A Department of Firsts
North Carolina State University’s Department of Nuclear Engineering is the only nuclear engineering program in North Carolina and a premier nuclear engineering department in the United States.
Our department has a unique history. It is home to the first university-based nuclear reactor and associated Nuclear Reactor Program dedicated to teaching, research and extension. It is also the lead university in two unique consortia:
- The Consortium for Advanced Simulation of Light Water Reactors (CASL), funded by the Department of Energy, uses advanced computer simulations to create safer, more cost-effective nuclear power plants.
- The Consortium for Nonproliferation Enabling Capabilities (CNEC) is funded by the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA’s) Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation (DNN R&D) Proliferation Detection Program (PDP). The mission of the PDP is to develop technologies to detect foreign nuclear weapons development activities; to support nuclear arms control treaties verification and monitoring for compliance; and to support national nuclear security more broadly.
- The National University Consortium (NUC), established by INL with North Carolina State University as one of the founding members, collaborates research that strengthens the portfolios of INL and universities and furthers the nation’s strategic nuclear energy objectives.
In addition to the consortia, our department houses multiple research groups and programs:
- The 4th State Application Research Group (4-STAR), focuses in the area of industrial applications of plasma discharges, enhancing current plasma applications and developing new plasma applications for next generation material and device fabrication.
- The Center for Engineering Applications of Radioisotopes (CEAR), focuses in industrial and medical radiation and radioisotope measurement applications. The areas of interest include the optimum design and use of short-lived radioisotope tracers for unit processes, nuclear gauges, nuclear analyzers, nuclear oil well logging devices and computed tomography devices.
- The Nuclear Reactor Program (NRP), focuses to enhance, promote, and utilize the PULSTAR research reactor and associated facilities in an exemplary manner, leading to national recognition as a premier 1-MW Nuclear Reactor Program dedicated to research, teaching, and extension.
- The Radiation Detection Applications in Nuclear Security (RADIANS), focuses on applying advanced radiation measurement and analysis methods to meet current and future challenges to the missions of nuclear security.
- The Reactor Dynamics and Fuel Modelling Group (RDFMG), established at Penn State has been recently moved to North Carolina State University. RDFMG has established expertise and experience in developing, validation, and application of methodologies in core neutronics, core and system thermal-hydraulics, and coupled neutronics/thermal-hydraulics/fuel performance calculations.
Additionally, the department has faculty participating in collaborative research with other departments:
- The Center for Nuclear Energy Facilities and Structures, performs research on innovative but rigorous solutions to problems in nuclear power plants and to transfer this technology to the industry. These solutions reduce uncertainty, increase safety and reduce the cost of operation of existing plants and of building new ones.
As one of the smaller departments in the College of Engineering, interaction between faculty and students is high! Through our degree programs and research, we have increased opportunities for student learning in fission reactor engineering, radiation applications, nuclear materials, computational science, plasma science, radiological engineering and fusion engineering. Nuclear engineering graduates enter a wide spectrum of professions, from medical therapy and imaging to nuclear power production. Students find our department a challenging and collegial environment for study, research and innovation. We also encourage participation in student organizations.
Nuclear Engineering is a multidisciplinary field engaged in the development, design, deployment and analysis of methods and devices that utilize fundamental nuclear processes. These processes include natural and induced radioactive decay, the splitting of heavy atomic nuclei (fission), and the merging of light nuclei (fusion). Our undergraduate curriculum prepares students to step into industry or continue into graduate work. In the graduate programs, students work closely with faculty members in research thrust areas. Our programs include:
Some of our alums have been recognized by the department and college with Distinguished Engineering Alumni Awards for their exceptional accomplishments. Our graduates typically become leaders in their fields. They represent and give back to the department, creating a beneficial cycle of academic and professional success.We are very proud of our alumni, who remain part of this department always.