Tim Jacomb-Hood Awarded Nuclear Forensics Graduate Fellowship
Congratulations to Timothy Jacomb-Hood for being chosen as a Nuclear Forensics Graduate Fellow. It was said that this year was a very competitive application cycle.
A recent graduate of Penn State University with a degree in Nuclear Engineering, Tim grew up in Yardley, a small town near Philadelphia. He has been interested in nuclear security for several years now. Last summer, he was awarded the Nuclear Forensics Undergraduate Scholarship. After obtaining his Ph.D., he hopes to work at a national laboratory for a few years and eventually end up as a professor.
Frazer Scholarship to Benefit Nuclear Engineering at Texas A&M
Carol and Ross Frazer of College Station, Texas, have endowed a scholarship for nuclear engineering undergraduates at Texas A&M University.
Their gift will establish the Carol Fox Frazer '77 and G. Ross Frazer '77 Scholarship. Matching funds from Ray Rothrock of Portola Valley, Calif., will increase the endowment to $25,000. Preference will be given to applicants who participate in the Society of Women Engineers and in a cooperative education program.
Both are of the class of 1977, with Carol receiving her bachelor's degree in civil engineering and Ross earning his in nuclear engineering.
"Texas A&M and its engineering school have been central to so much of what both Carol and I have been able to accomplish and enjoy," Ross said. "We hope this effort will similarly equip future graduates and also inspire other class of 1977 engineers to do what they can."
The scholarship is part of the Robert G. Cochran Scholars Program, honoring the first Texas A&M nuclear engineering department head. Cochran served 22 years and under his leadership the discipline's first undergraduate program emerged.
The Frazers have been longtime supporters of Texas A&M, contributing to both the Texas A&M Foundation and The Association of Former Students.
About the Dwight Look College of Engineering
With nearly 350 tenured/tenure-track faculty members and more than 11,000 students, the Look College is the second-largest engineering school in the country. The college is ranked seventh in graduate studies, ninth in undergraduate programs, and second in research expenditures among public institutions by U.S. News & World Report, with seven of the college's 12 departments ranked in the Top 10.
About the Texas A&M Foundation
The Texas A&M Foundation is a private nonprofit organization that solicits and manages investments in academics and leadership programs to enhance Texas A&M's capability to be among the best universities. For more information on the Texas A&M Foundation and related giving opportunities, visit giving.tamu.edu.
NUEN Department Teams Participate in TAMU Engineering Project Showcase
The department was represented by three teams out of over 100 in the 2013 TAMU Engineering Project Showcase on April 19.
Team 1, presenting "Spent Fuel Pool Graphical User Interface Application for Verifying Fuel Assembly Placement" was led by faculty advisor Dr. Cable Kurwitz and sponsored by the South Texas Project Nuclear Operating Station. The project description is: Development of a Java-based GUI to assist the nuclear engineers at the South Texas Project Nuclear Operating Station in the placement and storage of their spent nuclear fuel in their fuel pools. Where the engineers perform manual calculations to determine the safe storage of this fuel, the program will perform the same calculations for them as a secondary check. The team was made up of seven undergraduates from biomedical, math and nuclear.
Team 2, presenting "Phase Change Materials as Passive Safety Features in Nuclear Spent Fuel Pool" was also led by Dr. Kurwitz, but sponsored by the Nuclear Power Institute (NPI). The project addressed the following: In the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear accident of March 11, 2011, the safety of nuclear power plants has been put under public scrutiny. The Systems Engineering Initiative at Texas A&M University has been working hand-in-hand with members of the Czech Republic to improve the current safety of spent fuel pools, and aid in the design of a future nuclear power plant by incorporating phase change materials (PCMs). PCMs have the ability to absorb thermal energy and prolong the heat-up of water in the spent fuel pool. In the event of a loss of active cooling to a spent fuel pool, the use of PCMs would slow the boiling and evaporation of water from the spent fuel pool. This would give the plant personnel more time to resume active cooling or secure the area. After performing various measurements and experiments during the 2011-2012 academic year, the team was able to determine and select the ideal PCMs for application in the spent fuel pool. The next milestone of this project, which is the main focus of this yearÃ-Â¢
s research, is to apply the information collected last year to strategically design where the PCMs will be placed in the spent fuel pool to maximize the effect of PCMs.The team was made up of four undergraduates, from chemical and nuclear.
