Iowa State University


Dan Bullen, Mechanical Engineering, (515) 294-6000
Skip Derra, News Service, (515) 294-4917


AMES, Iowa -- An Iowa State University engineering professor has been appointed by President Clinton to serve on the U.S. Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board (NWTRB).

Daniel Bullen, ISU associate professor of mechanical engineering, was named by the White House as a member of the NWTRB. The board oversees the technical efforts of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) on the safe shipment, storage and disposal of high-level radioactive wastes. A primary concern of the board is DOE work on determining a site for the long- term storage of high-level radioactive wastes.

"This is a very prestigious appointment for Dr. Bullen and shows the national and international reputation he has gained in nuclear engineering," said ISU President Martin Jischke. "As a member of this board, he will help address the very difficult and challenging issues of how we as a nation deal effectively and safely with the by-products of the nuclear energy industry and the dismantling of nuclear weapons."

"I really look forward to working with the new board because what they do is such a challenging task that it makes it inherently interesting from an engineering point of view," Bullen said. "I believe we can help develop a technically sound and very safe disposal system for high-level nuclear wastes."

The Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board was created by Congress in 1987 as an independent agency responsible for evaluating the scientific and technical validity of DOE activities in the high-level radioactive waste management program. The Board consists of 11 members who are nominated by the National Academy of Sciences for appointment by the President.

Bullen is one of six new board appointees named by Clinton. Members are selected on the basis of their distinguished service. Members serve for four years.

Bullen's expertise is in the area of performance assessments of engineered barrier systems. These systems will ultimately shield the high-level radioactivity emitted by the wastes and are a crucial element in the overall nuclear waste repository.

The board's primary job is to provide guidance and technical insight to the DOE as it works out details for a long-term repository for high-level nuclear waste from commercial reactors and from weapons systems. Initial plans for such a repository have focused on Yucca Mountain, Nev., but the final site has not yet been determined. The Board reports its findings, conclusions and recommendations to the U.S. Congress and the Secretary of Energy at least twice a year.

A long-term repository is being considered for the storage of high-level nuclear wastes for 10,000 years. Choosing a site and designing a repository for such a long working lifetime makes it an unprecedented engineering challenge. Currently, plans are to have the repository constructed by the year 2010.

Bullen joined the ISU faculty in 1992 as an associate professor of nuclear engineering. From 1993-1996, he served as Nuclear Engineering Program Coordinator. He also serves as the Director of the Nuclear Reactor Laboratory at ISU.

Prior joining the ISU faculty, Bullen held faculty appointments at Georgia Institute of Technology (1990-92), Atlanta, and North Carolina State University (1989-90), Raleigh. He has worked in industry and at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, Calif.

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The five other appointees to the NWTRB are:
Florie Caporuscio, Informatics Inc., Santa Fe, N. M.
Norman Christensen, Duke University, Durham, N.C.
Debra Knopman, Progressive Foundation Center for Innovation and the Environment, Washington, D.C.
Priscilla Nelson, National Science Foundation, Washington, D.C.
Alberto Sagues, University of South Florida, Tampa, Fla.

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