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ISA’s Power Industry Division (POWID) Symposium Talks 2018

Dr. Hines, Bradley Adams, Dr. Peter Martin.

Dr. Wes Hines (Head of the Nuclear Engineering Department, The University of Tennessee), Mr. Bradley Adams (Engineering Vice President, Southern Nuclear Operating Company) and Dr. Peter Martin (Vice President of Innovation and Marketing, Schneider Electric) gave the lead plenary talks and followed up with a panel at the ISA’s Power Industry Division (POWID) Symposium at the end of June 26, 2018.  All three discussed the need for instrumentation and control innovation and modernization to enhance economic competitiveness of the power industry.  Mr. Adams is also the chair of the University of Tennessee’s Nuclear Engineering Department Board of Advisors.

Student Research Leads to New Understanding of Compounds


Jacob Shamblin (MS/NE ’17) and Maximilian Heres, a graduate student in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, recently authored a paper looking into why certain metals can exhibit insulated properties at times.

The metals, known as nickelates, have the inherent ability to switch between insulated states and conductivity. This property makes them effective transistors and able to serve as high-temperature semiconductors, both of which are key factors in fields related to energy and electronics.

Discovering how to control that property has major implications for technology, helping to spur on the work of Shamblin and Heres.

“These compounds are interesting because they undergo a sharp metal-insulator transition (MIT) and the temperature at which this occurs can be tuned by changing the size of the atoms in the crystal structure,” said Shamblin. “This behavior has long been known about but there has not been any definitive understanding as to why this occurs.”

Assistant professors Maik Lang of nuclear engineering, Joshua Sangoro of chemical and biomolecular engineering, and Steven Johnson and Haidong Zhou, of physics and astronomy, all took part in the project.

The team’s research dealt with lanthanum nickel oxide (LaNiO3) and neodymium nickel oxide (NdNiO3) in particular.

“The MIT in these materials is coupled to changes in their crystal structure and magnetic properties,” said Lang. “Our research on nickelates has led to an entirely new way to understand the MIT due to strong electron-lattice coupling and dynamical polaron condensation.”

Lang said the origin of the transition in the materials has been the subject of intense debate, and that this was an excellent opportunity for studying the relationships between structural and functional material properties.

He credited the availability of Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Spallation Neutron Source and experiments conducted by Sangoro’s lab as being essential to the work.

ORNL’s Joerg Neuefeind and Madrid Institute of Science and Materials’ J.A. Alonso also worked on the project, which was published in Nature Communications.

Udaphyaya Award Maintains Faculty Tradition

Belle Upadhyaya

Belle Upadhyaya

Professor Emeritus Belle Upadhyaya received the American Nuclear Society Don Miller Award in June at the society’s meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The first award recipient was Professor Robert Uhrig in 2010, former UT nuclear engineering faculty and distinguished scientist. Professor Rafael Perez received it in 2011, making Upadhyaya the third UT nuclear engineering professor to receive the award.

The award recognizes the culmination of a recipient’s career in the area of nuclear instrumentation and control or human-machine interface. It was established in 2009 and named after Don W. Miller, professor and distinguished program chair at the Ohio State University Nuclear Engineering Program, a prior member of the Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards, and past ANS President.

The Miller Award is given to an individual or team that has made recognized contributions to the advancement of one or both of the fields of nuclear instrumentation and control or human-machine interface through individual or combined activities that reflect Miller’s life and contributions.

1st Annual Decommissioning Strategy Forum

The UTNE Department and ETEBA (Energy, Technology, and Environmental Business Association) joined forces at the 1st Annual Decommissioning Strategy Forum, which is being held at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville, TN.  Nuclear Engineering as well as Civil & Environmental Engineering students are encouraged to consider the Nuclear Decommissioning & Environmental Management (ND&EM) minor along with their major program of study. 


For more information about ETEBA, please click here:

For more information about the Decommissioning Strategy Forum, please click here:

Decomission Opryland A

UT Knoxville Nuclear Engineering students trained at VR-1 nuclear reactor in Prague, Czech Republic

ANS Prague simulator


During this summer mini-term, twelve undergraduate students of UTK Nuclear Engineering (NE) department participated in a study abroad Experimental Reactor Physics Laboratory class (NE427) led by Dr. Ondřej Chvála, who is a research assistant professor at the NE department.

