Following 25 years at Idaho National Laboratory, Kathy McCarthy departed the laboratory for a new leadership role at the Canadian Nuclear Laboratories in Ontario, Canada.

In addition to her role as director of NS&T Domestic Programs, Kathy was also leading the LWRS Technical Integration Office. Kathy's tenure at INL included national technical director of the Systems Analysis Campaign for the Department of Energy Fuel Cycle Technologies Program.

She began her career at INL supporting the Fusion Safety Program, and has also served as a guest scientist at the Kernforschungszentrum (Nuclear Research Center) in Karlsruhe, Germany. She has held multiple leadership positions in the American Nuclear Society at the national and local level, culminating in a Presidential Citation Award in 2015.

Dr. John Wagner was named the director of Domestic Programs in the Nuclear Science and Technology Directorate and the director of the Technical Integration Office for the DOE-NE Light Water Reactor Sustainability program, effective immediately. John is assuming the responsibilities previously held by Dr. Kathryn McCarthy.

John was chief scientist for the Materials and Fuels Complex and has more than 20 years of experience performing research, and managing and leading research and development projects, programs and organizations. Prior to joining INL in 2016, John worked at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory for nearly 17 years where he held a number of leadership roles in reactor and fuel cycle technologies.

John received a B.S. in nuclear engineering from the Missouri University of Science and Technology, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the Pennsylvania State University. He is a Fellow of the American Nuclear Society, recipient of the 2013 E. O. Lawrence Award, and has authored or co-authored more than 170 refereed journal and conference articles, technical reports, and conference summaries.

3/1/2017March 2017

By Jaime Cookson

An undergraduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology studying nuclear science and engineering, Alexandra Delmore spent the summer working for INL’s International Safeguards and Global Security Group.

Delmore’s group focused on external power monitoring, which she explained as “how IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] inspectors verify that a nuclear reactor is operating at the power that the operators say it is running at.” 

Specifically, the project is working on a small modular reactor design that is not compatible with current external power monitoring technologies and hoping to develop a new method of monitoring it.

This group included two other interns, and Delmore said she enjoyed the collaborative effort. She also took advantage of other opportunities offered to interns, including touring lab facilities and attending seminars to learn about other projects taking place at INL. 

Delmore said the most interesting part about her project was the knowledge that it has real-world applications. Although she is only worked on one specific aspect, Delmore said “the project itself has this overarching application for nuclear nonproliferation which gives it importance and purpose.”

Outside of the office, Delmore said she enjoyed hiking in the Grand Tetons, Yellowstone National Park, and Craters of the Moon National Monument with her fellow interns, as well as going running on weekdays.

Delmore said she appreciated the research experience afforded to her by an INL internship and feels it will ultimately help her in graduate school. For Delmore, the chance to apply concepts learned in classes to her project was invaluable. She also was excited to learn about other research topics.

“It’s valuable to connect with other interns and scientists at INL for possible future collaboration,” Delmore said. 

3/1/2017March 2017

​By Jaime Cookson

A PhD student at Oregon State University, Jackson Harter spent his time at INL doing research to predict thermal conductivity in nuclear fuels. He hopes to be able to combine two applications in the MOOSE (Multiphysics Object Oriented Simulation Environment) family—Rattlesnake and Marmot—to make these predictions.

Part of Harter’s master’s thesis demonstrated that researchers could use Rattlesnake to simulate phonon transport, although the application typically uses a neutron transport code. Working at INL offered Harter an opportunity to build upon this research.

The prospect of making a difference in the world of energy production inspired Harter to leave a career as a cook to study nuclear engineering. 

“I’m devoted to a future which includes nuclear power as a clean source of energy,” he said.

Harter said coming to INL was beneficial in working toward this goal, and that he enjoyed being around people who share his passion of supporting clean energy. 

After work, Harter took advantage of Idaho’s wilderness by going fly fishing on the Snake and Madison rivers. He also enjoys yoga, biking, and continuing to learn coding in his spare time. 

This was the second summer Harter interned at INL, and he can see the lab in his post graduate future. “I really like Idaho Falls, I like this lab, and I like the fact that this is DOE’s premier energy research laboratory,” he said.

In the meantime, Harter said he enjoys being a part of the clean energy movement and remains passionate about communicating openly with the public and being an advocate for nuclear energy.

3/1/2017March 2017

​By Jaime Cookson

Brittany Umbrage left a career as a real estate appraiser to return to school at the University of New Mexico. Although she initially studied chemical engineering, when Umbrage took a radiation protection class as an elective, she fell in love and changed her emphasis to nuclear engineering.

