Tag Archives: Laura Scheele

Nuclear Science Symposium Kicks Off in Seattle

NSW logo

The 5th annual Nuclear Science Week was launched with a public symposium on October 16 and 17 at the Pacific Science Center at the foot of the Space Needle in Seattle.

Nuclear Science Week is an international, broadly observed week-long celebration to focus interest on all aspects of nuclear science and technology. Each day provides for learning about the contributions, innovations, and opportunities emerging in nuclear energy and other applications. The event was established by the Smithsonian-affiliated National Museum of Nuclear Science and History in Albuquerque, NM.

“In addition to the regional presence of multiple nuclear organizations and corporations, Seattle is a community that values the arts, embraces technology, and prioritizes the environment—and Nuclear Science Week is an opportunity to explore how advanced nuclear technologies in energy, medicine, and even space exploration help support these values on a national and international basis,” said Suzanne Hobbs Baker, coordinating chair for the NSW Symposium.

Click Here to watch online

Click Here to watch online

The NSW Symposium launches at noon Pacific Time (3:00 Eastern Time) and will be webcast and archived. The full agenda and speaker list are available on the National Nuclear Science Week web site.

The National Science Teachers Association will be offering the webcast to over 400,000 classrooms nationwide as part of their Science–Technology–Engineering–Math (STEM) programming.

The American Nuclear Society is a proud sponsor of Nuclear Science Week. ANS President Mikey Brady Raap will be delivering the closing keynote address at 12:45 pm Pacific Time/3:45 pm Eastern Time on Friday, October 17.

Governor Proclaims Nuclear Science Week in Washington

In recognition of the contributions of nuclear science and technology, Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington State has designated Oct. 20–24 as Nuclear Science Week in Washington.

The proclamation notes:

WHEREAS, the nuclear science week community is convening a public symposium October 16th and 17th at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle to explore the contributions of nuclear science and technology to communities around the world

Washington NSW Proclamation


laura-scheeleLaura Scheele is a Senior Public Affairs Analyst and Member Relations Manager at Energy Northwest, a not-for-profit joint operating agency headquartered in Richland, Wash. She is an active board member of the ANS Eastern Washington Local Section.

Columbia Generating Station Sets New Generation Record

By Laura Scheele

Ratepayers in the Pacific Northwest have reason to celebrate the dedicated employees of Energy Northwest’s 1170-megawatt Columbia Generating Station:  The Northwest’s sole nuclear energy facility generated a record 9.7 million megawatt hours of electricity during the fiscal year that ended Monday, June 30—eclipsing a previous record of 9.5 million megawatt hours in fiscal year 2006.

This generation mark has been set with safety and efficiency, as well as adherence to the core principles of the organization’s Excellence Model. The Columbia Generating Station has operated more than 4.5 years without an unplanned shutdown, and Energy Northwest has surpassed 14 million work-hours without lost time due to injury.

“This performance is a testament to the organization’s alignment to the Excellence Model and commitment to fixing plant equipment and demonstrating the right behaviors,” said Brad Sawatzke, vice president of nuclear generation, in a message to employees. “Most importantly, the team reached this milestone while performing safely in the areas of nuclear, radiological, industrial and environmental safety.”

In a broader context, the 100 commercial nuclear energy reactors operating in the United States have continued to maintain their overall share of U.S. electricity generation through great improvements in efficiency and performance over recent decades, as well as massive additional capacity added through power uprates—for more on uprates in detail see Nuclear power uprates: what, how, when, and will there be more? at ANS Nuclear Cafe.

For more on the story see Energy Northwest near Richland sets new megawatt record. For more on Columbia Generating Station at ANS Nuclear Cafe see this Nuclear Matinee double-feature from February of this year.

columbia generating station 400x262

About Energy Northwest 
Energy Northwest develops, owns, and operates a diverse mix of electricity generating resources, including hydro, solar, and wind projects—and Columbia Generating Station (pictured above), the Northwest’s only nuclear power plant. These projects provide enough reliable, affordable, and environmentally responsible energy to power more than a million homes each year, and that carbon-free electricity is provided at the cost of generation.

