Nuclear Engineering Program

Welcome to the University of Florida Nuclear Engineering Program home page. Housed within the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering’s Department of Materials Science & Engineering, the program offers students an opportunity to work on research teams related to backscatter radiation, extreme environments testing and nuclear fuel cycles. Students also conduct research alongside academics and in partnership with national labs and government agencies, including Idaho National Laboratory and the U.S. Department of Energy.

At UF, we’re developing the next generation of nuclear engineering leaders by performing high-impact research and providing exceptional educational programs. We build on our unique strength as a department by combining the disciplines of both Nuclear Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering to benefit society locally, nationally and globally.

Research Facilities

The Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering’s Research Service Centers support and enhance the research, education, and public service missions of the University of Florida by providing access to characterization and process instrumentation.

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Faculty Research Areas

Nuclear technology and research contribute in multiple ways to our health, development and safety. You may not realize it, but it's utilized across nearly all aspects of our lives and community, from clean energy production to medicine to agriculture.

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Why Nuclear Engineering at UF?

At UF, we’re developing the next generation of nuclear engineering leaders by performing high-impact research and providing exceptional educational programs.

Find Out More Nuclear Engineering Program

Research Facilities

The Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering’s Research Service Centers support and enhance the research, education, and public service missions of the University of Florida by providing access to characterization and process instrumentation.

Find Out MoreNuclear Engineering Program

Nuclear Engineering Faculty

Photo of Assel Aitkaliyeva

Assel Aitkaliyeva
Assistant Professor

Work 176 Rhines Hall

(352) 846-3778

Ph.D., 2012, Texas A&M University

Research Interests: Nuclear Fuels and Materials, with emphasis on characterization and property evaluation; Mechanical and Thermal properties of materials; Reactor Irradiation; Radiation damage in materials; Ion Implantation; Kinetics; Composites; Nanostructured materials; Multi-Scale simulation of nuclear fuel.

Photo of James Baciak

James Baciak
Professor, Florida Power and Light Professor

Work Nuclear Annex 113

(352) 273-2131

Research Interests: Applied aspects of cargo monitoring, detector testing and characterization for gamma-ray spectroscopy, as well as development and analysis of techniques for environmental sampling and surveys related to on-site inspections.

Photo of Andreas Enqvist

Andreas Enqvist
Nuclear Engineering Program Director, Florida Power and Light Professor

Work 100A Rhines Hall

(352) 294-2177

Ph. D. Chalmers, University of Technology, Sweden

Research Interests: Nuclear safeguards, detection statistics of radiation from fissile materials, and the physics behind particle-detector interactions. Neutron physics & detectors. Neutron noise signals. Radiation signal analysis

Photo of Ira Harkness

Ira Harkness
Instructional Assistant Professor, Director of IT and Facilities

Work 104 Rhines Hall


Ph.D., 2018, University of Florida

Research Interests: Monte Carlo methods; neutron transport; nuclear safeguards and nonproliferation

Photo of Kyle C. Hartig

Kyle Hartig
Assistant Professor

Work 180 Rhines Hall

(202) 270-4721

Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University

Research Interests: Remote Sensing, Nuclear Nonproliferation/counterproliferation, Nuclear Security, and Nuclear Policy

Photo of Chris McDevitt

Chris McDevitt
Associate Professor

Work 174 Rhines Hall

(352) 846-3785

Ph.D., 2008, University of California San Diego
Research Interests: Computational and Theoretical Plasma Physics, Magnetic and Inertial Confinement Fusion, Plasma Turbulence, Momentum Transport, Runaway Electrons, Monte Carlo Methods

Photo of DuWayne Schubring

DuWayne Schubring
Instructional Associate Professor, NE Undergraduate Coordinator

Work 317A MAE

(352) 294-7870

Ph.D., 2009, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Research Interests: Two-phase flow, nuclear reactor thermal hydraulics, quantitative visualization, nuclear reactor safety, computational and numerical methods including coupled codes, advanced nuclear power systems

Photo of Michael Tonks

Michael Tonks
Professor, Alumni Professor of Materials Science & Engineering and MSE Undergraduate Coordinator

