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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.
Lanfranco Monti, Ki-Bog Lee, Massimiliano Fratoni, Marco Sumini, Ehud Greenspan
Nuclear Science and Engineering | Volume 161 | Number 1 | January 2009 | Pages 1-21
Technical Paper | dx.doi.org/10.13182/NSE162-01
Articles are hosted by Taylor and Francis Online.
The feasibility of indefinite recycling in the Encapsulated Nuclear Heat Source (ENHS) core without changing the pitch-to-diameter (P/D) ratio, while maintaining a nearly zero burnup reactivity swing, is investigated. The P/D ratio required to achieve a nearly burnup-independent keff over the life of the ENHS core was found sensitive to the initial composition of the transuranium (TRU) loaded and to the number of recycles this fuel underwent. The longer the cooling time is of the TRU from light water reactor (LWR) spent fuel, the larger the optimal P/D ratio becomes. Whereas the optimal P/D ratio of the reference ENHS core that is fueled with TRU from LWR spent fuel discharged at 50 GWd/t heavy metal (HM) and cooled for 10 yr is 1.36, it is 1.54 for the equilibrium core that features a substantially smaller concentration of 241Pu as well as of 242Pu, a larger concentration of 239Pu, and a substantially larger concentration of minor actinides. It was found that by increasing the cooling period of the above LWR TRU to ~32 yr, the optimal first core P/D ratio is that of the equilibrium core. The burnup reactivity swing of the subsequent cores fueled with successive recycling of the ENHS discharged HM is satisfactory. There is no need to adjust the core P/D ratio from recycle to recycle. The power level that can be removed by natural circulation from the P/D = 1.54 core is ~36% higher than that of the reference ENHS core. The physical phenomena affecting the observed trends are discussed, and the neutronic characteristics of the equilibrium cores identified are summarized.