Campus News - January 14, 2002

Busch honored for service in nuclear safety

By Michael Padilla

Bob Busch, UNM Department of Chemical and Nuclear Engineering professor, has received a national award for distinguished service from the American Nuclear Society’s Nuclear Criticality Safety Division (NCSD). He is the first faculty member from any university to receive this award.

The award was given for Busch's dedicated service in many leadership roles, as well as his major contributions in the advancement of criticality safety training and nuclear engineering education.

The NCSD communicates to nuclear criticality safety professionals about the development of standards, the evolution of training methods and materials, the presentation of technical data and procedures, and the creation of specialty publications. The division furthers the exchange of technical information on nuclear criticality safety with the ultimate goal of promoting the safe handling of fissionable materials outside reactors.

“The award recognizes the UNM Short Courses in Nuclear Criticality Safety that we have been offering since 1975,” Busch said. “These courses bring 30 to 50 professionals to campus each summer to learn about criticality safety.”

As part of the course, individuals are exposed to the academic and research activities at UNM in nuclear engineering. In addition to these annual summer courses, courses have been offered in Colo., Idaho, Tenn. and Wash. Internationally, UNM was invited to develop and teach courses in the United Kingdom at the Sellafield Nuclear Facility, British Nuclear Fuels Limited. Busch said this course was so successful that UNM has returned every two years since 1996 to repeat them. Plans are underway to do another course in England in 2002.

As technical program chair for the 1995 International Conference on Nuclear Criticality held in Albuquerque, Busch arranged a program featuring more than 100 papers submitted from 25 countries. Through these efforts, UNM has remained visible as one of only two universities in the U.S. doing work in Nuclear Criticality Safety and supporting the criticality community. As an extension of this outreach, UNM has developed workshops for high school teachers to assist them in teaching nuclear science and engineering. These workshops, also offered for graduate credit, bring 10 to 15 teachers to campus each year. Through these classes, the teachers are invited to bring their students to campus to use the Nuclear Engineering facilities and to learn about nuclear engineering careers and issues.

Busch received a bachelor’s degree in physics from Harvey Mudd College in 1971, and a M.S. and Ph. D. in nuclear engineering from UNM in 1972 and 1976, respectively. He is a registered professional engineer in the State of New Mexico.

Besides teaching three to five courses each semester, his current research interests are nuclear criticality safety, fission reactor parameters and kinetics, neutronics calculational methods and cross-sections, and nuclear energy laboratory teaching and experiment design.

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