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Welcome Message from the Chair

The field of nuclear engineering is currently evolving and progressing in remarkable ways, both in the United States and around the world. Several new and exciting fields are emerging, including clean fusion energy and nuclear medicine. These fields hold immeasurable potential by alleviating the adverse environmental effects of other energy sources and by greatly improving human health and welfare. This growing potential has continued to attract some of the brightest minds to nuclear engineering. Most major nuclear engineering programs in the United States have doubled in the past decade.

Nuclear Engineering research at UC Berkeley includes applied nuclear physics, bionuclear and radiological physics, computational methods, energy systems and the environment, ethics, fission reactor design, fuel cycles and waste management, plasma technologies, nonproliferation, nuclear materials, thermal hydraulics, plasma and fusion science and technology, and risk analysis. Within each of these research groups, there are numerous ongoing projects. Research at the Nuclear Engineering Department is vast and diverse and students are encouraged to analyze factors from each of these research groups in order to look at nuclear power and technology in a holistic, forward-thinking and mindful way. For example, nuclear energy currently plays a large role in generating clean energy for the world. Of all non-fossil electricity generated in the United States, over 70% comes from nuclear energy. The Nuclear Engineering Department is actively studying how different options can be coupled to advance sustainable fuel cycles.

Our distinguished faculty continues to pave the way in furthering the field of Nuclear Engineering. My predecessor as Chair, Professor Karl van Bibber, served as the executive director of the Nuclear Science and Security Consortium. Currently, he is serving as the Associate Dean for Research in the College of Engineering. Professor Per Peterson served on President Obama’s Blue Ribbon Commission for America’s Nuclear Future. Dr. Massimiliano Fratoni was presented the American Nuclear Society’s Early Career Reactor Physicist Award. Our graduate students have been formally recognized in the official Congressional Record. In 2012, our Department was awarded the American Nuclear Society’s President’s Citation for broad outreach and education efforts in the aftermath of the Japanese tsunami and disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi reactor complex. Our faculty and students continue to excel in the field - participating in conferences, publishing papers, and asking important questions that progress the field of Nuclear Engineering.
The field of Nuclear Engineering draws from just about every discipline one can imagine. Students therefore become experts at synthesizing information from multiple sources, making them true multidisciplinary specialists. Many undergraduates choose to pursue joint major degrees. These include mechanical, materials science, chemical, and electrical engineering. Graduates are currently entering a growing job market that includes work in national laboratories, government, academia, and industry. Careers in each of these areas allow individuals to work on unique problems that will impact the entire world, whether in security, health, safety, or the environment.

Welcome again to our department website!

Peter Hosemann
Department Chair