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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.
Clay A. Cooper, David L. Decker
Nuclear Technology | Volume 174 | Number 3 | June 2011 | Pages 452-459
Technical Paper | TOUGH2 Symposium / Radioactive Waste Management and Disposal | dx.doi.org/10.13182/NT11-A11752
Articles are hosted by Taylor and Francis Online.
Nuclear rocket engine technology is being considered as a means of interplanetary vehicle propulsion for a manned mission to Mars. Significant technological research and development are required before nuclear-based rocket propulsion can be integrated into an interplanetary vehicle, including the firing of full-scale nuclear rocket engines in a test and evaluation facility. Testing of nuclear engines in the 1950s and 1960s was accomplished by directing engine exhaust gases into the atmosphere, a practice that is no longer acceptable. Testing nuclear rocket engines by injection of associated radioactive exhaust gases and water vapor into deep unsaturated zones may be a way to sequester radionuclides and will require comprehensive design of a nuclear engine test facility. We conducted numerical simulations to determine the ability of an unsaturated zone with the hydraulic properties of Yucca Flat alluvium at the Nevada National Security Site to contain gas-phase radionuclides. In these simulations, gas and water vapor (from water sprayed into the exhaust for cooling) were injected for two hours at a temperature of 600°C and with rates of 14.5 kg s-1 and 15 kg s-1 , respectively, in varying thicknesses of alluvium with an intrinsic permeability of 10-11 m2 and porosity of 0.35. These simulations suggest that following the test of an engine, gaseous radionuclides injected below 200 m will not migrate to the land surface. The simulations show that the gaseous/vapor injectate will cool and condense within several meters of the injection point, although there will be limited, if any, downward drainage of liquid. However, the nearly horizontal hydraulic groundwater gradient present in Yucca Flat should limit lateral migration of any condensate that may drain downward and reach the water table.