Nuclear companies give $1.2M for USC research center

Staff Report
Published Feb. 22, 2012

Six nuclear companies in South Carolina have contributed a total of $1.2 million, adding to the $3 million from the state’s SmartState Program, to create a new center for the study of nuclear science and engineering.

Progress Energy, Duke Energy, SCANA, the Shaw Group, Studsvik and Westinghouse were recognized Tuesday at the University of South Carolina for their contributions to the new center in the school’s College of Engineering and Computing.

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Jeffrey Archie, senior vice president and chief nuclear officer for the SCANA subsidiary South Carolina Electric & Gas Co., said the investment is good for his company and for the industry.

“We can’t be successful without people like you at USC to support our efforts,” Archie said. “We need visionaries, people engaged in research in our field.”

USC President Harris Pastides said the timing is right for the center, which will conduct research to develop strategies for improving and enhancing the use of nuclear energy.

“We need to look to the future and find sustainable, safe methods to fuel our country,” Pastides said.

Anthony Ambler, dean of the College of Engineering and Computing, said the college has nationally-recognized researchers in a wide range of disciplines, which have been enhanced by the addition of SmartState endowed chairs.

“We can now boast one of the nation’s most comprehensive energy research programs covering not only nuclear energy, for which we have two SmartState chairs, but also for clean coal technology (one SmartState chair), hydrogen economy (one SmartState chair), fuel cells (two SmartState chairs), photovoltaics, smart grid and micro grid, batteries and biomass,” Ambler said. “We intend to make this a national resource for energy matters when we couple this with the expertise in other colleges at USC that can address energy policy, public health and environmental impact, legal issues and communications.

“Clearly, with this state’s already heavy investment in nuclear power, the investments we are making in the University of South Carolina in this technology will complement that of other institutions such as Midlands Tech and South Carolina State University,” Ambler added.

Ambler said the school hopes to play more of a leadership role within the state now that the first nuclear SmartState chair has been filled, and the search for a second chair is under way.

Daniel Cacuci
Daniel Cacuci
Daniel Cacuci was appointed to the first of two endowed chairs in nuclear engineering. Ambler delivered remarks on behalf of Cacuci, who was in Israel to deliver the keynote speech at the 2012 Annual Meeting of Israel’s Nuclear Societies.

Cacuci earned his Ph.D. in 1978 in nuclear engineering from Columbia University. He has worked in nuclear research in Sweden, France and Germany, in addition to the United States.

Since 1984, Cacuci has served as editor of Nuclear Science and Engineering, the research journal of the American Nuclear Society.

He also has served as senior section head at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, institute director at the Nuclear Research Center Karlsruhe in Germany, and scientific director of the Nuclear Energy Directorate/Sector, Commissariat a l’Energie Atomique in France.

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