Opportunities for Young Professionals in the Nuclear Engineering Division

This month, we sat down with Reid Peterson, Vice Chair for Programming of Nuclear Engineering Division (NED) to discuss opportunities in this Division.

1. Tell us a little about your Division.

The Nuclear Engineering Division is the oldest of AIChE’s divisions, having been formed in 1954. The original members of the NED focused on the development of the nuclear fuel cycle and the expansion of nuclear energy throughout the United States. The nuclear industry was thriving in the period of the 60’s and early 70’s. Since that time, the NED has shifted its focus to be broader based. Efforts today include environmental management, development of proliferation resistance and fuel cycles as well as support for classic nuclear fuel processes.

2. What benefits have you received from becoming a member of this Division?

The NED offers an opportunity to connect with others who are working as chemical engineers in the field of nuclear technology. A significant portion of the activities associated with the nuclear fuel cycle involve extensive use of chemical engineering principles, but with the unique challenges of radioactivity and unique process chemistry – such as the many oxidation states of plutonium. The NED is one of the few places where those two worlds intersect.

3. What opportunities are available for members to get involved? What is a good way for Young Professional Members to get started?

Because the NED serves a relatively small area of chemical engineering, opportunities for Young Professional members abound. The programming meeting is always open to new members, and opportunities to influence the programming and to serve as a session co-chair are plentiful. In particular, young faculty members will find the NED particularly welcoming as we are always looking to expand our base beyond the historical impact of the national laboratories.

4. When does this Division hold events or meetings?

The primary business of the Division is held as part of the annual meeting. Ad hoc meetings to address specific topics are typically held once a year. The majority of the Division business is taken care of by e-mail. As a relatively small division, it is easy to get the major contributors together in a relatively short time period. We are looking for young professionals in our field to help us expand our outreach to their peers.

5. How does someone become a member?

One can join the NED through the AIChE website. The cost is $10/year. This is one of the least expensive divisions to join and provides excellent opportunities for growth in your career as a chemical engineer.

6. Who can I contact with any questions or to get more involved?

Division leadership is always looking for new people interest in supporting the NED. The best way to join the network is to contact the Division Chair or Co-chair.

Chair for 2016: John Olson – JWOlson@bechtel.com

Vice-chair for programming 2016: Reid Peterson – Reid.Peterson@pnnl.gov

7. Anything else you want to discuss about your Division?

Nearly 10% of the approximated 140 dues-paying members of the NED are AIChE Fellows. These senior members of the AIChE are committed to nurturing the next generation of chemical engineers in the NED.