 ANS Prague mine

The students spent the first week visiting several sites in the Czech Republic – including a former uranium mine Bukov which now serves for geological repository research, Czech nuclear power plant Temelín, the research institute in Řež near Prague, and the Prague Castle; and in Vienna, Austria – the Belvedere palace, United Nations, International Atomic Energy Agency, Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Preparatory Organization, and St. Stephen’s cathedral. During the second week the students worked with a nuclear reactor VR-1 at the Czech Technical University in Prague (CTU), performing reactor physics related measurements and working out respective lab reports. Each student actually operated the reactor at the last day of the labs.


reactor1 reactor2 reactor3

The class is open to undergraduate and graduate students interested in nuclear reactor dynamics and hands on experimental work. This is the sixth time this class was held. Contacts with CTU had already led to mutual student exchanges and research collaborations between the UTK NE department and the Czech Technical University.

ANS 2018-2019 Student Scholarship Winners

Madison Ratner

Undergraduate Category


Sophomore Undergraduate

Madison S. Ratner


Matthew Herald

Robert T. (Bob) Liner Memorial Scholarship

Matthew Herald

Madison Allen

Hans P. Loewen Memorial Scholarship

Madison N. Allen

Andrew Volkovitskiy

Operations and Power Division Scholarship

Andrew V. Volkovitskiy

Kalie Knecht

Charles (Tommy) Thomas Memorial

Kalie R. Knecht

(Picture Not Available)

Decommissioning, Decontamination & Reutilization Division Undergraduate Scholarship

Coleman R. Curran

(Picture Not Available)

Fusion Energy Division Dr. Kenneth R. Shultz Undergraduate Scholarship

Ashley Goluoglu


Fan Zhang

Graduate Category

Fan Zhang


Jessica Bishop

James F Schumar Scholarship

Jessica L. Bishop

Dan Floyd

Robert E. Uhrig Graduate Scholarship

Dan C. Floyd


Student Spotlight: Raul Palomares


Raul Irvin Palomares

This student spotlight is on Raul Irvin Palomares!  Raul is the 2018 recipient of the departments PhD Graduate Student Award and the University of Tennessee Chancellor’s 2018 Extraordinary Professional Promise Award. As a graduate student, Raul has published 10 peer-review journal articles (4 as first author) in his research area of materials under extreme conditions, including radiation effects in materials. He has presented at 14 conferences and technical meetings including two oral presentations at international conferences in Germany and in New Zealand. Raul earned Best Presentation awards at both the 20th International Conference on Ion Beam Materials & Modifications and at the 16th National School on Neutron and X-ray Scattering. Raul also  presented as an invited speaker at the 2017 Materials Science & Technology (MS&T) conference.


Faculty, Staff, and Student
2018 Award Recipient Celebrations!

Tickle College of Engineering Award Dinner


Tickle 18 Award Staff APearson

Tickle College of Engineering’s Dean Wayne Davis and Associate Dean Masood Parang, at left and right, presented the Outstanding Staff Awards. From second left are Kathy Williams, David Rogers, Ashly Pearson, and Yvette Gooden.
tickle award 18 teacher coble Teaching Award recipients included, from left with Dean Davis, Jenny Retherford, Eric Wade, Mike Berry, Kamrul Islam, Jamie Coble, and Jon Hathaway.
Tickle 18 award Donovan Assistant Professors David Donovan, at left, and James Coder, third from left, received the Dean’s Junior Faculty Research Excellence Awards, presented by Dean Davie and Associate Dean William Dunne, far right.
Tickle 18 award Lukosi
Dean Davis and Associate Dean Dunne presented research awards to, from left, Haixuan Xu, Cong Trinh, Andy Sarles, Garrett Rose, and Eric Lukosi.

