Skip Navigation LinksInnovations in Nuclear 2021 Winner

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​2021 Awardees

​Open Competition

​Advanced Fuels

Walter Williams

First Place
Purdue University
In Situ Neutron Diffraction Study of Crystallographic
Evolution and Thermal Expansion Coefficients in U-22.5
at %Zr During Annealing

Steven Jepeal

Second Place
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Intermediate Energy Proton Irradiation: Rapid, High-Fidelity
Materials Testing for Fusion and Fission Energy Systems​


​Advanced Reactor Systems

Naiki Kaffezakis

First Place
Georgia Institute of Technology
High Temperature Ultra-Small Modular Reactor:
Pre-Conceptual Design

Bodhi Biswas

Second Place
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Study of Terbulence-Induced Refraction of Lower Hybrid
Waves using Synthetic Scrape-Off Layer Filaments​


​Material Protection, Control, and Accountancy

Matthew Durbin

First Place
Penn State University
K-Nearest Neighbors Regressions for the Discrimination
 of Gamma Rays and Neutrons in Organic Scintillators

Jacob Blevins

Second Place
North Carolina State University
Enabling Ga2O3's Neutron Detection Capability with
Boron Doping and Conversion Layer​


​Material Recovery and Waste Form Development

Devon Drey

Frist Place
University of Tennessee at Knoxville
Disorder in Ho2Ti2-xZrxO7: Pyrochlore to Defect
Fluorite SOlid Solution Series

Hope Lackey

Second Place
Washington State University
Reimagining pH Measurement: Utilizing Raman
Spectroscopy for Enhanced Accuracy in Phosphoric Acid Systems​


​Nuclear Science and Engineering

Gabriela Picayo

First Place
Colorado School of Mines
Characterization of the ALSEP Process at Equilibrium:
Speciation and Stoichiometry of the Extracted Complex

Osvaldo Ordonez

Second Place
University of California at Santa Barbara
Synthesis and Characterization of Two Uranyl-Aryl
“Ate" Complexes​


​Used Fuel Disposition

Logan Breton

First Place
University of South Carolina
Facile Oxide to Chalcogenide Conversion for Actinides
Using the Born-Chalcogen Mixture Method

Jordan Stanberry

Second Place
University of Central Florida
Oxidative Dissolution of TcO2 by Mn(III) Minerals under
Anaerobic Conditions: Implications on Technetium-99


Competition for Students Who Attend Universities with Less Than $600 Million in 2019 Science and Engineering R&D Expenditures


Edward Duchnowski
University of Tennessee at Knoxville
Reactor Performance and Safety Characteristics of 
Two-Phase Composite Moderator Concepts for Modular 
High Temperature Gas Cooled Reactors​


Robert Kile
University of Tennessee at Knoxville
Transformational Challenge Reactor Analysis To 
Inform Preconceptual Core Design Decisions: 
Sensitivity study of Transient Analysis in a Hydride-
Moderated Microreactor​


Ashwin Rao
Air Force Institute of Technology
Comparison of Machine Learning Techniques to Optimize 
the Analysis of Plutonium Surrogate Material via a Portable 
LIBS Device​


James Foster
Clemson University
Functionalized Polymer Thin Films for Plutonium Capture
and Isotopic Screening from Aqueous Sources​


Dimitris Killinger
Virginia Commonwealth University
Investigation of W, Ag, and Pt Quasi-Reference Electrode 
Stability in Molten NaCl-CaCl2 with Ce(0)/Ce(III) as an 
Internal Reference Redox Reaction​



Undergraduate Competition


Kaitlyn Barr
University of Michigan
Verification of MPACT and VERA-CS for the 
APR1400 Benchmark


Victoria Davis
Coastal Carolina University
Detecting Ionizing Radiation in Space with Memristor Device


Matthew Weiss
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Effect of Natural Gamma Background Radiation on 
Portal Monitor Radioisotope Unmixing​


Mete Bayrak
University of Texas at Austin
An Online Neutron Activation Analysis Database (NAADB)


Ashley Raster
Missouri University of Science and Technology
High Temperature Lead Cooled Fast Reactor for Advanced Drilling​