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Fusion Science and Technology
NC State celebrates 70 years of nuclear engineering education
An early picture of the research reactor building on the North Carolina State University campus. The Department of Nuclear Engineering is celebrating the 70th anniversary of its nuclear engineering curriculum in 2020–2021. Photo: North Carolina State University
The Department of Nuclear Engineering at North Carolina State University has spent the 2020–2021 academic year celebrating the 70th anniversary of its becoming the first U.S. university to establish a nuclear engineering curriculum. It started in 1950, when Clifford Beck, then of Oak Ridge, Tenn., obtained support from NC State’s dean of engineering, Harold Lampe, to build the nation’s first university nuclear reactor and, in conjunction, establish an educational curriculum dedicated to nuclear engineering.
The department, host to the 2021 ANS Virtual Student Conference, scheduled for April 8–10, now features 23 tenure/tenure-track faculty and three research faculty members. “What a journey for the first nuclear engineering curriculum in the nation,” said Kostadin Ivanov, professor and department head.
A. L. Wehmeyer, R. F. Radel, G. L. Kulcinski
Fusion Science and Technology | Volume 47 | Number 4 | May 2005 | Pages 1260-1264
Technical Paper | Fusion Energy - Nonelectric Applications | dx.doi.org/10.13182/FST05-A861
Articles are hosted by Taylor and Francis Online.
Detection of explosives has been identified as a near term commercial opportunity for using a fusion plasma. Typical explosive compositions contain low Z material (C, N, O) which are not easily detected using conventional x-rays or metal detectors. However, 2.45 MeV neutrons produced in a D-D fusion reaction can be used for detection of explosives or other clandestine materials in suitcases, packages, or shipping containers.Steady-state D-D operation is possible using an Inertial Electrostatic Confinement (IEC) fusion device. The University of Wisconsin IEC device has produced D-D neutrons at 1.8 × 108 neutrons/second at a true cathode voltage of 166 kV and a meter current of 68 mA. These neutron production rates are approaching the levels required for the detection of explosives. In order to increase and optimize the neutron production rate in the IEC device, experiments were performed altering the cathode's size (diameter), geometry, and material composition. Preliminary results indicate that significant differences in neutron production rates are not achieved by altering the geometry or material composition of the cathode. However, the neutron production rate was found to increase approximately 20% by doubling the cathode's diameter from 10 cm to 20 cm. In addition, increasing the cathode voltage from 34 kV to 94 kV at a meter current of 30 mA increased the neutron production rate from 1.24 × 106 n/s to 2.83 × 107 n/s.