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Tai T. Pham, Phd Disseration Defense
In-Hwan Yang, Phd Disseration Defense
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The University of New Mexico
Institute for Space & Nuclear Power Studies

Farris Engineering Center
Room 239, MSC01-1120
Albuquerque, NM 87131

Phone: 505.277.0446
Fax: 505.277.2814

Online: Contact Form

Welcome to the Institute for Space and Nuclear Power Studies

Welcome to the Institute for Space and Nuclear Power Studies (ISNPS). ISNPS was founded in 1984 as a research and development organization within UNM's School of Engineering with a focus on space power and propulsion technologies and related fields. ISNPS offers educational and professional training and conducts research in many fields of space nuclear power and space systems technology in cooperation with UNM's Department of Chemical and Nuclear Engineering.

Recent News

Founding Director

Dr. El-Genk

Regents' Professor Mohamed El-Genk, Regents' Professor of Chemical, Nuclear and Mechanical Engineering and the Founding Director of the Institute for Space and Nuclear Power Studies has been named the recipient of the 2010 Donald Q. Kern Memorial Award by the Transport and Energy Process Division of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. This award given in honor of Donald Q. Kern, a pioneer in process heat transfer, is one of the most prestigious in the world in recognizing significant contributions to the fields of applied heat transfer or energy conversion or in the translation of research results into useful technological applications. Dr. El-Genk joined the recognized leaders in the field of heat transfer who received this award since 1974.

Dr. El-Genk is a fellow of the American Nuclear Society, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and the International Association for the Advancement of Space Safety, and an associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He is a member of the Assembly of the International Heat Transfer Conference (IHTC), the Organizing, Steering and U.S. Scientific committees of the 2010 14th IHTC, and the Scientific Committee of the International Center for Heat and Mass Transfer.

Two Nuclear Engineering Senior Design Teams Receive National Awards at American Nuclear Society National Student Conference

Every spring, the seniors of the Nuclear Engineering Department at the University of New Mexico are divided into groups to work on a senior capstone design project, under the guidance of Regentsí Professor Mohamed El-Genk. The students in the senior design class are encouraged to submit papers based on their design projects for presentation at the American Nuclear Society Annual Student Conference. This year, the conference was held at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, 30 March - 2 April, 2016. At the conference, UNM was represented by five design teams, constituting the entire NE senior class.

The five UNM senior designs presented at the conference are of Americian-241 Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (RTG) for future space exploration, a research nuclear reactor for the production of Molybnium-99 medical isotope, a small modular, liquid sodium cooled nuclear reactor for electricity generation and process heat to remote communities, a small nuclear reactor system for maritime electrical power and propulsion, and a nuclear reactor power system for a submersible research vessel. All five projects were accepted for presentations by the conference committee, four were selected for technical podium presentations, and one for a poster presentation.

Two of the UNM design teams received best presentation awards in their technical tracks. The members of the first team, Arnika Chidambaram, Joey Elmblad, James Pike, and Ryan Sharp are developing a Low Enriched High-Flux nuclear Reactor for the production Molybdenum-99 medical isotope. Chidambaram and Pike represented their team at the conference and received the best presentation award in the Isotopes and Radiation Technical track. The members of the second ranked UNM team, Zackary Dodson, Cole Mueller, and Brittany Umbrage are developing an 241Am2O3 Coated Particle, 100 We RTG for Long-Life Planetary and Space Missions. Dodson and Umbrage represented their design team at the conference and received the best presentation awards in the Aerospace Nuclear Science and Technology Technical track. In addition, Dodson and Umbrage received an invitation and offered stipend to attend and present their team design at the Innovations in Nuclear Space Conference, to be held February 2017, in Orlando, FL.