The AggiE-Challenge team, led by faculty advisor Dr. Sunil Chirayath, and graduate student advisor Evans Kitcher. The team consists of eleven junior and senior level undergraduate students from the departments of Nuclear Engineering and Industrial and Systems Engineering. The project, titled "Multi-Disciplinary Approach to Effectively Interdict Highly Enriched Uranium Smuggling," addresses one of the grand challenges articulated by the National Academy of Engineering, namely, "Prevention of Nuclear Terrorism." Only a few tens of kilograms of highly enriched uranium (HEU) are required to build a nuclear bomb but more than one million kilograms of HEU exists in the world. A concern is that HEU could be stolen and smuggled into the U.S., either as HEU or as a nuclear weapon, for acts of nuclear terrorism. Securing the U.S. borders against attempts to transport HEU is a national priority. Current nuclear material detection technology is inadequate for several important HEU smuggling scenarios. One of the most difficult challenges is the interdiction of shielded HEU being smuggled into the U.S. in cargo containers or border crossing vehicles. The team was subdivided into two smaller teams focused on specific scenarios associated with this issue. Team A presented the strategic network analysis to solve the problem for the smuggling of HEU into the US through border crossings in cars and trucks, and Team B presented the strategic network analysis to solve the problem for the smuggling of HEU into the US through sea ports in cargo containers.
For more information on the TAMU Engineering Project Showcase, along with a list of all participating project teams, see the TAMU Engineering website.
TAMU Students Sweep Annual Student Paper Competition for South Texas Chapter HPS
The South Texas Chapter of the Health Physics Society held their Annual Student Paper Competition April 20 at Texas State Technical College in Waco, TX. A total of 15 oral presentations were made in the three categories by students from five different institutions. Participating universities were Texas A&M, Texas State Technical College, University of Houston-Downtown, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, and University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
In the associate degree category:
First - Moriah Hunter-Collins, TSTC
Second - Rebecca Guthrie, TSTC
In the undergraduate degree category:
First - Sara Loupot, TAMU
Second - SEI Team, Chapeaux, Tindle, Tang and Skloss, TAMU
Third - Yesenia Salazar, University of Houston-Downtown
In the graduate degree category:
First - Jonathan Madsen, TAMU
Second -T. Michael Martin, TAMU
Third - Mathew Grypp, TAMU
Congratulations to everyone that presented a paper, and a special congratulations to the winners from the department of Nuclear Engineering at Texas A&M!
NSSPI Leads Nuclear Facilities Experience in Japan
From April 7-12, 2013, NSSPI conducted the 2013 Nuclear Facilities Experience (NFE) in Japan. The event was co-coordinated with the Integrated Support Center for Nuclear Nonproliferation and Nuclear Security (ISCN) of the Japan Atomic Energy Authority, and participants in the NFE included students and professors from TAMU, the Tomsk Polytechnic University of Russia, and the Hanoi University of Science of the Vietnamese National University. NSSPI Director and TAMU-NE Associate Professor Dr. William Charlton and NSSPI Associate Research Engineer Claudio Gariazzo led the group on tours of facilities and historically significant sites throughout Japan.
The NFE served as a unique opportunity for university students to visit nuclear fuel cycle facilities in Japan and discuss applied safeguards and security measures with actual practitioners and facility operators. The first day's activities included visiting the historically-significant Hiroshima Peace Park and the Peace Memorial Museum as well as hearing 84-year-old Keijiro Matsushima's account of the August 6th, 1945 bombing of Hiroshima. It was a truly inspiring moment for all in attendance and properly conveyed the importance and gravity of the nuclear nonproliferation problem the world faces today.
The technical visits began on Monday, April 8th at the MONJU fast breeder reactor (FBR) R&D Center and the FUGEN Decommissioning Center on the Tsuruga peninsula where NFE participants met with facility operators and material control and accounting practitioners of both facilities and toured various areas open only for the NFE. The MONJU visit was to learn the unique implementation of the safeguards system for sodium-cooled FBR and convey the safety challenges of a sodium-based coolant system. The visit to FUGEN was focused on the plutonium nondestructive assay system being installed and to understand the requirements of applied safeguards and safety measures for decommissioning an advanced thermal reactor (ATR) facility. On Tuesday, April 9th, the NFE participants visited the Mihama Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) and met with the applied safeguards specialists. Tours included visits to the fresh and spent fuel ponds as well as the containment vessel.