As a Washington state, not-for-profit joint operating agency, Energy Northwest comprises 27 public power member utilities from across the state serving more than 1.5 million ratepayers. The agency continually explores new generation projects to meet its members’ needs.

laura-scheeleLaura Scheele is a Senior Public Affairs Analyst and Member Relations Manager at Energy Northwest, a not-for-profit joint operating agency headquartered in Richland, Washington. She is an active board member of the ANS Eastern Washington Local Section.


TN-Chattanooga participants recognized at ANS Winter Conference

In September 2012, American Nuclear Society members in the Tennessee Valley area turned out in record numbers to support an ANS presence at a public hearing in order to inform the public and media about the nonproliferation benefits of the mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel program. These remarkable volunteer efforts were recognized in several venues at the 2012 ANS Winter Conference & Technology Expo, including the ANS Public Information (PI) Committee meeting, the ANS Board of Directors, and the ANS PI Workshop hosted by Mimi Limbach of Potomac Communications and Craig Piercy, ANS rep in Washington, D.C. The decision was made at the PI Workshop to designate the official name of the Chattanooga hearing as the “Chattanooga Caper.”

The ANS Nuclear Cafe caught up with four of the Chattanooga Caper participants—Steve Skutnik, Chris Perfetti, Lane Carasik, and Howard Hall—in the ANS Media Room and arranged an impromptu photo session.

Steve Skutnik (UT-K), Chris Perfetti (Oak Ridge National Laboratory), Lane Carasik (UT-K), and Howard Hall (UT-K). (L to R)

Cheers to these four members for their efforts, and we hope to see additional Chattanooga Caper reps in Atlanta for the 2013 ANS Annual Conference (June 16-20, 2013). Remember to stop by the media room to introduce yourself to the always friendly and helpful ANS staff reps.

NRC Public Meeting on San Onofre: October 9 via Webcast, Twitter

Note: The NRC public meeting on San Onofre steam generator issues has now adjourned. The webcast will soon be available in archived form at http://video.nrc.gov/. The twitter feed featuring participation by groups on all sides of the issue can be viewed HERE (tweets will eventually expire).


Tuesday, October 9
6:00-9:30 P.M. Pacific Time
Click HERE for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) news release with schedule information


The meeting is now live on webcast at: http://video.nrc.gov.

A phone bridge will be available by calling: 1-888-989-4359 and entering pass code 1369507.

The webcast and phone bridge will be one-way only.


ANS will live-tweet the hearing at @ans_org using hashtag #SanOnofrePlease note that the person(s) doing the live-tweeting will be watching via webcast.


Click HERE for social media coverage by Will Davis of Atomic Power Review of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station steam generator issues, including a roundup of helpful links at the end of the entry.

Click HERE for a wealth of information from Southern California Edison regarding the San Onofre steam generator issues.

ALERT: NRC Public Meeting on San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station Issues


NRC Public Meeting on San Onofre Nuclear
Generating Station Issues


Tuesday, October 9
6:00-9:30 P.M. Pacific Time
Click HERE for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) news release with schedule information


St. Regis Monarch Beach Hotel
One Monarch Beach Resort
Dana Point, California
Click HERE for Local Area Directions and Map Links


The NRC is holding a public meeting that includes a facilitated roundtable discussion regarding the safe operation of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. Click HERE for a collection of background information and data from Southern California Edison, the majority owner/operator of the San Onofre station.

There is public interest about the steam generator tube degradation issues at San Onofre Units 2 and 3. Nine participants have been named to represent public interests in the roundtable discussion. Two of the nine are ANS national members (but are not representing ANS on the panel):

  • Ted Quinn, representing Californians for Safe and Clean Nuclear Energy
  • Ken Schultz, PhD, representing himself as a local citizen

ANS members and other nuclear professionals play an essential role in providing credible information in a public setting to increase public awareness and to put relative risks into context. If you live in the area, your presence and participation in this meeting will help to ensure that a credible scientific and technical perspective on this important issue is conveyed in a public setting.


The meeting will be webcast live at: http://video.nrc.gov.

A phone bridge will be available by calling: 1-888-989-4359 and entering pass code 1369507.

