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Civil and Environmental Engineering

Nuclear Environmental Engineering

Environmental and safety considerations are central to the future of nuclear energy and addressing the enormous challenges posed by the legacy of producing defense nuclear materials. Our focus is on improving the technical basis and understanding of the full life-cycle of processes necessary for nuclear fuel cycles, advanced reactors, waste management and environmental remediation.

Nuclear Environmental Engineering

Graduate students work alongside faculty researchers who are pursuing topics such as:

  • Evaluate the life-cycle environmental impacts and implementation scenarios for potential new nuclear fuel cycles.
  • Develop and demonstrate safety and environmental risk assessment paradigms for early stage evaluation of proposed reactor and process designs.
  • Create laboratory methods for predicting the long-term environmental performance of nuclear waste storage and disposal systems.
  • Optimize the treatment of wasted from production of defense nuclear materials.
  • Understand the long-term evolution of interfaces between materials used in nuclear waste repository design and geologic strata.

What current graduate students are doing within the department of Civil & Environmental Engineering:

  • Janelle Branch Lewis obtained her B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Florida Institute of Technology. Her research is developing a mechanistic and quantitative understanding of the aging of cementitious waste forms for low activity nuclear wastes in near surface disposal. She received an NSF East Asia Pacific Summer Institute grant to use advanced characterization techniques in Shanghai, China.
  • Yonathan Reches received a B.S. in Civil Engineering from University of Oklahoma and a M.S. in Civil Engineering from The Technion in Haifa, Israel. He is using nano-materials to enhance the performance of nuclear fuel dry storage casks under environmental and radiation stresses. Yonathan is working with Oak Ridge National Laboratory's High Flux Isotope Reactor to carry out accelerated aging tests of potential new materials.
  • Brandon Chisholm received a B.S. in Nuclear Engineering from North Carolina State University. His research is developing early safety assessment techniques for advanced non-light water reactors. Brandon is a recipient of a Department of Energy Nuclear Energy University Program Graduate Fellowship.

What graduates of the department of Civil & Environmental Engineering are doing:

  • Dr. Leah Parks works for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Her dissertation was A Systematic Approach to Analyzing the Pre-Closure Operational Performance of the Proposed Repository for High-Level Nuclear Waste at Yucca Mountain, NV.
  • Dr. Tim Ault is working for the National Nuclear Security Administration. His dissertation was A Comparison of the Environment, Health and Safety Characteristics of Advanced Thorium-Uranium and Uranium-Plutonium Fuel Cycles.
  • Dr. Lyndsey Fyffe is working in nuclear safety analysis at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Her dissertation was Evaluation of Safety and Health Data, with an Emphasis on Developing Performance Measures for Nuclear Chemical Facilities, Using Quantitative and Semi-quantitative Measures.