Idaho National Laboratory’s Kemal Pasamehmetoglu has become chairman of the Nuclear Energy Agency’s Nuclear Science Committee, the international organization’s panel in charge of developing and collecting basic scientific and technical knowledge related to current and next-generation nuclear systems.

Pasamehmetoglu is also executive director of the Versatile Test Reactor program, the U.S. Department of Energy’s initiative to build a research reactor that will generate high-speed – “fast” – neutrons for experimentation and testing in the development of new nuclear energy technologies.

A rendering of what the Versatile Test Reactor may look like.

NEA is an intergovernmental organization that dates back to 1958, operating under the framework of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). It facilitates cooperation among 31 countries with advanced nuclear technology infrastructures to seek excellence in nuclear safety, technology, science, related environmental and economic matters, and law.

Under the NEA’s current strategic plan, the Nuclear Science Committee has the following goals:

  • Help advance the existing scientific knowledge needed to enhance the performance and safety of current nuclear systems.
  • Contribute to building a solid scientific and technical basis for the development of future generation nuclear systems.
  • Support the preservation of essential knowledge in the field of nuclear science.
  • Support the maintenance and development of essential skills capabilities, particularly through education and training of a new generation of nuclear scientists.

Pasamehmetoglu came to INL in 2004 and has more than 30 years of research and engineering experience within the DOE national laboratory system. He served as associate laboratory director for INL’s Nuclear Science and Technology Directorate between 2012 and 2017. He also was a key player in launching the Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) initiative and served as the first national director for GAIN in 2016. While serving as Nuclear Fuels and Materials division director at INL between 2005 and 2012, he was also national technical director for Advanced Fuels Research and Development in the Advanced Fuel Cycle Initiative. During that time, he focused on transforming U.S. nuclear fuels research and development capabilities into world-leading endeavors.

INL’s Kemal Pasamehmetoglu has become chairman of the Nuclear Energy Agency’s Nuclear Science Committee.

He holds a doctorate in mechanical engineering from the University of Central Florida and began his career in light water reactor safety research. Before coming to INL, he held senior technical leadership positions at Los Alamos National Laboratory, where he worked from 1986 to 2004. Prior to becoming NEA’s NSC chairman, most recently, Pasamehmetoglu chaired the NSC Expert Group on Accident Tolerant Fuel for Light Water Reactors.

In addition to his VTR and NEA activities, Pasamehmetoglu is also involved in Eco:Logic, a broad-ranging INL initiative aimed at defining a sustainable balance between humans, technology and the environment. Providing energy access to the estimated 10 billion people who will inhabit the planet by the year 2050, while simultaneously protecting the planet’s ecosystems, is perhaps the most important challenge facing humanity, he said. Nuclear energy will undoubtedly be part of the mix, and new, safer reactors that produce less waste offers a carbon-free, energy-dense technology that can be used in tandem with renewables like solar, wind, geothermal and bioenergy.

Pasamehmetoglu talks with Eco:Logic co-founder Kirsty Gogan.

“We have to think about not only what we need here, but also what kinds of reactors we need in other parts of the world where the safety and security culture is not quite as mature,” he said.

Learn more about the VTR program: https://inl.gov/trending-topic/versatile-test-reactor/

Learn more about Eco:Logic: https://inl.gov/article/fostering-discussion/

 

Posted Aug. 9, 2019