Berkeley Radiological Air and Water Monitoring (BRAWM) transitions to Berkeley Rad Watch – New results and Frequently Asked Questions section included!
Reflecting our expanded activities in monitoring radiation we have established a new initiative called Berkeley Rad Watch. The former Berkeley Air and Water Monitoring activity will be part of it. We will continue to perform a wide range of air and sample measurements and will continue to release the data and results as unfiltered and unrestricted as before. In addition to facilities on UC Berkeley campus, we are now using measurement facilities at Berkeley Lab, such as the Low-Background Counting Facility. With the new website, we updated the Frequently Asked Question section addressing some more recent concerns about the expected arrival of small amounts of radioactive cesium on the North American West Coast over the next years.
Accepting Applications: NSSC Postdoctoral Scholar:
Please click the link below for a description of the position available as well as application instructions:
NE graduate student Ryan Pavlovsky measures and analyzes radiation on beaches in Half Moon Bay – Variations in radiation levels can be explained by variations of naturally occurring thorium and uranium
Ryan Pavlovsky, one of our graduate students, and NE professor Vetter went out to Half Moon Bay recently to check out radiation levels following some recent widely publicized measurements indicating increased radiation levels on a beach north of the town of Half Moon Bay. In addition to a simple Geiger counter they took a state-of-the art, high-resolution gamma-ray spectrometer to find out what is causing the variations of the radiation levels. Ryan's report can be read here. As the main outcome, he can explain the increased radiation levels by the increased concentration of naturally occurring thorium and uranium in the sand. No radiation that can be attributed to the releases from Fukushima is observed. Detailed sand measurements are still ongoing. Stay tuned.
NE Professor Vetter and Keenan Thomas are part of new Kelp Watch 2014 Initiative
NE Professor and Head of Applied Nuclear Physics at Berkeley Lab Kai Vetter and Keenan Thomas have joined forces with Professor Steven Manley from California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) to launch “Kelp Watch 2014,” a scientific campaign designed to determine the extent of radioactive contamination of the state’s kelp forest from Japan’s damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant following the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami.
The project will rely on samples of Giant Kelp and Bull Kelp from along the west coast from Alaska to Baja California as well as from Chile.
“The California kelp forest is a highly productive and complex ecosystem and a valuable state resource. It is imperative that we monitor this coastal forest for any radioactive contaminants that will be arriving this year in the ocean currents from Fukushima disaster,” said Manley, an expert in marine algae and kelp. “I receive calls and emails weekly from concerned visitors and Californians about the effect of the Fukushima disaster on our California marine life,” he continued. “I tell them that the anticipated concentrations that will arrive are most likely very low but we have no data regarding its impact on our coastal ecosystem. Kelp Watch 2014 will provide an initial monitoring system at least in the short-term.”
The project includes the participation of 19 academic and government institutions and three other organizations/businesses. These participants will sample kelp from the entire California coastline as far north as Del Norte County and as far south as Baja California. The sampling will begin in mid-February and will end in late winter. “What I have attempted to do is to organize marine scientists and educators from up and down the coastline to collect a large amount of kelp several times a year so that we can ascertain the amount of radioactive material entering our kelp forests,” Manley explained. “The response has been overwhelming. Recently I was contacted by a scientist in Washington State, who wants to send samples. I said ‘Sure.’”
Sampling will take place several times in 2014, and processed kelp samples will be sent to the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab’s Low Background Facility for detailed radionuclide analysis. As data becomes available it will be posted for public access. “Working with Dr. Vetter and his group is a perfect collaboration because of their vast experience in measuring radioactivity in a variety of biological samples, including seaweeds,” Manley noted. “His enthusiasm and support of Kelp Watch 2014 has been most gratifying. If the kelp takes up the radioactive material, we should detect it.”
Vetter pointed out that “UC Berkeley and Berkeley Lab’s analysis within the new Kelp Watch initiative is part of a larger, ongoing, effort to measure Fukushima related radionuclides in a large variety of objects. We have two main objectives—to learn more about the distribution and transport of these materials in our world, and to make the results and explanations available to the public.
“Making our results available is a critical aspect of our work as it allows us to address concerns about Fukushima radiation levels and to explain the meaning and potential impact of these levels,” he added, “particularly in the context of the natural radiation background we are exposed to in our daily lives.”
Several institutions—Moss Landing Marine Laboratory (California State University), Marine Science Institute (UC Santa Barbara), Coastal and Marine Institute (San Diego State University) and CSULB—have volunteered to serve as regional processing centers where needed. Also participating are marine scientists from the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California in Baja Norte Mexico.