The webcast and phone bridge will be one-way only.


ANS will live-tweet the hearing at @ans_org using hashtag #SanOnofre. Please note that the person(s) doing the live-tweeting will be watching via webcast.

Click HERE for social media coverage by Will Davis of Atomic Power Review of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station steam generator issues, including a roundup of helpful links at the end of the entry.

For further information, ANS members can contact Laura Scheele, Communications & Policy Manager, ANS Communications & Outreach Department.

The future of nuclear at #MOXChat

By Laura Scheele

On September 11, the National Nuclear Security Administration (U.S. Department of Energy) hosted a public meeting in Chattanooga, Tenn., concerning its Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement on the disposition of surplus weapons-grade plutonium as mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel for use in power reactors. You may have seen the ANS Call to Action for the hearing and perhaps read the ANS position statement or background information.

L to R: Stephanie Long, Nick Luciano, Alyx Wszolek, and Suzy Hobbs Baker.

This is the story about how ANS members fulfilled the mission set forth in the position statement:  to inform the public and media about the nonproliferation benefits of the MOX fuel program. It’s also the story of how ANS student members answered the Call to Action and contributed to the success of this event for the Society.

The Chattanooga ANS Local Section and the Chattanooga State Community College ANS Student Section both committed to supporting the September 11 hearing as a priority outreach project. ANS Public Information Committee Chair Dave Pointer e-mailed nearly 700 ANS national and student members within a 5-state radius and asked them to come to the hearing to represent the Society, to explain why MOX fuel use makes sense, and to make a stand for nuclear in an area where nuclear opponents had monopolized the public discussion about nuclear.

ANS members showed up.

ANS student members from University of Tennessee-Knoxville (UT-K): (l to r) Hailey Green, Remy Devoe, Tyler Rowe, Seth Langford, John Wilson, and Brent Fiddler. (Photo by Charles Ellsworth)

LOTS of ANS members showed up.

Chattanooga State Community College ANS students wear their blue-and-orange shirts in a standing-room-only public hearing.

MOST of the ANS members who showed up were students.

The faculty and student delegation from University of Tennessee-Knoxville (UT-K). (Photo by Charles Ellsworth)

ANS members who couldn’t show up replied to the e-mail to say they couldn’t come, but wanted to pass along their encouragement and their belief that this was the right thing to do.

We can take pride in how well the Society was represented in Chattanooga.

The students took pride in representing the Society and the profession—and did so very well.

Chattanooga was a communications victory for ANS across the board: a great turnout for nuclear professionals and students and a great event for explaining the benefits of MOX fuel technologies.

Defying expectations

The presence of so many young people supporting the ANS position on MOX fuel made a definite impression upon attendees. The most common question I was asked by non-ANS participants was, “How many Chattanooga State students are here today?” One gentleman who opposed MOX fuel prefaced his remarks by saying that he once taught at Chattanooga State and was thrilled to see so many students attending the hearing.

Chattanooga ANS Local Section Chair Samuel Snyder wrote following the hearing:

Samuel Snyder, Chattanooga ANS Local Section Chair

Samuel Snyder comments during the hearing.

One thing that struck me last night was the average age of those who attended the meeting in support of the nuclear science and technology industry. When you take last night’s “pro-nuclear” group as a whole, I would say that the average age was in the 20s.

A good number of students were willing to get up in front of the group and provide public comments in favor of the ANS-backed proposal for the disposition of surplus plutonium. The comments were very civil from the “pro” side, and mainly civil from the “anti” side, though my biased opinion is that the “pro” side did a much better job of presenting facts and providing sound arguments for their position.

It’s good to have friends…

This was the first public hearing experience for most of the participants. Recently, Chattanooga has seen a lot of anti-nuclear activity, including opponents who stage protests dressed as zombies.

In asking ANS members to attend this hearing, we were asking nuclear professionals to venture outside of their comfort zone in terms of making public comments on an issue that might not really be their area of expertise—and oh, by the way, you might also need to wade through a crowd of zombies who will be heckling you. No worries!

