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Presented By: Nuclear Engineering & Radiological Sciences

NERS Colloquium: Space Nuclear Research at ORNL

Speaker: Dianne Bull Ezell, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Dianne Bull Ezel Dianne Bull Ezel
Dianne Bull Ezel
As NASA continues to push the limitation of space travel and the idea of colonization, there is an increased need for space nuclear technology. The National Laboratories have supported NASA’s mission for decades, including the development of irradiation experiments, testbeds, modeling and simulation, and so much more. Recently, ORNL has worked closely with NASA on technology maturation for Nuclear Thermal Propulsion, Fission Surface Power, and Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators. Instrumentation and controls are particularly difficult due to the extreme environment conditions including temperatures from cryogenic to >2000C. This presentation will discuss how ORNL is meeting the needs of technology maturation for Space Nuclear.

Dr. N. Dianne Bull Ezell is the group leader of the Nuclear and Extreme Environment Measurement Group, in the Nuclear Energy and Fuel Cycle Division, at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. She completed a Ph.D. in 2016 focusing on signal processing of EMI rejection for Johnson Noise Thermometry, funded by the Small Modular Reactor Program. Her research interests are harsh environment experiments, system architecture and integration, advanced instrumentation development for nuclear systems, and low-noise front-end rad-hard electronics. She has supported the Instrumentation and Controls technology maturation program under NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate in support of Space Nuclear Propulsion since 2018. Dianne became PI of the program at ORNL in 2022, overseeing the development of a non-nuclear instrumentation and autonomous controls testbed user facility, high-temperature irradiation testbed, and dynamic system modeling and simulation of NTP integrated engine.
Dianne Bull Ezel Dianne Bull Ezel
Dianne Bull Ezel

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