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Dr. Nathan Capps, Nuclear Engineering, Best Researcher Award

Doctorate at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, United States


Dr. Nathan A. Capps, a staff scientist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), specializes in nuclear fuel development, qualification, and licensing. His research integrates advanced modeling and simulation tools with experimental testing to expedite fuel development. Dr. Capps collaborates with industry, reactor owners, and national laboratories to enhance light water reactor performance through accident-tolerant fuel. He also serves as a consultant to the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (US NRC) and leads nuclear fuel vendor qualification plans.

Professional Profile:

Education & Qualification:

Ph.D., Nuclear Engineering, University of Tennessee, Knoxville (2016)

M.S., Nuclear Engineering, University of Tennessee, Knoxville (2013)

B.S., Mechanical Engineering, University of Tennessee, Knoxville (2012)

Professional Experience:

Dr. Nathan A. Capps has accumulated a rich and diverse professional experience, showcasing his expertise in the field of nuclear engineering and fuel cycle research. Currently serving as R&D Staff at Oak Ridge National Laboratory since January 2022, he holds a pivotal role in leading DOE programs related to licensing accident-tolerant and high burnup fuel. His responsibilities extend to developing a comprehensive framework for accelerated fuel development and qualification, incorporating advanced techniques such as modeling, simulation, and experimentation.

In his prior role as R&D Associate at Oak Ridge National Laboratory from October 2019 to December 2022, Dr. Capps made significant contributions by spearheading the development of the burnup extension strategy for the Department of Energy’s Accident Tolerant Fuels Campaign.

Before joining Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Dr. Capps served as a Technical Leader at the Electric Power Research Institute from May 2018 to October 2019. In this capacity, he played a crucial role in developing safety and economic benefits cases, as well as conducting technical gap analyses for accident-tolerant fuel.

As a Senior Engineer at Structural Integrity Associates from May 2016 to May 2018, Dr. Capps performed licensing fuel performance analysis, making notable contributions to the NRC Phenomenon Identification Ranking Table (PIRT) on chromium-coated cladding.

Dr. Capps initiated his professional journey as a Graduate Research Assistant at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, from May 2012 to May 2016, where he focused on the development and application of 3-D fuel performance modeling. His earlier experience as an Undergraduate Research Assistant from May 2011 to May 2012 laid the foundation for his subsequent accomplishments.

Throughout his career, Dr. Capps has demonstrated a commitment to advancing nuclear engineering and fuel cycle research, contributing to critical aspects of fuel performance, safety, and licensing.

Research Areas:

Dr. Nathan A. Capps has made significant contributions to various research areas within the field of nuclear engineering and fuel cycle. 

  • Advanced Fuel Development
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Accident-Tolerant Fuel
  • Fuel Performance Analysis
  • Strategic Industry Engagements
  • Academic Research
  • Programmatic Leadership
  • Publication and Citations

Publication Top Noted:

A critical review of high burnup fuel fragmentation, relocation, and dispersal under loss-of-coolant accident conditions

  • Authors: N Capps, C Jensen, F Cappia, J Harp, K Terrani, N Woolstenhulme, …
  • Journal: Journal of Nuclear Materials
  • Volume: 546
  • Page: 152750
  • Year: 2021
  • Citations: 43

Accelerating nuclear fuel development and qualification: Modeling and simulation integrated with separate-effects testing

  • Authors: KA Terrani, NA Capps, MJ Kerr, CA Back, AT Nelson, BD Wirth, SL Hayes, …
  • Journal: Journal of Nuclear Materials
  • Volume: 539
  • Page: 152267
  • Year: 2020
  • Citations: 34

Integral LOCA fragmentation test on high-burnup fuel

  • Authors: N Capps, Y Yan, A Raftery, Z Burns, T Smith, K Terrani, K Yueh, M Bales, …
  • Journal: Nuclear Engineering and Design
  • Volume: 367
  • Page: 110811
  • Year: 2020
  • Citations: 33

Full core LOCA safety analysis for a PWR containing high burnup fuel

  • Authors: N Capps, A Wysocki, A Godfrey, B Collins, R Sweet, N Brown, S Lee, …
  • Journal: Nuclear Engineering and Design
  • Volume: 379
  • Page: 111194
  • Year: 2021
  • Citations: 32

Multi-dimensional simulation of LWR fuel behavior in the BISON fuel performance code

  • Authors: RL Williamson, NA Capps, W Liu, YR Rashid, BD Wirth
  • Journal: Jom
  • Volume: 68
  • Pages: 2930-2937
  • Year: 2016
  • Citations: 26



Nathan Capps | Nuclear Engineering | Best Researcher Award

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