Three ANS students wisely team up and keep their backs to the wall to prevent a zombie sneak attack. (L to R: Alyx Wszolek, Steven Stribling, and Stephanie Long ) (Photo by Charles Ellsworth)

That’s what friends (and professional membership societies) are for—to watch your back when you’re surrounded by zombies. Being the only science-informed person in the room can sometimes be uncomfortable and even intimidating. There is strength in numbers, and so coming together on a vitally important issue strengthens our association by strengthening our professional and personal bonds.

…Especially social media friends

Suzy Hobbs Baker of the Nuclear Literacy Project drove from South Carolina to support the hearing. (Photo by Charles Ellsworth)

The social media promotion of this event contributed to its success. The ANS Social Media Group is an amazing collection of people with wildly different perspectives and backgrounds who share one thing: the conviction that the nuclear community needs to improve how we communicate if nuclear energy’s promise is to be realized.


Alex Woods, Chattanooga State

Alex Woods, Chattanooga State Student Section president, led off the comments.

Individually and collectively, they have shed much blood, sweat, and tears in their efforts—and they are willing to lend a hand so that your blood, sweat, and tears might be spared.

#MOXChat was the twitter hashtag for the Chattanooga hearing. The live-tweeting provided a minute-by-minute rundown of the comments and observations by nuclear professionals across the country who followed this on twitter. Unfortunately, the tweets have expired on Twitter.

A roundup of social media coverage of #MOXChat is at the end of this article. Many thanks to everyone who supported this event via social media. Your observations and advice were invaluable, and many of the students brought printouts of your entries to the hearing as prep material.

Steven Skutnik

Steven Skutnik

A special tip of the ANS Nuclear Cafe cap to Steve Skutnik, who did it all at this hearing: made public comments, live-tweeted the hearing, live-blogged the hearing here at the ANS Nuclear Cafe, blogged pre- and post-hearing at his Neutron Economy blog, and helped prep students in his capacity as UT-K assistant professor. Thanks, Steve!


The power of  showing up

Howard Shaffer, Meredith Angwin and Eric Loewen

Howard Shaffer and Meredith Angwin receive presidential citations from ANS Past President Eric Loewen.

Meredith Angwin and Howard Shaffer have spearheaded a nuclear advocacy effort in Vermont that has changed the public debate over nuclear energy. They often talk about the value of  ‘Showing Up’ to support nuclear. By showing up, Meredith and Howard have built a pro-nuclear grassroots movement in a place where people sometimes seem to think nuclear is a four-letter word.

Pro-Nuclear Rally in Chattanooga, Tennessee

Go Team Nuclear!

We asked ANS members to come to the hearing and comment on behalf of ANS—but we also asked those who could not comment to show up and support their friends and colleagues. They did—and they applauded every comment. Some who couldn’t stay for the hearing showed up to meet with the students and answer questions that they had about MOX fuel and reactor operations.

ANS members mingle before the public hearing begins.

Everyone there contributed to the success of this event—just by showing up.

Having fun is contagious

The disposition of excess weapons-grade plutonium is a serious issue. The ANS student members took seriously the responsibility of speaking on behalf of the ANS position and the need to counter some of the more implausible assertions by the nuclear opponents who attended.

Chris Perfetti preparing his public comments.

Taking the responsibility seriously, however, doesn’t mean being humorless. Sometimes we err too much on the side of serious and need to remember that positive experiences build upon themselves: having fun at an event makes it more likely that you’ll do something similar in the future.

Besides, we’re hilarious! Why try to fight it?

Sometimes a little #MOXSnark needs to be vented due to the wild claims made by nuclear opponents.

And sometimes brilliant ideas—like ANS Man, or a YouTube show featuring Sarcastic Science Guy in a Turquoise Shirt, or setting future public comments to cheering cadences—are born of these shared experiences.

All I will say is this:  My understanding of  plutonium dispersion factors has been forever transformed. Or, as Steve Skutnik live-tweeted, #youprobablyhadtobethere.

You know, in Chattanooga.


*in a technically credible, knowledgable, and thoroughly polite and eloquent manner, while adhering to the highest standards of safety (no zombies were harmed in the writing of this post).