Umbrage spent her summer internship at INL working on probabilistic risk analysis software to extend the life of the existing nuclear fleet by predicting the degradation of different components in the secondary loop. She hopes that by developing these models, they can be extended into the upcoming generation of reactors. 

Umbrage said her internship was a much different experience than being in school, adding that she enjoyed having the chance to become more advanced in one topic, rather than having only a broad overview of an entire field.

“It’s been challenging and I’ve had to really push my limits and go outside to find new sources of information,” she said. Umbrage said that moving from a school environment to INL has boosted her confidence in her own abilities.

In her spare time, Umbrage took advantage of Idaho Falls’ proximity to national parks, hiking in the Tetons and in Yellowstone. She even had the chance to try paddle boarding. 

Although her ultimate goal is to be a reactor operator, Umbrage enjoyed the opportunity to meet employees with different backgrounds and make professional contacts at INL. She is also took full advantage of the opportunity to learn new skills, such as coding, which was an essential part of her internship.

3/1/2017March 2017

​To broaden knowledge about a collaborative effort between Idaho National Laboratory and five of the nation’s leading research universities, the National University Consortium website has been made available to the public. To view the website, go to

The NUC is a partnership between INL, MIT, North Carolina State University, The University of New Mexico, The Ohio State University and Oregon State University.

At the website, you will find the program’s mission statement, projects, collaborating university participants, a current newsletter, links to the universities, news and notes. For more information, contact program director Marsha Bala at or 526-1336.

3/1/2017March 2017

John Kotek, one of the federal government’s top-ranking nuclear energy experts, joined the Nuclear Energy Institute as vice president for policy development and public affairs in January. At the same time, Beverly Marshall, NEI’s acting vice president for governmental affairs for the past four months, was promoted to the position on a permanent basis.

NEI announced the changes to its leadership team as it implements a restructuring begun last August to integrate its government relations, policy and communications disciplines within a new external affairs division.

Kotek is responsible for providing policy and public affairs leadership on financial, economic, tax, electricity market and environmental issues related to the nuclear energy industry. He served as acting assistant secretary in the Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy since July 2015. He had been appointed principal deputy assistant secretary in DOE’s nuclear energy office in January 2015.

“This is an exciting time to re-enter the commercial sector and join the NEI team,” Kotek said. “This is a particularly important time to advance solutions that preserve existing nuclear power plants and galvanize resources to commercialize the advanced technologies that will cement nuclear energy’s beneficial role for generations to come.”

Prior to his appointment as principal deputy assistant secretary, Kotek was the managing partner of the Boise, Idaho, office of Gallatin Public Affairs, a public affairs and strategic communications consulting company. From 2003-2006, Kotek was deputy manager of DOE’s Idaho Operations Office. Before joining DOE in July 2003, he worked for Argonne National Laboratory as the Generation IV and nuclear-hydrogen programs manager.

Kotek succeeds NEI Vice President Revis James, who is moving to the United Kingdom in February.

3/2/2017March 2017

​University Partnerships is pleased to announce Dr. Bernard Yurke as INL's first Distinguished Joint Appointment Fellow. This new appointment category recognizes incoming professors who have stature in the national and international research community and bring prestige to INL through their joint appointment. 

INL is interested in expanding emerging core capabilities in chemical and molecular science, and in condensed matter physics and materials science. One way to do so is to develop a partnership with researchers in materials science at Boise State University. Currently, Yurke and his colleagues in Boise State's Nanoscale Materials and Device group are conducting research in excitonics and quantum computing using biomolecular self-assembly. Researchers have expertise in photonics, plasmonics, DNA nanotechnology and optical and electrical characterization of nanodevices.

 Yurke will visit INL quarterly to interact with other fellows and scientists, establishing collaborations and pursuing funding from DOE. In addition, he will continue to support and grow research activities within theNanoscale Materials and Device Group at Boise State. He also will supervise a graduate student and host INL scientists at Boise State.

"It is necessary for our lab to expand emerging core capabilities in chemical and molecular science, and condensed matter physics and materials science in ways that will enable our applied missions," said Kelly Beierschmitt, INL's deputy lab director and chief research officer. "One way to do this was to develop a partnership with researchers in materials science at Boise State University. We are thrilled to add Dr. Yurke and the Boise team to our community."

3/1/2017March 2017

Ryan Newell, Youngjoo Park, Abhishek Mehta, Dennis Keiser Jr., Yongho Sohn

Journal of Nuclear Materials
Vol 487, pages 443-452
April 2017

3/16/2017March 2017