Congratulations to Dr. Mihai A. Diaconeasa, assistant professor of nuclear engineering at NC State University for receiving the ANS David Okrent Award for Nuclear Safety. Dr. Diaconeasa’s educational, research, and service efforts include theories, applications, and simulation-based techniques in risk sciences such as traditional and dynamic probabilistic risk assessment, reliability analysis, resilient systems design, probabilistic physics of failure modeling, and Bayesian inference to assess the safety, security, resilience, and nonproliferation of current and future generation of nuclear reactors.
The David Okrent Award for Nuclear Safety recognizes recent contributions and accomplishments of significant value to nuclear safety. The award is open to ANS members under the age of 40 (at the time of nomination) active in the field of nuclear safety. Particular attention shall be given to identifying and recognizing valuable contributions by young professionals and students to the safety community and to NISD sponsored activities. This award is not given on an annual basis, but rather when the NISD Honors & Awards Committee deems such recognition to be appropriate.
This award was established by the Nuclear Installations Safety Division in 2019 and is named in honor of Professor David Okrent to commemorate his many valuable contributions to nuclear technology and nuclear safety made during a lifetime career in research and teaching. Among his many contributions, Dr. Okrent served for many years as a member and chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards (ACRS) during the formative years for the development and evolution of nuclear reactor safety. His remarkable insight resulted in many valuable contributions covering numerous areas, including (a) probabilistic considerations in nuclear reactor safety (PSA), (b) anticipated transients without scram (ATWS), and (c) safety goals (e.g., answering the question, “how safe is safe enough?”). Many of these contributions are reflected in the current regulatory approach in the U.S. and worldwide. Dr. Okrent was the founding father of the ANS Nuclear Reactor Safety Division (now called Nuclear Installations Safety Division) and was a very active member of ANS during his entire career. He was an outstanding mentor and teacher who always encouraged and assisted his colleagues and students in their professional pursuits. In view of the above, it is only fitting that ANS should honor Dr. Okrent for his many contributions by establishing in his name a national award that emphasizes the importance of recognizing contributions by young professionals and students.