NSE - Nuclear Science & Engineering at MIT


Neil E. Todreas

Neil E. Todreas

KEPCO Professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering, and Professor of Mechanical Engineering (Emeritus)

617-258-8863 (fax)



B.S., Mechanical Engineering, Cornell University, 1957
M.S., Mechanical Engineering,Cornell University, 1958
Sc.D., Nuclear Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1966

Honors and Awards

  • Outstanding Professor Award, Nuclear Science and Engineering Department: 1975, 1976, 1980, 1996, 2011
  • American Nuclear Society Best Paper Award, Thermal-Hydraulic Division, 1987
  • National Heat Transfer Conference Best Paper Award, 1987
  • American Nuclear Society Technical Achievement Award, Thermal-Hydraulic Division, 1994
  • MIT School of Engineering Ruth & Joel Spira Award for Distinguished Teaching, 1995
  • American Nuclear Society Arthur Holly Compton Award, 1995
  • ICONE 8 Conference, A Thermal Hydraulic Track Best Paper Award, 1999
  • Inaugural Lecture, Distinguished Lecture Series of the Department of Mechanical & Nuclear Engineering, Pennsylvania State University, 2001
  • Inaugural Lecture, O'Hanian Engineering Lecture Series, University of Florida, 2002
  • Henry DeWolf Smyth Nuclear Statesman Award, 2005

Professional Activities

  • Fellow, American Nuclear Society, 1981
  • Fellow, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, 1983
  • Member, National Academy of Engineering, 1988
  • Chair, Korea Electric Power Corp. Professor of Nuclear Engineering, 1992-2006


Research Interests

Thermal hydraulic aspects of nuclear systems performance under steady-state and accident conditions, advanced light water reactor (LWR) and fast reactor concepts, and safety features of operating LWRs of western design.

Current Research Interests

Student participation in all projects requires nuclear engineering course preparation. Most topics below available at all levels — UROP, UG, S.M. and Ph.D. theses.

Innovative Water Reactor Concepts

The goal of the efforts is to achieve long life core with a high degree of passive safety and greatly reduced capital cost. Means to achieve physical protection of these reactors is also of interest. The current design focus is on the offshore (8-12 miles), floating (housing the reactor in a cylindrical oil rig-like structure) nuclear plant called the OFNP.

Investigate the Long-Term Technical and Economic Viability of Existing Nuclear Plants

Investigating the long-term technical and economic viability of existing nuclear plants is a national imperative for clean and secure electric power. This objective can be furthered by evaluation of the potential for aggressive power uprates for nuclear power plants as part of life extension programs for operation beyond 60 years. This research task will upgrade the integrated decision analysis methodology developed in a recently completed Ph.D. The analysis methodology is based upon analysis of the performance, safety, and economics associated with plant performance at the added capacity afforded by the adoption of advanced technologies.

Fast Reactor Fuel Rod Bundle Pressure Drop Correlation

The Cheng and Todreas correlation (CT) developed at MIT in the early 80s is the most widely used correlation for predicting pressure drop in wire-wrapped fuel rod bundles. New worldwide interest in sodium cooled fast reactors increases the necessity of a sound correlation for pressure drop calculation. There are several areas in which the CT correlation can be upgraded to make its prediction capability even better. This project will enhance the formulation of CT and verify its improved prediction capability by comparison to the available published data and computational fluid dynamic results.

Sodium and Gas Cooled Fast Reactor Design

This work investigates design options for these fast reactors to improve their economic competitiveness while retaining safety features sufficient to meet safe performance needs. The safety structure being applied is the new US regulatory technology neutral framework which presents new criteria for evaluating innovative design features.

Ice Condenser Containment

The ice loading in these containments has led to a series of costly maintenance and design basis issues because of its sublimation and blockage of flow paths. The concept of replacing this ice with thin solid structure to absorb energy appears promising and merits further exploration.

Thermal Analysis of Waste Fuel in Storage and Transportation

Horizontal rod bundles in storage and transportation must be kept under certain maximum temperatures. Prediction methods and experimental data for such arrays exist. New input for the benchmark industry code used for these analyses have developed but need to be adjusted and validated based on comparison with existing experimental data.


Selected Books

book cover
N. E. Todreas and M. S. Kazimi, “Nuclear Systems Volume I: Thermal Hydraulic Fundamentals, Revised 3rd ed,” CRC Press, 2021. Updated with new information about advanced nuclear fuel designs, two-phase flow and heat transfer, and pre- and post- accident energy sources in nuclear plants. On Amazon.

  1. N. E. Todreas and M. S. Kazimi, “Nuclear Systems Volume I: Thermal Hydraulic Fundamentals, Revised 2nd ed,” CRC Press, 2015; “Volume II: Elements of Thermal Hydraulic Design,” 2001.
  2. M. Gavrilas, P. Hejzlar, Y. Shatilla, and N. E. Todreas, “Safety Features of Operating Light Water Reactors of Western Design,” CRC Press, 2011.

Selected Papers/Presentations

  1. J. Buongiorno, J. Jurewicz, M. Golay, N. Todreas, “Light-Water Reactors on Offshore Floating Platforms: Scalable and Economic Nuclear Energy,” Proceedings of ICAPP 2015, Paper 15366, May 3-6, 2015, Nice, France
  2. N.E.Todreas, “Small modular reactors (SMRs) for producing nuclear energy: An introduction,” Chapter 1, Handbook of Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, Woodhead Publishing Series in Energy: No. 64, M. D. Carelli and D. T. Ingersoll, Eds., 2014
  3. S.K. Chen, N.E. Todreas, N.T. Nguyen, “Evaluation of Existing Correlations for the Prediction of Pressure Drop in Wire-Wrapped Hexagonal Array Pin Bundles” , Nuclear Engineering & Design 267 (2014), 109-131.
  4. T.W. Arment, N.E. Todreas, A.E. Bergles, “Critical Heat Flux and Pressure Drop for Tubes Containing Multiple Short-Length Twisted-Tape Swirl Promoters” Nuclear Engineering and Design, Vol. 257, pp. 1-11, 2013.
  5. J. DeWitte, N. Todreas, R. Ballinger, “Maximizing the US Nuclear Fleet with Mega Uprates — Projecting Concrete Lifetimes,” ANS Transactions, Vol. 109, Nov. 10-14, 2013, pp. 1044-1047.


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