuted online in February during Engineers Week, students in classrooms around the country learned about nuclear advancements happening right now at Idaho National Laboratory, on technologies including advanced reactors, TRISO fuel, and space power systems. The video, titled “Nuclear Reimagined,” highlights diverse applications of nuclear technology and career opportunities in the nuclear sector and puts a spotlight on the work of ANS members Heather Chichester, Paul Demkowicz, and Stephen Johnson at INL.

High school students become “decay detectives”

Lesson plans for middle school and high school students make up only one part of the compelling nuclear science education resources that Navigating Nuclear offers for today’s classrooms. ANS’s K–12 curriculum reaches students with virtual field trips (see article that begins on page 1), career resources, and STEM project starters to get students excited about nuclear science and its applications.