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Engineering doctoral student wins first prize in DOE fuel cycle research competition

Bethany Smith

Bethany Smith, a Ph.D. student in environmental engineering, has been awarded a first place prize in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Innovations in Fuel Cycle Research Awards competition.

Smith’s award is in the open competition in the category of Systems Analysis and Energy Policy. Her award-winning research paper, “A Comprehensive Radiological and Chemical Risk Assessment of the Open Nuclear Fuel Cycle,” was presented at the American Nuclear Society Annual Meeting in June 2012.

“Despite the fact that radiological and chemical hazards and risks are important metrics for evaluating nuclear fuel cycle options, only economic- and nuclear material-based metrics have been used in previous studies. My work focuses on developing a methodology and model to assess radiological and chemical risks from the open nuclear fuel cycle currently in place for the U.S. and four advanced nuclear fuel cycle options for evaluating future national decisions regarding nuclear energy applications,” Smith said. Professors Steven Krahn and James H. Clarke are Smith’s faculty advisers.

The Innovations in Fuel Cycle Research Awards program supports academia and the goal of the Department of Energy Office of Nuclear Energy to develop sustainable nuclear fuel cycle options by encouraging innovative research in fuel cycle related disciplines.

The program awarded 24 prizes in 2012 for student publications and presentations relevant to the nuclear fuel cycle. In addition to cash awards, winning students will have a variety of other opportunities including presenting their winning publication during the American Nuclear Society Winter meeting, participating in an Innovators’ Forum, and participating in the DOE Office of Fuel Cycle Technologies Annual Meeting.