American Nuclear Society president-elect Eric Loewen on February 17 visited the City College of New York (CCNY). Loewen presented a talk during the noon hour on “Nuclear Reactor Physics at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl” to an audience of about 40 engineering faculty members and students. Most students were from CCNY’s mechanical or chemical engineering programs and have taken, or are currently taking, at least one of the college’s nuclear engineering concentration courses:
- Reactor physics
- Thermal hydraulics
- Nuclear Power Plant Safety
- Nuclear power plant design/operation
Following the presentation, Loewen met with the students in the nuclear program, answered their questions, and gave them individualized advice on how to set a path for a career in the nuclear industry. Loewen’s presentation was part of a lecture series that has included other speakers in the past and will include other speakers in the future.
“I’ve received nothing but praise about Eric’s presentation,” said Charles Sosa, a nuclear engineering student who invited Loewen to the college. “I’ve spoken to all nuclear engineering concentration students at CCNY, including other engineering students and faculty who are not involved in the nuclear program, and all were thoroughly impressed by the mixture of science and humor that Eric incorporated into his presentation.”
The concentration program
In spring 2010, the CCNY Grove School of Engineering started the concentration in nuclear engineering for its mechanical and chemical engineering students. The program is run by CCNY Professor Masahiro Kawaji. An ANS Student Club was formed in 2010 as a direct result of the enthusiasm expressed by students to expand education beyond the classroom by attending ANS conferences and hosting talks by scientists and engineers in the nuclear industry. CCNY is currently working to get the student club recognized as an official ANS Student Section.
The seeds for Loewen’s visit were sown in 2010, when Loewen gave a talk at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) about his nuclear fuel cycle work for GE-Hitachi. Sosa was a student researcherat GISS under the NASA MUST (Motivating Undergraduate and Science and Technology) program and briefly met with Loewen before his fuel cycle presentation.
Afterward, Sosa entered the nuclear engineering concentration program in conjunction with his CCNY mechanical engineering studies. Students in the concentration program are encouraged to bring industry experts to give lectures, and so Sosa reached out to Loewen, informed him about the newly formed nuclear program at CCNY, explained that the student body is enthusiastic about nuclear energy, and invited him to visit.
The concentration program and the CCNY ANS students are planning to continue a guest lecturer series highlighting the nuclear industry. John Yoshinari, chief operating officer of GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy, on February 24 presented “The Technical and Financial Aspects of the Nuclear Business.” The nuclear concentration program is planning two nuclear energy plant visits—to the Indian Point and Salem facilities. A visit to Brookhaven National Laboratory is also being scheduled.