ORNL’s Steven Arndt to serve as American Nuclear Society president

Steven Arndt, distinguished R&D staff member in the Nuclear Energy and Fuel Cycle Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, began a one-year term on June 16 as the 68th President of the American Nuclear Society.

ANS is the largest organization dedicated to the study of nuclear sciences in the world, with more than 10,000 members throughout 50 plus countries. The society unites those studying nuclear sciences and technologies from the vantage point of improving people’s lives and preserving the planet.

“ANS is an important organization for the nation and the nuclear community, and we’re pleased to see Steven take the reins and help shape the next year for ANS,” said ORNL Director Thomas Zacharia. “Steven’s passion for nuclear science and engineering is evident in his four decades of experience, and I know he will take full advantage of this opportunity to advocate for the future of nuclear.”

Arndt joined ORNL as a distinguished scientist in 2021 and has taught as an adjunct professor in the University of Tennessee, Knoxville Department of Nuclear Engineering since 2016.

Prior to ORNL, Arndt spent over 30 years with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, most recently as a senior technical advisor in the Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation. He has dedicated his career to advancing both the efficiency and safety of nuclear technology around the world, including in the Soviet Union during the aftermath of the Chernobyl nuclear accident.

In 2020, the National Society of Professional Engineers awarded Arndt with its NSPE Award, the highest award given to a professional engineer. He holds a bachelor’s degree in engineering physics from The Ohio State University, master’s and doctorate degrees in nuclear engineering from OSU and a master’s in reliability engineering from the University of Maryland.

An ANS fellow and a member of the organization for 41 years, Arndt is the third ORNL staff member to serve as ANS president: Lab Director Alvin Weinberg was ANS president from 1959 to 1960, and Melvin Feldman was president from 1975 to 1976. Joseph Dietrich, who served as ANS president from 1977 to 1978, also worked at ORNL several decades before his presidency.

“Oak Ridge has been extremely supportive of my efforts to provide leadership in this area,” Arndt said. “It gives me access to some of the brightest minds out there. It allows me to understand what the community really needs and desires in a professional society. It allows me to work with a lot of colleagues cross-disciplinary and across the different aspects of nuclear technology.”

In his years as an ANS member, Arndt has held multiple leadership positions and served as vice president / president-elect, over the past year. In that role, he focused on expanding ANS’ external communications, advocacy efforts, professional development and other products.

“I’ve been working with a number of the standing committees and other groups in the society to try and improve our communications, improve our external advocacy for nuclear energy and other applications of nuclear technology and science,” Arndt said.

As ANS president, Arndt plans to prioritize advocacy and education work around nuclear sciences. Education efforts are multi-faceted, with ANS working to educate the public, students and policymakers on the benefits of nuclear technology.

The public’s misconceptions about both the science of nuclear work and perceived dangers are hurdles to discussing nuclear technology, Arndt said. For this reason, he plans to lead proactive advocacy efforts with the public to communicate the benefits of nuclear sciences.

“I think it’s extremely important for people to understand that the technology we’re developing … is a wonderful lever for improving the lives of people,” Arndt said.

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