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The division's objectives are to promote the advancement of knowledge and understanding of the fundamental physical phenomena characterizing nuclear reactors and other nuclear systems. The division encourages research and disseminates information through meetings and publications. Areas of technical interest include nuclear data, particle interactions and transport, reactor and nuclear systems analysis, methods, design, validation and operating experience and standards. The Wigner Award heads the awards program.
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Metz on Harold Denton: Memories of a life in nuclear safety
A number of years ago, historian and writer Chuck Metz Jr. was at the Bush’s Visitor Center in Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains when he ran into former Nuclear Regulatory Commission official Harold Denton and his wife. Metz was at the visitor center, which opened in 2010 and is now a tourist hotspot, because, as he explained to the Dentons at the time, he had overseen the development of its on-site museum and had written a companion coffee-table history book.
The chance meeting turned into a friendship and a fruitful collaboration. Denton, who in 1979 was the public spokesperson for the NRC as the Three Mile Island-2 accident unfolded, had been working on his memoir, but he was stuck. He asked Metz for help with the organization and compilation of his notes. “I was about to retire,” Metz said, “but I thought that exploring the nuclear world might be an interesting change of pace.”
Denton passed away in 2017, but by then Metz had spent many hours with his fast friend and was able to complete the memoir, Three Mile Island and Beyond: Memories of a Life in Nuclear Safety, which was published recently by ANS. Metz shared some of his thoughts about Denton and the book with Nuclear News. The interview was conducted by NN’s David Strutz.
John D. Bess
Nuclear Technology | Volume 177 | Number 1 | January 2012 | Pages 29-35
Technical Paper | Reactor Safety | dx.doi.org/10.13182/NT12-A13325
Articles are hosted by Taylor and Francis Online.
A series of 15 critical experiments performed at the Rocky Flats Critical Mass Laboratory in the late 1960s was evaluated and then determined to represent acceptable benchmark experiments for the validation of calculational methods. This series of experiments was part of a larger set of experiments performed to evaluate operational safety margins at the Rocky Flats Plant. The experiments consisted of bare plutonium metal hemishells reflected by steel hemishells of increasing thickness and motor oil. The hemishell assembly was suspended within dual aluminum tanks. Criticality was achieved by pumping oil into the tanks such that effectively infinite reflection was achieved in all directions except directly above the assembly; then the critical oil height was recorded. The results of these experiments had been initially ignored because early computational methods had been inadequate to analyze partially reflected configurations. The dominant uncertainties include the uncertainty in the average plutonium density and the composition of materials in the gaps between the plutonium hemishells. Simple and detailed benchmark models were developed. Eigenvalue calculations using MCNP5 and ENDF/B-VII.0 were within 2 of the benchmark values. This benchmark evaluation has been added to the International Handbook of Evaluated Criticality Safety Benchmark Experiments.