2006 Michel T. Halbouty Distinguished Lecturer
Rodney C. Ewing
Monday, 23 October 2006, 11 a.m.-noon
Pennsylvania Convention Center, 112 A
Special Lecture Presentation:
The Nuclear Fuel Cycle versus The Carbon Cycle
About Rodney C. Ewing
Rod Ewing is the Donald R. Peacor Collegiate Professor and Chair in the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Michigan. He also has faculty appointments in the Departments of Nuclear Engineering & Radiological Sciences and Materials Science & Engineering and is an Emeritus Regents' Professor at the University of New Mexico where he was a member of the faculty from 1974 to 1997 and Chair of the Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences from 1979 to 1984.
Ewing received a B.S. degree in geology from Texas Christian University (1968, summa cum laude) and M.S. (l972) and Ph.D. (l974, with distinction) degrees from Stanford University where he held an NSF Fellowship. His graduate studies focused on an esoteric group of minerals, metamict Nb-Ta-Ti oxides, that are unusual because they have become amorphous due to radiation damage caused by the presence of radioactive elements. This radiation-induced phase transformation from a crystalline to amorphous state can have significant effects on the properties of materials, such as the decreased durability of radioactive waste forms. Over the past thirty years, the early study of these unusual minerals has blossomed into a broadly based research program on radiation effects in complex ceramic materials. This has led to the development of techniques to predict the long-term behavior of materials, such as those used in radioactive waste disposal. The key to such studies has been the use of natural phases of great age in designing highly durable nuclear waste forms. Present research includes: radiation effects caused by heavy-particle interactions with crystalline materials (e.g., ion-beam modification of ceramics and minerals); properties and long-term behavior of spent nuclear fuel; crystal chemistry of actinide and fission product elements; application of "natural analogues" to the evaluation of the long-term durability of radioactive waste forms; the low-temperature corrosion of silicate glasses; mineralogy and neutronics of the natural nuclear reactors in Gabon, Africa. The research has been supported not only by U.S. funding agencies but also from sources abroad (Sweden, Germany, Australia and Japan, as well as by the European Union and NATO). Ewing is the author or co-author of over 500 research publications and the editor or co-editor of 14 monographs, proceedings volumes or special issues of journals. He has been granted a patent for the development of a highly durable material for the immobilization of excess weapons plutonium. He is a Founding Editor of the magazine, Elements. He has received the Hawley Medal of the Mineralogical Association of Canada in 1997 and 2002, a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2002, and the Dana Medal of the Mineralogical Society of America in 2006.
Ewing is a fellow of the Geological Society of America, the Mineralogical Society of America and the American Association for the Advancement of Science and has served the Materials Research Society as a Councilor (1983-1985; 1987-1989) and Secretary (l985-l986). He has been president of the Mineralogical Society of America (2002), International Union of Materials Research Societies (1997-1998) and the New Mexico Geological Society (1981). He was a member of the Board of Directors of the Caswell Silver Foundation (l980-l984) and Energy, Exploration, Education, Inc. (l979-l984). He has been a guest scientist at Battelle Pacific Northwest Laboratories, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the Hahn-Meitner-Institut in Berlin, the Department of Nuclear Engineering in the Technion University at Haifa, the Centre D'Etudes Nucléaires de Fontenay-Aux-Roses of the Commissariat A L'Énergie Atomique in France, Charles University in Prague, the Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute, the Institut für Nukleare Entsorgungstechnik of the Kernforschungszentrum Karlsruhe, Aarhus University in Denmark, the Mineralogical Institute of Tokyo University and the Khlopin Radium Institute in St. Petersburg, Russia.
The involvement in issues related to nuclear waste disposal has proceeded in parallel with the meetings of the Materials Research Society, where he has been a member of the program committees for the symposium on the "Scientific Basis for Nuclear Waste Management" held in Berlin-82, Boston-84, Stockholm-85, Berlin-88, Strasbourg-91, Kyoto-1994, Boston-1998, Sydney-2000, Ghent-2005 and Sheffield, 2007. He is co-editor of and a contributing author of Radioactive Waste Forms for the Future (North-Holland Physics, Amsterdam, 1988) and Uncertainty Underground – Yucca Mountain and the Nation's High-Level Nuclear Waste (MIT Press, 2006). Professor Ewing has served on National Research Council committees for the National Academy of Sciences that have reviewed the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico (1984 to 1996), the remediation of buried and tank wastes at Hanford, Washington and INEEL, Idaho (1992 to 1995), the INEEL high-level waste alternative treatments (1998-1999), the end points for spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste in Russia and the United States (2002-2003), and the disposition of transuranic and high-level radioactive waste (2004-2005). He has been an invited expert for the Advisory Committee on Nuclear Waste of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, a consultant to the Nuclear Waste Technology Review Board, and is now on the Board of Nuclear and Radiation Studies of the National Research Council. [ www.geo.lsa.umich.edu/relw/ ]