L to R: Remy Devoe, John Wilson, Rob Milburn, and UT-K Student Section President Ryan Sweet

Social media roundup

Rod Adams, Atomic Insights:
Plutonium Power for the People

Meredith Angwin, Yes Vermont Yankee:
MOX & Hearings in Chattanooga
Meeting Success Story in Chattanooga
Show Up for Nuclear in Chattanooga

Steve Skutnik, Neutron Economy:
Wading into the Zombie Nuclear Horde
Mixing it up over MOX – a wrapup from Chattanooga

Dan Yurman, Idaho Samizdat:
Mix it Up about MOX in Chattanooga
Calling Out Red Herrings about MOX Fuel for TVA

US Areva:
Can you Talk MOX? 10 Things You Need to Know about MOX Nuclear Fuel

Chattanooga State students stand near a MOX fuel assembly mock-up at the open house. (L to R: Geneva Parker, Mark Hunter, and Brian Satterfield) (Photo by Charles Ellsworth)

Center for Nuclear Science and Technology Information

ANS was able to support this important effort thanks to funding provided through its Center for Nuclear Science and Technology Information.


 Laura Scheele is the Communications and Public Policy Manager for the American Nuclear Society’s Communications and Outreach Department.

ANS Man vs. the Anti-Nuclear Zombie Plague

Adventures of the Charismatic ANS Man





By Dave Pointer

I grew up in the green rolling hills of east Tennessee and graduated from the University of Tennessee.

University of Tennessee-Knoxville

Photo by Wade Rackley/Tennessee Journalist
Link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tnjn/4110732198/
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/deed.en
Modified by Dave Pointer


I moved north to the great city of Chicago to work as a nuclear engineer.

Dave Pointer in Chicago

 Photo by Nimesh Madhavan.
Link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nimeshm/3012399375/
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/deed.en
Modified by Dave Pointer


But it wasn’t long before I started hearing strange reports from home. Unsettling rumors—almost too strange to believe—of the dead returning to life and congregating in the streets of Chattanooga.

Zombies in Chattanooga TN

 Photo by Just Shooting Memories.
Link: http://justshootingmemories.com/2011/10/11/chattanooga-skyline
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/
Original zombie art by Dave Pointer


Their sole purpose—to oppose the use of nuclear science and technology, especially for the generation of electricity.

Zombies with chainsaws

 Photo by Richard Webb
Link: http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/2445748
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
Chainsaw clipart: http://openclipart.org
Original zombie art by Dave Pointer


As the cooler temperatures of autumn approached, we learned that the zombie plague had spread: the zombies were closing in on the public hearing on the Surplus Plutonium Disposition Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS), scheduled for 5:30pm–8:00pm on September 11, 2012, at the Chattanooga Convention Center!

Zombies in a conference room

  Photo by Dries Buyaert
Link: http://buytaert.net/album/drupalcon-chicago-2011/conference-room-for-3000-people
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/
Original zombie art by Dave Pointer


I knew that I must act—and ANS Man was born!

ANS Man is every ANS member and no ANS member—a mystery figure armed with a PASSION for nuclear energy and the FACTS about nuclear science and technology.

A Nuclear Superhero is born!

 Original ANS Man art by Dave Pointer


Faster than a speeding neutron, ANS Man traveled to Chattanooga and registered his intention to address the zombie crowd. He also stopped by the ANS Member Hospitality Room in MEETING ROOM ONE for a delicious cookie.

ANS Man arrives at the Chattanooga Convention Center

 Photo by Dries Buyaert
Link: http://buytaert.net/album/drupalcon-chicago-2011/conference-room-for-3000-people
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/
Original ANS Man and Cookie art by Dave Pointer


When it was his turn to take the microphone in hand, ANS Man spoke eloquently and passionately about the benefits of nuclear science and technology and the safety of mixed oxide (MOX) fuel.