Department of Nuclear Engineering

Awards Dinner


UTK HofFame 18 Gordon Fee The University of Tennessee Knoxville Nuclear Engineering 2018 Hall of Fame Award was presented to Gordon Fee by Dr. Wes Hines.
NE Prof of Year 18 Nuclear Engineering Professor of the year went to Dr. Lawrence Heilbronn by Dr. Steven Zinkle.
Outstanding staff 18 Nuclear Engineering Outstanding Staff Award was presented to Amanda Lovelace by Dr. Steven Zinkle.
ANS honor society 18 Dr. Martin Grossbeck presented the Alpha Nu Sigma National Honor Society Awards. Recipients pictured from left to right are Andrew Volkovitsky, Eric O’Quinn, Miss Brooke McMurrer, Kelsa Benensky, Abena Agyehwaa Otchere-Boateng, Andrew Shayotovich, and Dr. Martin Grossbeck.
outstanding student ambassador 18 Outstanding Student Ambassador Awards were presented to Kalie Knecht and Andrew Volkovitsky by Amanda Lovelace.
outstanding undergrad researcher 18 ORNL’s Robert Duckworth and Dr. Eric Lukosi presented the Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award to Sarah Davis.
PhD Graduate reasearch 18 excellence award Dr. Jason Hayward presented Raul Palomares the PhD Graduate Research Excellence Award.
Outstanding GTA 18 award Tyler Steiner received the Outstanding GTA Award by Dr. Jason Hayward.
 masters graduate reasearch 18 excellence awards a Angela Simone was awarded the Masters Graduate Research Excellence Award by Dr. Jason Hayward.
masters graduate research 18 excellence award b  Vikram Singh was awarded the Masters Graduate Research Excellence Award by Dr. Jason Hayward.
 top senior 18 academic award  Top Senior Academic Awards went to Travis Greene, Christopher Haseler, Austin Mullern, and Jonathan T. Mitchell from Dr. Wes Hines.
 top junior 18 academic award  Top Junior Academic Awards went to Jonathan Farmer, Jason Matheny, and Kalie Knecht from Dr. Wes Hines.
 top freshman 18 award  Top Freshmen Academic Awards went to Madison Tippet and Sean Moran from Dr. Wes Hines.

Chancellors Honors Banquet


Assistant professor and Southern Company Faculty Fellow Jamie Coble was the recipient of the Angie Warren Perkins Award. Named for the first dean of women at UT, it honors outstanding leadership in campus governance or administration at the level of department head, director, or below.

NE students were also able to take home some awards at the Chancellors Honors banquet.

Extraordinary Professional Promise Awards:

  • Raul Irvin Palomares
  • Fan Zhang

Extraordinary Academic Achievement:

  • Christopher J. Haseler

Top Collegiate Scholar Awards:

  • Jonathan Trent Mitchell
  • Austin Daniel Mullen

Congratulations everyone!


A total of ten undergraduate and graduate students recently represented the UTNE Department at the American Nuclear Society Conference in Gainesville, FL.  Congratulations to Amanda Bachmann, Matthew Herald, and their team members for winning awards for the Best Student Paper!



Amanda Bachmann – Best Student Paper

Along with team members:  Nathan Gilliam, Jonathan Mitchell, and Michael Cooper Work entitled, “Investigating Isotopic Concentration Variability in Used Nuclear Fuel” It was a part of the Nuclear Nonproliferation track for the American Nuclear Society Conference.  The basis of the project is to expand the capabilities of the Separations and Safeguards Performance Model (SSPM) from Sandia National Lab for its use as a nonproliferation safeguard for Electrochemical reprocessing of fuel.  It is funded through the DOE Office of Nuclear Energy’s Nuclear Energy University Program.



Matthew Herald – Best Student Paper

Work entitled, “X-Means Clustering Implementing the Gap Statistic for Multiple Positron Emission Particle Tracking” The main basis is that when performing a PEPT Measurement, particles are always simultaneously entering and leaving the field of view for a scanner. Thus, the number of particles in the scanner is constantly changing. The number of particles is important to know because the clustering algorithm used must be given this number. My work set out to address how to find the number of clusters in an unsupervised way so that user never has to tell the algorithm this information. The idea is run the clustering a number of time with the number of clusters increasing each time. For each run, the “togetherness” of the clusters are computed using the gap statistic. The best score of the gap statistic should occur when the number of clusters guessed equals the number of cluster actually contained in the field of view. The cluster centers are then computed and recorded. This process is repeated each time step.  It was funded by grant from the National Nuclear Security Administration through Dr. Arthur Ruggles. 






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