MIT team finds that the ratio of component atoms is vital to performance.
Professor Mujid S. Kazimi, a nuclear engineer who has made significant contributions to thermal hydraulic design and safety analysis of nuclear fission reactors and fusion technology, has been named the first TEPCO Professor of Nuclear Engineering at MIT.
MIT and Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) agreed in November 1999 to a five-year collaboration to develop technological and policy options for nuclear power and its fuel cycle in an increasingly competitive energy market. The agreement includes TEPCO's endowment of a chair dedicated to this area as well as funding of research programs.
This is the second chair established at MIT by TEPCO, the world's largest privately held electric utility. The first, established in 1993, is dedicated to environmental studies and is held by Professor Ronald Prinn of earth, atmospheric and planetary sciences.
Professor Kazimi, who received the BS in nuclear engineering from the University of Alexandria in Egypt and the MS (1971) and PhD (1973) in nuclear engineering from MIT, has been a member of the nuclear engineering department since 1976. He is director of the Sustainable Nuclear Energy Project supported by Idaho National Engineering Laboratory to investigate advanced reactor and fuel cycle technology, chairman of the MIT research reactor's Safety Committee, and co-director of the 35-year-old summer course on nuclear systems safety. He was the head of the Department of Nuclear Engineering from 1989-97.
Professor Kazimi was among the first researchers to understand the dynamics of fuel-coolant interactions and decay heat removal under severe accident conditions in fast and thermal reactors. His recent research has looked at reducing concerns about disposal of nuclear wastes by transmutation of long-lived isotopes of spent light-water reactor fuels. He is currently investigating the use of thorium in light water reactors to substantially enhance fuel efficiency, as well as improve the economics and proliferation resistance of the fuel cycle and reduce the volume and plutonium content in the spent fuel.
Professor Kazimi has served as chair of two Department of Energy advisory panels and on the National Research Council panel on Separations and Transmutation Systems. He is a Fellow of the American Nuclear Society, a member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Society for Engineering Education.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on May 3, 2000.