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Peter Earns His Senior Reactor Operator License

Peter Kowal passed the Nuclear Regulatory Commission examination to become a Senior Reactor Operator (SRO) at the Walthousen Reactor Critical Facility (RCF). He adds to the list of R-NEAMS members who have become SROs at RPI’s reactor. As an SRO, Peter helps support the operational activities of RCF, including the critical reactor laboratory class, tours for students and technical groups, and ongoing research.

ANS Winter Meeting 2017: Generations in Collaboration: Building for Tomorrow

Members of the R-NEAMS research group attended the ANS Winter Meeting this week in Washington, D.C. Matthew Eklund presented his research “Neutronics Simulations of the RPI Walthousen Reactor Critical Facility (RCF) Using Proteus-SN”. Mathieu Dupont gave a talk about his research, titled “Design of Neutronics and Thermal Hydraulics Coupling Critical Experiments.”
Former members Chris Morrison and Andrew Pavlou were also in attendance.

R-NEAMS members at the 2017 ANS Winter Meeting

RPI Honors Convocation

Several R-NEAMS group members were recognized at Rensselaer’s 24th annual Honors Convocation. The event was held in the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) on October 28, 2017 during Family Weekend.
Sam Walker was recognized for winning the Department of Energy’s Integrated University Program Fellowship. This fellowship covers tuition expenses for three years, it also provides an opportunity to conduct research at a DOE National Laboratory for a summer.
Jaron Senecal was awarded the RPI Founders Award of Excellence. The Founders Award of Excellence was established in 1994 to honor students who embody qualities of creativity, discovery, leadership, and the values of pride and responsibility at Rensselaer.

Chris Defends His Dissertation

On Tuesday, April 25, Christopher Morrison presented his doctoral work entitled “Improving Prompt Doppler Feedback Using Micro-Engineered Heterogeneous Composite Matrix Nuclear Fuel”. His doctoral committee approved, and he is set to graduate officially in August. He is planning on a career in industry developing nuclear technologies that enable space travel.

Co-Terminal Students Defend Their Theses

Three members of R-NEAMS have successfully defended their master’s theses and are set to graduate in May.
Manuel Franco’s thesis is titled “Modeling the Effects of Ion Strike Displacement Damage on the 3D Reciprocal Space of Silicon.” After he graduates he will be joining the Legacy Engineer Program at the Palo Verde Nuclear Power Generating Station in Arizona.

Beren Evans defended his thesis titled, “Evaluation of Shielding Performance for Newly Developed Composite Materials.”

Ferheen Qureshi’s thesis is titled, “A Performance Investigation of the GE-14 Nuclear Fuel Bundle with Weighted Objective Functions.” She is planning to work as an associate fuels engineer for the cycle management department at Exelon’s corporate office in Kennett Square, PA.

ANS Winter Meeting: Nuclear Science + Technology: Imperatives for a Sustainable World

Three members of the Rensselaer NEAMS research group attended the American Nuclear Society Winter Meeting which was held November 6-10 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mathieu Dupont presented on “Development of Critical Experiments to Benchmark Moderator Temperature Reactivity Worth.” Matthew Eklund also reported on his research in “Computational Modeling, Simulation and Analysis of the RPI Walthousen Reactor Critical Facility (RCF).” Jaron Senecal presented the latest results of his research in the session for the Innovations in Fuel Cycle Research Awards Program.

Matthew & Mathieu at the ANS Winter Conference

Matthew & Mathieu at the ANS Winter Conference

RPI’s Reactor Celebrates 60 Years of Operation

This week, reactor staff and students celebrated 60 years of operation at the Walthousen Reactor Critical Facility. The RCF first achieved criticality on August 26, 1956. At the time it was owned by the American Locomotive Company. Since 1963, RPI has been using this unique asset for research, teaching, and training.
Learn more about the RCF here and here.
Here’s to the years of research and teaching yet to come!

RPI students have the opportunity to earn a Senior Reactor Operator license at the RCF

RPI students have the opportunity to earn a Senior Reactor Operator license at the RCF

Trainee at the control panel

Trainee at the control panel

Jaron inspecting the reactor core and tank

Jaron inspecting the reactor core and tank

Critical at exactly one Watt

Critical at exactly one Watt

Jaron Wins 2nd Place in Innovations in Fuel Cycle Research Competition

Jaron Senecal has been awarded a Second Place prize in the Innovations in Fuel Cycle Research Awards sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Fuel Cycle Technologies. Jaron’s award is in the Open Competition in the category of Nuclear Science and Engineering. His award-winning research paper, “A Modified Tightly Coupled Method for Reactor Transient Simulations,” was presented at the Physics of Reactors (PHYSOR) Conference in May 2016.

In order to be successful and retain its leadership role in nuclear technologies, the United States must foster creativity and breakthrough achievements to develop tomorrow’s nuclear technologies. The Department of Energy has long recognized that university students are an important source of breakthrough solutions and a key component in meeting its long-term goals. The Innovations in Fuel Cycle Research Awards program was developed for this purpose.

For more information on the Innovations in Fuel Cycle Research Awards program, click here.

Several of Dr. Ji’s students have won this award in previous years: Elise, Andrew, and Chris.

PHYSOR ’16: Unifying Theory and Experiments in the 21st Century

The biennial Physics of Reactors (PHYSOR) conference was held in Sun Valley, Idaho from May 1 to 6. The NEAMS research group was very active at the conference. Dr. Ji was the lead session organizer for the Multiphysics Reactor Simulations technical track which consisted of over 30 presentations. Chris Morrison and Jaron Senecal presented their papers in this technical track. Chris presented “Coupled Neutronics and Heat Transfer in Accident Tolerant Composite Matrix Nuclear Fuels.” Jaron’s presentation was titled “A Modified Tightly Coupled Method for Reactor Transient Simulations.” Former NEAMS member Andrew Pavlou presented his work, “Verification of the On-the-Fly Thermal Scattering Sampling Method for Bound Hydrogen in Light Water.”

Chris and Jaron Earn Senior Reactor Operator Licenses

RCF core
Chris Morrison and Jaron Senecal earned their Senior Reactor Operator licenses at RPI’s Walthousen Reactor Critical Facility (RCF). The RCF is low-power (less than 15 Watts) reactor used for research and teaching the Critical Reactor Laboratory course. This new group of licensees will help ease the staffing requirements of growing research and pedagogical activities.