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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.
Darryl D. Siemer
Nuclear Technology | Volume 178 | Number 3 | June 2012 | Pages 341-352
Technical Note | Reprocessing | dx.doi.org/10.13182/NT12-A13599
Articles are hosted by Taylor and Francis Online.
An often cited weakness of the Integral Fast Reactor (IFR) concept is that the chloride salt-based radioactive waste generated by its electrorefiner (ER) cannot be vitrified. Although that assertion is literally true, it is also misleading because it would be quite simple to recycle that waste's chloride and vitrify its cationic components (mostly alkali metals and fission products). Producing this alternative to Argonne National Laboratory's ceramic waste form would entail vitrification of a mixture of orthophosphoric acid, ferric oxide, and powdered ER salt with a melter able to efficiently disengage gas bubbles, e.g., a Stir Melter. The HCl evolved by this process would be absorbed by an aqueous lithium/potassium hydroxide scrub solution, which would then be dried and recycled as fresh ER electrolyte. Because radioiodide would otherwise accumulate in the ER salt, the caustic scrub solution would occasionally be contacted with cuprous or silver chloride before recycle. This scenario's primary advantages would be much lower cost and approximately fivefold greater effective waste loading. This paper describes the experimental work supporting these contentions.