On Wednesday, April 10th the group visited the host organization, ISCN, and other facilities at the site, namely the Plutonium Fuel Production Facility (PFPF) and the Tokai Reprocessing Plant (TRP). While at the ISCN, participants witnessed current research and development activities in physical security and met with the director of the center, Masao Senzaki (Board Member, INMM-Japan). NSSPI Director and TAMU-NE Associate Professor William Charlton presented Dr. Senzaki with a plaque thanking the ISCN and its substantial contributions to the NFE and nuclear safeguards/security education. Furthermore, IAEA inspector, Georges Duhamel, presented work completed by the IAEA on implementing safeguards to the Fukushima Dai-ichi NPP accident and how the agency plans to meet the needs of long-term accounting of melted spent reactor fuel. The PFPF and TRP visits aimed to educate the NFE participants on the safeguards implementation on a MOX (mixed-oxide) fuel production facility and a reprocessing facility.
On Thursday, April 11th, students and professors at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, by who have endeavored to create a robust nuclear security and safety educational "DOJO" program, hosted the NFE participants for a cultural excursion in the morning followed by lunch. During this activity, students representing the United States, Russia, Vietnam, Japan, China, and France interacted and held lively discussions from their own perspectives on nuclear energy, nonproliferation, global politics, sports, and cuisine. On Friday, April 12th, the NFE participants visited the Rokkasho Uranium Enrichment Plant, the Vitrification Storage Facility and the Reprocessing Plant. Here students were able to step through the entire reprocessing process as well as discuss the applied nuclear security and safeguards measures with the facility practitioners. Overall, the entire week's activities proved very fruitful for all involved.
Read more at nsspi.tamu.edu.
NUEN Professors Boyle & Charlton Among College of Engineering Safety Officers Recognized
Safety officers in Texas A&M Engineering have received the Spring 2013 Environmental Health and Safety's Safe Laboratory Award.
Texas A&M's Environmental Health and Safety recognized the efforts of engineering safety officers in contributing to the safe environment in engineering laboratories.
The engineering safety officers were honored with a certificate and a luncheon April 12.
The Engineering Safety Council works to identify hazards, reduce risk and implement appropriate controls to faciltate a safe, healthful, sustainable and secure work environment in the Dwight Look College of Engineering at Texas A&M University and in labs and facilities of the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station.
Council members are:
David Breeding, Office of the Vice Chancellor for Engineering and Interdisciplinary Engineering
Rodney Inmon, Aerospace Engineering
Julie King and Barry Jackson, Biomedical Engineering
Doug White, Joel James and Louis Muniz, Chemical Engineering
Dave Cote and Jeremy Stewart, Computer Science and Engineering
Larry John, Civil Engineering
Jessie Hernandez and Robert Atkins, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Frank Cervantez and Wayne Hung, Engineering Technology and Industrial Distribution
Mark Hopkus and Dennis Allen, Industrial and Systems Engineering
Daniel Theiss and Mitch Wittneben, Mechanical Engineering
Chris Crouch and Troy Stepan, Nuclear Engineering
John Maldonado, Petroleum Engineering
Josh Kading, TEES Energy Systems Laboratory
Chris Mack and Rich Clough, TEES Food Protein Research and Development Center
Robert Atkins, Institute of Solid State Electronics
Jeff Hustetler and Ccecil Rhodes, Flight Mechanics Laboratory
William Rogers, TEES Mary Kay O'Connor Process Safety Center
Jan Gerson, Materials Science and Engineering
Jim Remlinger and Debra Arrington, TEES Nuclear Science Center
Chris Felderhoff, TEES Offshore Technology Research Center
Chip Hill, Space Engineering Center
Michael Schuller, Spacecraft Technology Center
Peter Keating and Matt Potter, High Bay Structural and Materials Testing Laboratory
Linda Huff, TEES Texas Center for Applied Technology
Ray Matthews, TEES Turbomachinery Laboratory
Ed White and John Kochan, Oran W. Nicks Low-speed Wind Tunnel
Bill Charlton and Dave Boyle, TEES Nuclear Security Science and Policy Institute
Miller Travels to India to Lecture on Nuclear Security
NSSPI senior Ph.D. student James Miller is currently visiting the Nuclear Energy program at Pandit Deendayahl Petroleum University (PDPU) in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India. He is there to give a series of lectures on nuclear security to students in the PDPU Nuclear Energy Masters of Technology (M.Tech.) program. The five-week course runs from March 18 - April 20 and covers topics including the nuclear fuel cycle, nuclear security, physical protection, and nuclear materials accounting. The five PDPU student participants are all first-year students with backgrounds in mechanical and electrical engineering. To reciprocate the exchange, these students will travel to TAMU this summer to participate in practical hands-on laboratory training in nuclear security to support the material covered in the PDPU course.
