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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.
Nicholas G. Trikouros
Nuclear Technology | Volume 178 | Number 2 | May 2012 | Pages 233-239
Technical Paper | Small Modular Reactors / Fission Reactors | dx.doi.org/10.13182/NT12-A13562
Articles are hosted by Taylor and Francis Online.
A great deal of interest has developed recently in the implementation of small reactors in the United States and abroad. Small reactors may offer a significant number of advantages over larger reactors. The diversity of size, design, configuration, and construction features and their planned utilization for nonelectrical power applications as well as traditional power applications pose significant challenges to the current U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) regulatory structure. The current structure is geared toward nontransportable, commercial, electrical power-producing, light water-cooled reactors utilizing traditional nuclear fuel designs. The NRC is currently engaged in a number of preapplication discussions concerning small reactor designs encompassing three distinctively different technologies. These are integral light water reactors, high-temperature gas-cooled reactors, and liquid metal-cooled reactors. Light water reactor technology-based power generation small reactors will fit best in the current NRC regulatory framework.In response to the anticipated licensing workload, the NRC has implemented organizational changes and has increased its focus in areas supporting the licensing of small reactors. Although the licensing of small reactors has to comply with the requirements imposed by the Atomic Energy Act and the National Environmental Policy Act, there are significant design differences among the various proposed small reactors and the currently licensed reactor designs that result in a number of issues that need to be resolved to properly comply with these statutory requirements. Given the diversity of small reactor designs, a regulatory structure that provides licensing flexibility combined with the required degree of safety assurance would be needed. This is likely to involve a risk-informed and technology-neutral regulatory approach.