  • Nuclear science and technology improves our lives in many ways and in many different areas: generates over 20 percent of U.S. electricity; makes our food safer; improves the quality of our tools, gauges, and machines; helps diagnose injuries and illnesses; treats cancers; and powers our exploration of the solar system.
  • MOX fuel has been proven to be a safe and reliable fuel source over many reactor years of operation. The safety and performance record of MOX fuel is comparable to that of low-enriched uranium fuel.
  • MOX fuel has been produced in five countries and is widely used in many reactors all over the world. Many nations view MOX as an essential part of their energy and fuel cycle management policies.
  • The concept of using MOX fuel to dispose of surplus plutonium has received broad national and international support from scientific organizations such as the National Academy of Sciences, the US-Russian Independent Scientific Commission on Disposition of Excess Weapons Plutonium, Harvard University’s Project on Managing the Atom, and the Non-Proliferation Project of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Eloquent Nuclear Super Hero

 Original ANS Man art by Dave Pointer
Podium clipart from http://openclipart.org


The zombies were overwhelmed by his presentation, and, as they filled with new facts, new brains began to grow inside their zombie skulls.

The zombie plague was cured!

ANS Man cures zombies!

Original ANS Man art by Dave Pointer
Brain clipart from http://openclipart.org


Hopefully, this was entertaining. Unfortunately, there are people who will stop at nothing to reduce the use of nuclear energy, regardless of the consequences.

By opposing the safe and responsible use of MOX fuel technologies to reduce or eliminate excess weapons-grade plutonium stockpiles, the anti-nuclear zombies really do pose a threat: they make our world a much more dangerous place.  As a nuclear engineer, I know that we can and should advance nuclear science and technology for the benefit of society. And we can do so safely and responsibly.

This issue is so important that the ANS Position Statement on Utilization of Surplus Weapons Plutonium As Mixed Oxide Fuel (ANS-47-2009) takes the unusual step of including a call to action—asking professional organizations to help inform the public about the nonproliferation benefits of the MOX fuel program and the safe and successful track record of manufacturing and using MOX fuel.

Don’t wait for ANS Man to act on your behalf. Plan to attend and give your statement at the SEIS public hearing on September 11, 2012!

Capes are optional.

ANS Member Hospitality Room

The ANS Member Hospitality Room will open at 5:00 pm on Tuesday, September 11, 2012, in Meeting Room One of the Chattanooga Convention Center.

NRC approves two new reactors in South Carolina

By Laura Scheele

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission on March 30 voted to clear the way for its Office of New Reactors to issue two licenses for two new AP1000 reactors at the V.C. Summer site in Parr, S.C. This marks the NRC’s second approval of nuclear units to be built in the United States in two months. In February, the NRC approved a license for Atlanta-based Southern Company’s Vogtle project, in Waynesboro, Ga. The NRC had not issued any new reactor licenses since 1978.

The five-member commission approved the license for the Summer project in a 4–1 vote, with NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko dissenting. Jaczko was also the lone dissenting vote for the Vogtle license. The NRC’s news release on the Summer approval can be found here, and the NRC staff is expected to issue the combined operating license for the project within 10 business days.

The vote clears the way for SCANA subsidiary South Carolina Electric & Gas (SCE&G) and Santee Cooper to build and operate the two new reactors at Summer. A SCANA spokesperson was quoted in The Augusta Chronicle as saying that about 1,000 workers have already been engaged in early site preparation for the project. The project will peak at about 3,000 long-term construction workers over three to four years, and the two units are expected to add as many as 800 permanent jobs when they start generating electricity. The Summer units are expected to begin operating in 2017 and 2018.

Soon there will be four new reactors with operating licenses in place under construction in the United States, and—with the Tennessee Valley Authority’s ongoing completion of Watts Bar-2 in Tennessee—five reactors total under construction.  Stay tuned to the ANS Nuclear Cafe for more coverage of the licensing decision.


Laura Scheele is the Communications and Public Policy Manager for the American Nuclear Society.

ANS President Eric Loewen visits Colorado School of Mines

By Laura Scheele

As part of a Colorado speaking tour, American Nuclear Society President Eric Loewen visited the ANS student section at the Colorado School of Mines (CSM) on Wednesday, August 24. More than 30 students and two faculty members attended his talk, and later that evening 17 students and two faculty members were among the attendees at the Colorado ANS local section meeting.