“At the present time this entire initiative is unfunded by any state or federal agency, with time and costs being ‘donated’ by the participants,” Manley said. “I hope that this changes. USC Sea Grant funded an earlier related study of mine and I hope it or some other funding agency will help fund this more extensive project. “Still, more participants are signing up weekly,” he concluded. “We encourage scientists, educational institutions and other interested organizations to participate in the collecting and/or processing.”
NE GRAD STUDENT NAJEB ABDUL-JABBAR WINS BEST POSTER AWARD AT THE MATERIALS RESEARCH SOCIETY FALL 2013 MEETING !
Please click the link below for more information about Najeb's poster:
Structural Vacancy Ordering in the Ga2SeTe2 Compound Semiconductor and Its Role on Material Properties
CONGRATULATIONS TO NE STUDENTS FOR WINNING THE 2013 ANS DESIGN COMPETITION!
Congratulations to our team of undergrad nuclear engineers & Prof. Hosemann as adviser for winning the 2013 American Nuclear Society (ANS) Design competition with their project in Washington DC!
Accident Tolerant Refractory Metal Based Cladding for Light Water Reactors
Advisor: Peter Hosemann
Congratulations to NE Professors Ehud Greenspan, Per Peterson, Eric Norman and Peter Hosemann for winning NEUP Awards
Here's the impressive list:
Ehud Greenspan (PI) and Per Peterson (Co-PI): A Pebble-Bed Breed and Burn Reactor
Improved Delayed-Neutron Spectroscopy Using Trapped Ions
- Developing Ultra-Small Scale Mechanical Testing Methods and Microstructural Investigation Procedures for Irradiated Materials
- Research and Teaching Equipment for Nuclear Materials Characterization
- High Fidelity Ion Beam Simulation of High Dose Neutron Irradiation (Co-PI)
For more information on these NEUP Awards, please see: https://inlportal.inl.gov/portal/server.pt/community/neup_home/600
NE Professor Peter Hosemann Awarded $2 Million NSF Equipment Grant
Thanks to the generous equipment grant from the NSF, QB3-Berkeley’s Biomolecular Nanotechnology Center (BNC) will be the first public institution to have a new ORION Nanofab microscope. This new generation of Focused Ion Beam instrumentation allows researchers to manipulate and investigate matter on a sub-10 nanometer scale quickly, precisely, and efficiently, using three different kinds of ion beams.
For more information, please see the full article from the California Institute of Quantitative Biosciences here:
BNC to house NSF-funded nanoscale microscope
Three NE Students Win ANS Scholarships
Ph.D. candidate Christian Di Sanzo has been awarded an ANS graduate scholarship.
Incoming graduate student Daniel Wooten has been awarded an ANS graduate scholarship.
Congratulations to Keeton, Daniel and Christian!
For information on all the scholarships, internships and awards bestowed by the ANS, please visit the links below.
NE Undergraduate Team Finalists in 2013 ANS Design Competition
9125 University of California – Berkley - Accident Tolerant Refractory Metal Based Cladding for Light Water Reactors
D.M. Frazer, M.D. Loff, A.F. Magyar, R.E. Meyer, D. Moon, J.L. Sabella, M.J. Szwabowski
Advisor: Peter Hosemann
Spring 2014 Undergrad Lab Internship Program
Further information, including program eligibility, requirements, host lab participation, and access to the online application system are found at:
with inquiries or questions made using:
The SULI program is sponsored and managed by the DOE Office of Science’s, Office of Workforce Development for Teachers and Scientists (WDTS) in collaboration with the DOE laboratories. The Department of Energy's Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time.
NE Grad wins Big Ideas@Berkeley: Contest Results
They propose to build a device that can be installed on streets, favorably downhill sections of steep hills like those in SF or Berkeley hills, or on highway exits, to slow down cars leaving the highways. These devices can also replace current speed bumps at areas needing traffic calming devices such as schools, hospitals, etc. and many other scenarios. These devices would be installed in modules and not cause drastic changes to current roads. When vehicles run over the devices, they will be pressed down and the energy collected will be stored in the type of elastic energy of the coils and converted to electricity stored in batteries for later use. This device is not a "clean" device since energy is harnessed from vehicles moving on the roads, however, there are situations where these devices can bring favorable consequences. Highways are the best places to implement this idea since drivers may complain about the energy they are giving up, although extremely small. Policy and licensing are the biggest hurdle.