Work 158 Rhines Hall

(352) 846-3779

Ph.D., 2008, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Research Interests: Computational materials science, Computational mechanics, Coevolution of microstructure and properties, Materials in Harsh Environments, Mesoscale modeling and simulation, Nuclear materials, Numerical methods

Photo of Don Wall

Don Wall
Director, UF Training Reactor (UFTR), Professor of Practice

Work 311 MAE Building

(352) 273-2662

Ph.D. 2001, Florida State University

Photo of Nathalie Wall

Nathalie Wall

Work 323 MAE Building

(352) 273-0279

Ph.D., 1993, University of Paris, XI

Research Interests: Radiochemistry, Nuclear Wastes, Nuclear Forensics, Nuclear Fuel Cycle, Environmental Behavior of Radionuclides

Lab Website: Wall Research

Photo of Justin Watson

Justin Watson
Associate Professor and NE Graduate Coordinator

Work Rhines 178

(352) 273-0241

Ph.D., 2010, Penn State University

Research Interests: Reactor Kinetics and Dynamics, Neutronics, Thermal Hydraulics, Multiphysics Simulation, Advanced Numerical Methods, Applied Mathematics, Advanced Code Coupling Techniques, Scientific Software Development, High Performance Computing

Lab Website: Florida Advanced Multiphysics Modeling and Simulation (FAMMoS) Lab

Photo of Yong Yang

Yong Yang
Associate Professor

Work 202A Rhines Hall

(352) 846-3791

Ph. D., 2005, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Research Interests: structural and fuel materials for nuclear energy systems; LWRs sustainability and aging management; advanced fabrication and joining technologies; used fuel dry storage and disposition.

Other Nuclear Engineering Program News

  • Michael Tonks, Ph.D., promoted to Full Professor


    Dr. Michael Tonks received his Bachelor of Science in 2001 and Master of Science in 2002, both in Mechanical Engineering from Brigham Young University and his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2008. From 2009-2015, he worked as a Staff Scientist and Group Lead at the Idaho National Laboratory. ...


  • Jacob DeWitte, Ph.D., Recognized with 2021 Distinguished Early Career Alumni Award


    Our 2021 Distinguished Early Career Alumni Award winner is Jacob DeWitte, Ph.D., a nuclear reactor developer commercializing next-generation fission power systems. Dr. DeWitte is a co-Founder and the CEO of Oklo, Inc., a Sunnyvale, California-based company developing and building small nuclear reactors.
    Dr. DeWitte is originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico, and completed his undergraduate studies at ...


  • Department of Energy Award Helps Wall Create Better Long-term Nuclear Waste Storage


    The U.S. is the world’s largest nuclear power producer, with nearly 100 commercial power plants designed to run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Nuclear energy is also the most reliable source of clean energy in the country, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. But along with that clean, dependable power source ...


  • In Memory of Dr. Edward Dugan, 1946-2021


    Edward T. Dugan, Ph.D., a University of Florida alumnus and Department of Materials Science & Engineering nuclear engineering professor emeritus, passed away on January 24th, 2021, at 74 years of age.
    Dr. Dugan graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1968 with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. He attended UF for graduate school, ...


  • Baciak and Yang Selected as Doctoral Dissertation Advisor/Mentoring Awardees by College


    Congratulations to James Baciak, Ph.D., and Yong Yang, Ph.D., both recipients of the 2019-2020 Doctoral Dissertation Advisor/Mentoring Award from the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering.
    “I am truly honored to receive this award,” Dr. Yang said. “As a faculty member, I feel there is no greater reward than seeing my students be successful at UF and ...


  • Nathalie Wall, Ph.D. Elected 2020 AAAS Fellow


    Professor Nathalie Wall, Ph.D., from the Department of Materials Science & Engineering’s Nuclear Engineering Program, is a newly elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
    The AAAS recognizes distinguished scientific, engineering and innovation pioneers for their “achievements across disciplines, from research, teaching, and technology, to administration in academia, industry and government, ...


  • Kaylee Cunningham Looks Forward to a Bright Future in Nuclear Engineering


    Kaylee Cunningham, a sophomore Nuclear Engineering major, was awarded first place honors for her poster entry at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory Intern Poster Session last summer. For our spring Student Spotlight, Cunningham shares her experience with early college success and what she hopes to accomplish in the world of nuclear engineering.

    Why did you decide ...