On August 26, Loewen took part in tours at the facilities of two ANS organizational members—NFT (formerly Nuclear Filter Technology) and SA Technologies. Loewen presented ANS organizational membership certificates to both of the companies.

“Eric’s talk was well received, and the students found him to be a very engaging presenter. He kept them involved and made them think—something we faculty sometimes struggle with,” commented Jeffrey King, CSM-ANS faculty advisor. “It’s important that the students feel engaged in ANS. Ours is a graduate program, so the students are taking their first steps into the professional world, of which ANS is a critical piece. Having the students see the larger picture, and understand how they can play a role, is very important.”

ANS President Eric Loewen presents the charter to CSM-ANS President Sarah Morgan and Immediate Past President Aaron Craft.

“I was very pleased with Dr. Loewen’s visit,” said Sarah Morgan, CSM-ANS president. “His enthusiasm for ANS and all things nuclear was very apparent. He most certainly has a vision for the nuclear industry of the future and is doing all he can to see that vision come true. I now have a greater understanding of the executive side of a professional society. Before Dr. Loewen’s visit, I was somewhat unclear on the function of the ANS president. However, it seems to me that Eric functions as the biggest proponent of ANS.”

Loewen’s presentation to CSM-ANS was titled Heavy-Metal Nuclear Power: Could Reactors Burn Radioactive Waste to Produce Electric Power and Hydrogen?  His Colorado-ANS local section presentation was titled Nuclear Possibilities for our Grandchildren. Both presentations are available on his ANS Officer webpage.

Following Loewen’s visit, the ANS Nuclear Cafe caught up with King and Morgan to learn more about the CSM nuclear engineering program and the ANS student section.

CSM-ANS chartered in 2010


The CSM student section was chartered in 2010, which closely followed King’s arrival at CSM. King formerly served as faculty advisor to the ANS student section at the Missouri University of Science & Technology. “It was a logical extension to become the advisor at CSM, and to help them build a new and successful student section,” explained King. “Having a well-functioning ANS student section is an important mark of distinction for a new nuclear program. It is one of many signs that I look at in concluding that the CSM nuclear program is poised for success and here to stay.”

“In addition to providing important external visibility for the new program, a student section also provides an important educational service,” King continued. “At CSM, the student section is a social focal point for the students in the program, and it helps to integrate new students into the program. The students in ANS learn from and help each other, and their involvement in the student chapter naturally leads to involvement in the national society. This helps them to grow as professionals and scholars.”

The sole nuclear engineering program in Colorado


Morgan is majoring in nuclear engineering and will graduate with a master’s degree in May 2012. She has no certain plans after graduation, but hopes to work for an engineering firm in Colorado. “ANS is especially important for students at Mines because it provides so many networking opportunities,” said Morgan. “The Mines nuclear program is pretty new, so many employers don’t know about us and don’t send recruiter/representatives to our career fairs. Through ANS conferences and activities with the Colorado ANS local section, our students have been able to network with both the local and national nuclear communities.”

“One unique thing about Mines is that we are the only nuclear engineering program in the state,” Morgan added. “Because we live in a state with no power reactors and very little nuclear industry (with the exception of some uranium mining), we are very interested in public outreach and education.”

Strong uranium resource recovery focus

“The Colorado School of Mines is focused on understanding and managing the entire nuclear fuel cycle,” explained King. “While we are building on the core nuclear engineering components of our program, we also have a strong and growing uranium resource recovery focus, which is a natural consequence of being located in one of the major uranium production states. Uranium mining and milling is one unique topic that always comes up when we start talking about nuclear engineering at Mines.”

On the horizon for CSM-ANS

CSM-ANS has previously participated in science fair judging and plans to do so again over the upcoming school year. “We are also planning on doing the Celebration of Mines event, where student organizations have a chance to interact with students, talk about what they do, and recruit new members,” said Morgan. “We don’t have a large outreach event planned for this semester, but we will be sending students to the ANS Student Conference in the spring.”


 Laura Scheele is the Communications & Policy Manager for the American Nuclear Society’s Communications & Outreach Department.