INL News Release
Feb. 28, 2008

Media Contacts:
John Walsh: 208-526-8646
Nicole Stricker: 208-526-5955

Idaho National Laboratory officials have selected University of Wisconsin-Madison professor Todd Allen as director of the Advanced Test Reactor National Scientific User Facility.

Dr. Allen's research interests center primarily in fuels and materials for nuclear energy systems. His special emphasis is in radiation damage and corrosion, and his research group at the University of Wisconsin is advancing materials for Generation IV nuclear energy systems.

"We are delighted that Dr. Todd Allen will serve as the first scientific director of the Advanced Test Reactor National Scientific User Facility," said Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy Dennis R. Spurgeon. "Todd is a respected researcher, a seasoned manager and he is an excellent choice to put the Advanced Test Reactor at the scientific forefront. His selection will benefit the U.S. Department of Energy, the nuclear power industry, and university nuclear science and engineering education in the United States."

This National Scientific User Facility was established by the U.S. Department of Energy in April 2007 to support U.S. leadership in nuclear science and technology. By attracting new research users - universities, laboratories and industry - the Advanced Test Reactor will support basic and applied nuclear research and development, further President Bush's Advanced Energy Initiative and help ensure the nation's energy security.

Dr. Allen, who assumes the joint appointment in March, will split his time between his faculty responsibilities as a professor of engineering physics at the University of Wisconsin and at the U.S. Department of Energy's Idaho National Laboratory.

"The Advanced Test Reactor National Scientific User Facility provides an excellent vehicle for developing material science solutions that fundamentally change the way nuclear power plants are operated, both now and in the future," Dr. Allen said. "I look forward to developing the facility into an international focal point for reactor materials development."

"I am very pleased that Dr. Allen will be leading the Idaho National Laboratory's flagship center for nuclear materials and fuel testing," said David Hill, INL deputy director for Science & Technology. "Dr. Allen will lead the transformation of the User Facility into the nation's nuclear research center, where industry, universities and students will join together to develop today's and tomorrow's nuclear energy technologies. His expertise in materials corrosion and radiation damage, and his experience with DOE and industry programs, make him ideally suited to set the course of this National Scientific User Facility."

Allen is familiar with the Idaho Falls area and INL, having been a section manager for reactor materials at the former Argonne National Laboratory-West (ANL-W) before joining the Wisconsin faculty in the fall of 2003. ANL-W became part of INL in 2005, when the DOE consolidated the two laboratories, ANL-W and the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory.

The Advanced Test Reactor is a materials and fuels test reactor capable of producing an extremely high neutron flux. Sometimes referred to as a "time machine," the reactor can subject materials to the equivalent of years of radiation exposure, as would take place in a commercial nuclear reactor, in a matter of weeks or months.

The ATR core design allows many experiments to run concurrently, with each experiment receiving a different and carefully controlled level of neutron radiation. Originally commissioned to evaluate fuels and materials performance for the Navy Nuclear Propulsion Program, the Advanced Test Reactor has proven itself as a world-class irradiation research facility.


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