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.

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.

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 More Nuclear Engineering Program

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

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.

Find Out MoreNuclear Engineering Program

Nuclear Engineering Faculty

Photo of Assel Aitkaliyeva Assel AitkaliyevaAssistant 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.

Lab Website: MAterials for Nuclear Advancement and Technology in Extreme Environments (MANATEE) Group

Photo of James Baciak James BaciakProfessor, 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 EnqvistNuclear 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

Lab Website: Enqvist Research Group

Photo of Ira Harkness Ira HarknessInstructional Assistant Professor, Director of IT and Facilities

Work 104 Rhines Hall 352-846-3329

Ph.D., 2018, University of Florida

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

Photo of Kyle C. Hartig Kyle C. HartigAssistant 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

Lab Website: Hartig Research Group

Photo of Chris McDevitt Chris McDevittAssociate 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

Lab Website: McDevitt Lab

Photo of DuWayne Schubring DuWayne SchubringInstructional 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 TonksProfessor, 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

Lab Website: Tonks Research Group

Photo of Don Wall Don WallDirector, 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 WallProfesssor

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 WatsonAssociate 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 YangAssociate 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.

Lab Website: MAterials for Nuclear Advancement and Technology in Extreme Environments (MANATEE) Group


Other Nuclear Engineering Program News

  • UF MSE and NE Graduate Programs Again Rank Among the Best

    04/14/2022

    The UF Department of Materials Science & Engineering (MSE) and Nuclear Engineering Program (NE), housed within the department, are once again ranked among the best graduate school programs at public universities in the U.S. 
     According to the 2023 U.S. News & World Report Best Graduate Schools Ranking, the MSE graduate program rose one spot to No. ...

    READ MORE

  • UF Nuclear Engineering Program Secures Nearly $1.8 million in NEUP Awards

    03/14/2022

    The Department of Materials Science & Engineering’s Nuclear Engineering (NE) Program received three separate awards totaling approximately $1.8 million from the Nuclear Energy University Program (NEUP), part of the U.S. Department of Energy. NEUP awards fund research and development, scholarships, infrastructure upgrades and integrated research projects at universities and colleges nationwide.
    Yellowjacket Upgrades 
    Michael Tonks, Ph.D., Alumni ...

    READ MORE

  • In Memoriam: Robert Hanrahan, Ph.D. (MSE, 1994)

    03/11/2022

    Robert Joseph Hanrahan, Jr. passed away on March 1st at UF Health Shands Hospital after a difficult four-month battle with an MRSA blood infection. He was 56 years old. Robert is survived by his beloved wife, Margie Foster; his mother, Mary Ellen Hanrahan; his sisters, Sheila Hanrahan Gibson (husband, Tom) and Pegeen Hanrahan (husband, Tony ...

    READ MORE

  • UF Alumnus Matthew Marzano Selected for ANS Congressional Fellowship

    10/26/2021

    The American Nuclear Society (ANS) has selected UF alumnus Matthew Marzano, M.S. ‘11, nuclear engineering, to serve as the 2022 Glenn T. Seaborg Congressional Science and Engineering Fellow. Marzano is a senior reactor operator at Exelon Generation’s Braidwood nuclear power plant in Braidwood, Ill. 
    Established in 2000, the Glenn T. Seaborg Congressional Science and Engineering Fellowship, also known as the ANS Congressional Fellowship, ...

    READ MORE

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

    08/16/2021

    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. ...

    READ MORE

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

    07/07/2021

     
    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 ...

    READ MORE

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

    04/27/2021

    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 ...

    READ MORE

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

    02/05/2021

    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, ...

    READ MORE

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

    02/04/2021

    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 ...

    READ MORE

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

    11/25/2020

    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, ...

    READ MORE