Announcing the Death of Professor Paul Chambré
(Photo Credit: Archives of the Mathematisches Forschungsinstitut Oberwolfach)
Paul joined the faculty of Mathematics Department, University of California, Berkeley as an Assistant Professor in 1951, after he received his PhD degree in Mechanical Engineering of UC Berkeley. In July 1960 he was jointly appointed as an Associate Professor by Mathematics Department and Nuclear Engineering Department, and then promoted to Professor in 1962. He led the research and education in the fields of applied mathematics, neutron transport, mathematical modeling for reactor safety, such as LOCA, optimal feedback control of a nuclear reactor, heat transfer in two-phase flow, and later radionuclide transport in geological media for nuclear waste management. He retired from the University of California in 1989, but continued his affiliation as Professor of the Graduate School. Paul played a major role in launching the careers of his students and in mentoring of junior colleagues. He will be missed.
Joonhong Ahn, PhD, D.Eng.
Please see the University's full obituary here:
FILM SCREENING: PANDORA'S PROMISE - April 12, 2013 - 5:30pm
Film Screening & Discussion with the Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Robert Stone
Friday, April 12, 5:30 pm
Sibley Auditorium, Bechtel Engineering Center, UC Berkeley
Moderator: John Fowler, KTVU Channel 2 Science Editor
A hit at the Sundance Film Festival, PANDORA’S PROMISE dares to tackle the emerging divide within the environmental movement over nuclear energy through the intimately told stories of thinkers, experts and authors who have come to change their minds about nuclear power. Stone elegantly interweaves the personal narratives of five extraordinary characters – Stewart Brand, Richard Rhodes, Gwyneth Cravens, Mark Lynas and Michael Shellenberger – to explore how these individuals have come to see advanced nuclear power as humankind’s greatest hope. By unearthing their personal transformations, Stone pierces commonly held assumptions and provides a captivating deconstruction of popular myths about radiation, waste and weapons, taking viewers on a riveting and mind-altering journey.
PANDORA’S PROMISE inspires serious and realistic debate about how mankind will continue to power modern civilization without destroying it.
The documentary will be released in movie theaters nation-wide beginning June 2013.
This screening is free to the general public.
Two Graduate Students Awarded NSF Fellowships
April 2, 2013
Congratulations to Lakshana Huddar and Alexandra (Sasha) Asghari for being selected as recipients for 2013 National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) Fellowships!
Graduate Student Sasha Asghari's Career Highlighted at Alma Mater
January 31, 2013
Nuclear Engineering first-year graduate student Alexandra Asghari was featured in a Sacramento State University video, beginning with her childhood in Kyrgyzstan and moving to the US at an early age. Her eloquent message encourages young women to pursue advanced degrees in STEM fields, and also speaks very highly of the CSU system from which the University draws so many of our grad students.
Norman named Fellow of AAAS
November 29, 2012
We are very pleased to announce that Prof. Eric "Rick" Norman has been elected this year as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, “for distinguished contributions to nuclear science and applications to national security, and high commitment to public education and outreach, particularly following the Fukushima nuclear disaster.”
The AAAS is the world's largest general scientific society, and the publisher of Science magazine.
This year, 4 UC Berkeley faculty members were elected as AAAS Fellows, bringing the campus total to 227. Additionally 2 LBNL scientists were elected. The induction for new Fellows will take place at the 2013 annual AAAS meeting in Boston on February 16. For further information, please see the link below.
LANL Summer School for Advanced Undergrads
Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico
is currently soliciting applicants for the fourteenth Los Alamos Dynamic Summer School, June 10th through August 9th, 2013. The purpose of this summer school is to focus a select group of prospective upper level undergraduate students and first year graduate students on the multi‐disciplinary field of cyber‐physical dynamic systems. Cyber-physical systems (CPS) are defined by the National Science Foundation as “engineered systems that are built from and depend upon the synergy of computational and physical components.” The summer school has two focus areas. First, the multi‐disciplinary nature of research in cyber‐physical systems will be emphasized throughout the summer school. The students will be assigned to multi‐disciplinary teams where they will work with a mentor on a research topic that has both an analytical and experimental component. Second, efforts will be made to develop the students’ written and oral communication skills. Applications must be received by January 14th, 2013. More information regarding the Summer School can be found at: http://institute.lanl.gov/ei/dynamics‐summer‐school/.
UC Berkeley Nuclear Research
September 26, 2012
Professor Per Peterson introduces the BERC Symposium in October and talks about Nuclear Engineering research in this short YouTube video.
Per Peterson featured on the KQED Quest science program on nuclear energy
September 19, 2012
Nuclear Engineering Professor, Per Peterson, was recently featured on KQED Quest science program that played on September 19, 2012 at 7:30pm. Professor Peterson was interviewed on the topic of nuclear energy and features our work here at UC Berkeley. You can read the full feature and watch the 11-minute TV story on KQED web site
Faculty Position in NE
August 1, 2012
NE is seeking applications for Non-Tenure, Tenure Track, Assistant Professor position in Reactor Neutronics