This exchange is being conducted in conjunction with Sandia National Laboratories and the US Department of State within the framework of a Memorandum of Agreement between PDPU and TAMU that was finalized in January 2013. TAMU entities participating in the Program Agreement accompanying that MOA are the TAMU Department of Nuclear Engineering, the Nuclear Power Institute (NPI), and the NSSPI. In 2010, senior Ph.D. student Adam Hetzler gave a shorter series of similar lectures at PDPU, and in 2012 a group of two PDPU students along with Professor Shriram Paranjape, Chair of the PDPU Nuclear Energy department, visited NSSPI to receive hands-on laboratory experience in measurement techniques to support the security of nuclear materials.
James Miller is a Ph.D. student in the TAMU Department of Nuclear Engineering working with NSSPI Director Dr. William Charlton. His dissertation involves researching and monitoring levels of uranium and other heavy metals in radiation workers through experimental electrochemistry, work he performed during his internship with the Nuclear and Radiochemistry Group at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
Chirayath to Co-Supervise Students at South Africa's North-West University
NSSPI faculty member Dr. Sunil S. Chirayath has been selected by the Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering at South Africa's North-West University (Potchefstroom Campus) to be the Co-Supervisor for two of their Nuclear Engineering graduate students. Dr. Chirayath will advising Ph.D. student Marina du Toit and M.Sc. student Sinenhlanhla Sihlangu in their research along with North-West faculty members Dr. Anthonie Cilliers and Dr. Vishnu Naicker, respectively. Ms. Toit will be conducting research on the "Development of Gen III+ PWR Thorium based Fuels" and Ms. Sihlangu on the "Neutronic Study of a Block Type HTR using MCNP5 and SCALE6."
Distinguished Former Student Ray Rothrock '77 named a COE Outstanding Alumni
The recipients of the Dwight Look College of Engineering's 2012-2013 Outstanding Alumni Honor Award include Distinguished Former Student of the Nuclear Engineering department, Ray Rothrock.
"Ray's dedication and continued support to our department has not wavered over the years. In fact, it has only increased. We are proud to call him a Distinguished Former Student of our department," said Dr. Yassin Hassan, department head.
A banquet will be held to recognize the recipients on April 4.
Ray A. Rothrock '77
Ray Rothrock is a partner of the venture capital firm Venrock, which he joined in 1988 to fund and build early-stage technology companies that aimed to solve big problems and improve lives by bringing great products and technologies to market. He began his professional career as a nuclear engineer with Yankee Atomic Electric in Westborough, Mass., and then spent a year in uranium operations at Exxon Minerals. Before joining Venrock, he also participated in three Silicon Valley venture capital-backed companies, including the successful Sun Microsystems.
Rothrock established Venrock's Internet practice in 1992 and its energy practice in 2004, and was a managing partner until 2010. His venture investments have resulted in a lifetime investment internal rate of return of 94 percent and earned him the #49 spot on the Forbes Midas List in 2012. He also is chairman of the National Venture Capital Association. A frequent speaker on venture, energy and technology, he has testified before Congress on numerous matters such as entrepreneurship, and in 2010, he testified before the President's Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future. He was also invited to the White House to brief Vice President Joe Biden.
Rothrock graduated from Texas A&M in 1977 with a Bachelor of Science in nuclear engineering. He completed his Master of Science in nuclear engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1978 and graduated with distinction from the Harvard Business School in 1988. He served on the Texas A&M Vision 2020 Committee and endowed a chair in music in the College of Liberal Arts, creating the music degree program at Texas A&M. He also served on the board of the Association of Former Students, as well as the Board of Trustees of the Texas A&M Foundation from 2003-2010 and chair of its investment committee.
Charlton Participates in CTBTO Academic Forum
From March 18-20 NSSPI Director Dr. William Charlton participated in the CTBTO Academic Forum in Vienna, Austria. Focused on education related to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), the forum was organized by the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) as part of their Capacity Development Initiative and intended for academics engaged and interested in CTBT education as well as broader disarmament and non-proliferation topics. The purpose of the forum was to build upon the dialogue of a previous seminar held last summer by assessing lessons learned, identifying methods of integrating CTBT-related topics into existing policy or science-based academic curricula, and convening group activities aimed at developing modules and educational resources to further the aforementioned objectives.
Based in Vienna, the CTBTO was founded in 1966 and is tasked with promoting the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which aims to ban nuclear explosions by all nations, and building up the verification regime for the implementation of the treaty. The CBTO's Capacity Development Initiative is focused on expanding the pool of CTBT stakeholders within academic and research institutions around the globe.