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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.
Francis Barbry, Patrick Fouillaud, Pascal Grivot, Ludovic Reverdy
Nuclear Science and Engineering | Volume 161 | Number 2 | February 2009 | Pages 160-187
Technical Paper | dx.doi.org/10.13182/NSE08-15
Articles are hosted by Taylor and Francis Online.
In 1967, the Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique (French Atomic Energy Agency) performed its first research on criticality accidents for the purpose of limiting their impact on people, the environment, and nuclear facilities themselves. A criticality accident is accompanied by intense neutron and gamma emissions and release of radioactive fission products - gases and aerosols - generating risk of irradiation and contamination. This work has supplemented earlier work in criticality safety, which concentrated on critical mass measurements and computations. Understanding of the consequences of criticality accidents was limited. Emergency planning was hampered by lack of data. Information became available from pulsed reactor experiments, but the experiments were restricted to the established reactor configurations. The objectives of research performed at the Valduc criticality laboratory, mainly on aqueous fissile media, using the CRAC and SILENE facilities, by multidisciplinary teams of physicists, dosimetry specialists, and radiobiologists, were to model criticality accident physics, estimate irradiation risks and radioactive releases, detect excursions, and organize emergency response. The results of the Valduc experiments have contributed toward improved understanding of criticality accident phenomenology and better evaluation of the risks associated with such accidents.