Professor Howard Hall

and his Nuclear Security research group

Good afternoon, Dr. Crye

Jason CryeI’m very pleased to announce that Jason Crye will receive his PhD “hood” Thursday afternoon, May 9, at the University of Tennessee’s graduate hooding ceremony.  As his major professor, I get the privilege of placing Jason’s hood on him, symbolically granting him the status of Doctor of Philosophy.

For those of you interested in the history and traditions of academic regalia, there is a nice summary on Wikipedia.

Dr. Crye’s dissertation is entitled Enrichment Determination of Uranium Metal in Shielded Configurations without Calibration Standards.  You can read it here.

Jason is currently a full-time employee at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the Nuclear Security and Isotope Technology Division.

Jason also happens to be my first granted PhD!

Generation Prague Conference

From the UT Institute for Nuclear Security’s site:

StateDeptSealThe U.S. Department of State will be hosting their Fourth Annual Generation Prague Conference on June 10-11, 2013, in Washington, DC. This year’s conference focus is “Building a Strategy for Peace,” and will also commemorate the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s speech at American University. In this commencement address, the President asked the graduates to re-examine their attitudes towards peace, the Soviet Union, and the Cold War, famously remarking, “If we cannot end now our differences, at least we can make the world safe for diversity.” The President also announced that he, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, and British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan had agreed to hold discussions concerning a comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty. Finally, he explained that the United States would not conduct atmospheric nuclear tests on the condition that other countries uphold this same promise.

On August 5, 1963, the US, USSR, and UK negotiators signed the Limited Test Ban Treaty. This treaty:

  • prohibited nuclear weapons tests or other nuclear explosions under water, in the atmosphere, or in outer space
  • allowed underground nuclear tests as long as no radioactive debris falls outside the boundaries of the nation conducting the test
  • pledged signatories to work towards complete disarmament, an end to the armaments race, and an end to the contamination of the environment by radioactive substances.

This treaty was ratified by the Senate on September 23, 1963, and signed by the President into law on October 7, 1963.

Achievement of the final objective — a comprehensive ban — remains unaccomplished. Thirty-three years after the entry into force of the Limited Test Ban Treaty, U.S. President Bill Clinton signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty — but it was not ratified by the U.S. Senate and has not entered into force. For more info on the Comprehensive Test Ban, visit the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test -Ban Treaty Organization.

The Generation Prague Conference welcomes students and young professionals to attend.


DOE/NE Scholarships and Fellowships available

Department-of-Energy-Logo_320x240The Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Nuclear Energy (NE) today announced two new Requests for Applications (RFAs) that seek applicants for undergraduate scholarships and graduate fellowships in nuclear science and engineering fields of study.

NE expects to award approximately $4.6 million for up to 70 undergraduate scholarships and 30 graduate fellowships to a diverse group of U.S. students and legal permanent residents via the competitive process defined in the RFAs.

Undergraduate scholarships are $5,000 for one year. The maximum award for fellowships is anticipated to be $50,000 a year for three years, with an additional one time $5,000 allotment to fund a minimum 10-week internship at DOE, a DOE national laboratory or other designated facility.

Applications for the Scholarship and Fellowship RFAs are due on May 23, 2013, and must be submitted using the online submittal application found at  NE intends to notify award recipients by August 2013.

If you have any questions, please contact DOE/NE at 208-526-1104 or

Fossil fuel. It’s a killer.

Chemical and Engineering News, a publication of the American Chemical Society, is reporting on a paper from NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies looking at the human costs of energy production. The paper, published in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Science and Technology, finds that the historic use of nuclear power has prevented 1.8 million deaths from air pollution-related causes. Further, they estimate that replacing our current fleet of nuclear power with coal would result in an additional 7 million deaths from air pollution by 2050.

The peer-reviewed article is here.

And it should be noted the 4900 deaths attributed to nuclear power over the historical period are acknowledged by the authors to be an overestimate, as about 70% of that number relies on the Linear No-Threshold (LNT) dose hypothesis for induced cancer deaths. LNT, adopted as a conservative standard for radiation protection practices, is believed to significantly overstate the mortality risk at low radiation dose.

Regardless of the quibbling over the nuclear mortality rate estimate, the numbers are dwarfed by the mortality impacts of fossil fuel. And the NASA analysis did not attempt to estimate additional mortality from anthropogenic climate change.



Hall in KNS article on North Korea nuclear tensions

Professor Howard Hall was quoted in a recent article in the Knoxville News-Sentinel on the rising tensions around North Korea.

“I think there is no credible threat that North Korea can pose to the U.S. homelands,” Hall said. “I don’t think there’s anything that they have in their arsenal that is a credible threat. But they certainly can pose a threat to our interests in the Asian region.”

Hall’s remarks were echoed by South Korean students attending the University as well.

UT Nuclear Engineering moves sharply upward

We were very pleased to learn today that the University of Tennessee’s Nuclear Engineering Department (UTNE) has moved up substantially in the US News and World Report’s ranking of Nuclear Engineering program.  This year, UTNE is ranked number 6 overall and number 5 among public universities — last year we were 9 and 8 respectively.  This is great news!

Go Big Orange!

Stanley Foundation opening

I’m cross-posting this as a courtesy to our colleagues at the Stanley Foundation — they are seeking a nuclear security policy program officer.

The Stanley Foundation brings fresh voices, original ideas, and lasting solutions to debates on global and regional problems. It is a nonpartisan, private operating foundation that focuses primarily on peace and security issues and advocates principled multilateralism. For Stanley, principled multilateralism means working respectfully across differences to create balanced and just solutions.

The Stanley Foundation’s work recognizes the essential roles of the policy community, media professionals, and the involved public in building sustainable peace. Much of their work aims at connecting people from different backgrounds, and that often produces clarifying insights and innovative solutions.

The Foundation, and the position, are in Iowa.

AAAS Fellows induction picture

Professor Hall was among seven UT faculty (and several ORNL staff as well) inducted as Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  A picture of the inductees present at the Boston meeting of the AAAS (between blizzards!) is below.

Left to right:  Lee Riedinger (2011 inductee), Jimmy Mays, Howard Hall, Carol Tenopir, Gary Sayler, and Alexei Sokolov

Left to right: Lee Riedinger (2011 inductee), Jimmy Mays, Howard Hall, Carol Tenopir, Gary Sayler, and Alexei Sokolov



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