ANS is committed to advancing, fostering, and promoting the development and application of nuclear sciences and technologies to benefit society.
Explore the many uses for nuclear science and its impact on energy, the environment, healthcare, food, and more.
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.
2023 ANS Winter Conference and Expo
November 12–15, 2023
Washington, D.C.|Washington Hilton
The Standards Committee is responsible for the development and maintenance of voluntary consensus standards that address the design, analysis, and operation of components, systems, and facilities related to the application of nuclear science and technology. Find out What’s New, check out the Standards Store, or Get Involved today!
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Nuclear Science and Engineering
Fusion Science and Technology
New TRIGA fuel delivered to a U.S. university reactor for the first time in a decade
Penn State’s Radiation Science and Engineering Center (RSEC) has received the first new TRIGA fuel shipped to the United States since 2012, the university announced on September 28. The fuel reached University Park, Pa., on September 27 and is destined for RSEC’s Breazeale Reactor, the nation’s longest continuously operating university research reactor.
August 30, 2023|2:00–3:00PM (3:00–4:00PM EDT)
Available to All Users
Nuclear technologies and extra-terrestrial applications have a long, storied, and successful history together; however, the famed nuclear programs of previous decades have not resulted in further applications and deployment as many originally believed. But programs at NASA, DARPA, and the DOD aim to change that paradigm and accelerate humanity's space-based ambitions with nuclear rockets and non-terrestrial reactors for energy. As these programs continue to grow and expand, a potential revolution in the way humans travel, live, and work in space is underway and ANS is excited to share perspectives around these programs and activities from the experts helping lead these efforts.
Anthony CalominoSpace Nuclear Technologies Lead, Space Technology Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters
Tabitha DodsonProgram Manager, Demonstration Rocket for Agile Cislunar Operations (DRACO)
Lt. Col. Thomas NixU.S. Space Force, JETSON Project Lead and Senior Military Advisor, Spacecraft Technology Division (RVS), Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL)
Craig PiercyExecutive Director/CEO,American Nuclear Society
Anthony is a materials and structures research engineer with the NASA Langley Research Center and has worked for NASA since 1985. He has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Structural and Engineering Mechanics, and obtained a doctorate in Materials Science from Northwestern University. His primary research is in durability and damage modeling for high temperature materials and composites including metallic super alloys, ceramic matrix composites, ablators, and refractory soft goods.
Anthony currently serves as the NASA Materials technical lead for Entry Systems Modeling project and the Deputy Principal Investigator for Flexible Systems Development under NASA’s Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator Programs.
Tabitha joined the Tactical Technology Office in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) as a program manager in August 2021. Her interests are in advanced space payloads, electric propulsion, astrodynamics, nuclear thermal and nuclear electric propulsion, overall rocket propulsion, advanced nuclear reactors, plasma physics and plasma engineering, nuclear/quantum/particle physics, and hypersonics.
Tabitha is the Program Manager for the Demonstration Rocket for Agile Cislunar Operations (DRACO) program. Prior to becoming a program manager at DARPA, she was a Systems Engineering and Technical Assistance (SETA) contractor with Gryphon-Schafer Government Services, LLC, also within DARPA, where she served beginning in 2018 as the chief engineer of the DRACO program, which endeavors to build and test a nuclear thermal rocket. Upon conversion to being a government employee in 2021, she continued to serve as DRACO’s chief engineer, concurrently as its deputy program manager. Dodson has worked an adjunct professor of aerospace engineering at the United States Naval Academy and also as an adjunct professor in the Aeronautics and Astronautics Department of the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT). Dodson has worked in various other positions within and for the U.S. Air Force, including as an aerospace engineer and senior scientist in the fields of spacecraft engineering, space missions and operations, space power, and space propulsion. She was also a Graduate Student Researchers Program fellow with NASA conducting research in materials for nuclear thermal propulsion.
Tabitha holds a doctorate in applied physics from the Air Force Institute of Technology, as well as a Ph.D. in mechanical and aerospace engineering from the George Washington University (GWU), where she also earned a master’s in space policy, in addition to bachelor’s degrees in physics, sociology, and anthropology.
Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Nix
Lieutenant Colonel Nix, United States Space Force, Space Nuclear Power Lead and Senior Military Advisor, Spacecraft Technology Division (RVS), Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), Kirtland AFB, New Mexico. As Senior Military Advisor, Lieutenant Colonel Nix provides leadership and direction for over 120 personnel (24 Military, 100 Civilians) conducting world class research across multiple portfolios to advance spacecraft technologies and oversight of a $238M annual budget across 33 technology programs. As Space Nuclear Power lead, Lt Col Nix provides oversight for $103M program advancing multiple technical areas including heat dissipation, power conversion, and nuclear power systems.
Lt Col Nix graduated from the United States Air Force Academy and earned his commission in 2002. He began his career at Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training (SUPT) at Laughlin AFB, TX as a student pilot. Assignments following that include at Materials Directorate and Headquarters, Air Force Research Laboratory, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base where he worked on advanced ceramics, polymers, and multiple aircraft material upgrades for F-22, JSF, C-17, RQ-4, and A-10. He also was the AFRL program lead for rapid runway expansion testing, USAF Body/Vehicle Armor Subject Matter Expert, X-51 Material Insertion, and the Executive Officer for the AFRL Commander during his tenure.
Following that assignment, Lt Col Nix transferred to Vandenberg AFB, CA where he worked on the initial Minotaur IV rocket launch along with 12 additional Minotaur I/IV launches to include Space Based Space Surveillance (SBSS) and Hypersonic Test Vehicle (HTV) 1 and 2, along with Group and Wing staff rotations. From there, he transferred to Los Angeles AFB, CA; where he was the Requirements Chief for the Global Positioning System (GPS) enterprise, balancing 4 ACAT- I program requirement changes and leading a $255M Systems Engineering support source selection and $32M/yr FFRDC support contract. Following that assignment, he was selected as technical lead for the Multi-Int Fusion Processing System and Sentient Operations Branch Chief at the National Reconnaissance Office in the Ground Enterprise Division. There he oversaw the development and execution of $238M/year budget and lead the transformation of Intelligence Community processing to the cloud and the adoption of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence to enhance the National Overhead Systems Future Ground Architecture. Later, he transferred to Kirtland AFB, NM to lead the advanced analytics division at the Air Force Inspection Agency as well as deploying to Camp Arifjan, Kuwait as the Inspector General and Chief of External Oversight for Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve before transferring to his current assignment in AFRL.