[PDF of Press Release]

ISNPS Research Displayed at Supercomputing 2015 Conference

Recent research performed by ISNPS with the assistance of the high performance computers at the University of New Mexico's Center for Advanced Research Computing (CARC) was displayed by UNM CARC at the International Supercomputing 2015 conference. The highlighted research included involved projects on Molecular Dynamics Simulations of Force Fields for Modeling Crystalline SiO2 and Convection Heat Transfer of NaK-78 Liquid Metal in a Circular Tube and a Tri-lobe Channel. Copies of the research flyers are available below.

[Download Here].

[Download Here].

News Break- El-Genk is the Recipient of a National Technical Achievement Award

Mohamed S. El-Genk, Regents' Professor of Nuclear, Mechanical, and Chemical and Biological Engineering and the Founding Director of the Institute for Space and Nuclear Power Studies at UNM, is named the recipient of the American Nuclear Society thermal-hydraulics Technical Achievement Award for 2015. The award is "in recognition of his exceptional contributions to the understanding of terrestrial and space reactor thermal hydraulics phenomena and for his impact on the thermal hydraulics community as a researcher, educator, and leader." The award will be presented on Tuesday November 10, following the award lecture to be delivered by El-Genk entitled "Journey with Thermal-Hydraulics: Challenges, Contributions and Rewards," at the American Nuclear Society Annual Winter Meeting to be in Washington DC, 8-12, 2015. El-Genk is a nationally and international recognized expert and scholar with many seminal contributions to the technologies of space nuclear power and terrestrial nuclear reactors. He is a Fellow of the American Nuclear Society (ANS), American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), and the International Association for the Advancement of Space Safety (IAASS) and an Associate Fellow of the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). He is the recipient of many prestigious awards and recognitions, including the AIChE 2009/2010 Donald Q. Kern memorial award, for recognizing significant contributions in areas of applied heat and mass transfer, and the Heat Transfer and Energy Conversion Division Award. These are in addition to the Distinguished Faculty Member Honor, Alpha Nu Sigma Honor Society for Nuclear Science & Engineering of ANS, and the United States Department of Energy Certificate of Appreciation, for outstanding contributions to Space Nuclear Power and Propulsion. At UNM, El-Genk was named the UNM 46th Annual Research Lecturer, the recipient the Presidential UNM Lectureship Award, the Faculty Recognition Award, for having the greatest impact on graduating seniors in Nuclear Engineering, the School of Engineering's Research and Teaching Excellence Awards, the Graduate Students' Outstanding Teacher Award in Nuclear Engineering, and was named Regents' Professor. El-Genk is an Associate Editor of ASME Journal of Thermal Science and Engineering Applications, Editor of International Journal on Process Systems Engineering-Energy Systems Processes and member of editorial boards of ISRN Chemical Engineering, J. Nuclear Energy Science & Power Generation Technology and J. Frontiers in Heat Pipes Science and Technology. He is also a member of the Scientific Committee of the International Center of Heat and Mass Transfer and a US Delegate to the Assembly of the International Heat Transfer Conference.

News - New Mexico Governor Unveils New State Energy Plan that Includes Interest in Small Modular Reactors

Governor Susana Martinez has unveiled a new energy policy and implementation plan for the State of New Mexico calling for a broad approach embracing different energy sources including clean solar, wind, and nuclear energy. The plan, entitled "Seizing our Energy Potential: Creating a More Diverse Energy Economy in New Mexico" recommends developing a Small Modular Reactor (SMR) taskforce to support a pre-feasibility study for constructing an SMR prototype in New Mexico. For more details visit NM Energy, Mineral and Natural Resources Development . To learn more about ISNPS's research on SMRs visit Small Modular Reactors.

Ph.D. Dissertation Defense - Timothy M. Schriener

On 5 May 2015, Mr. Timothy M. Schriener successfully defended his Ph.D. Dissertation, "Multi-Physics Design and Analyses of Long Life Reactors for Lunar Outposts," and fulfilled all the requirements for the Ph.D. degree in Nuclear Engineering at the University of New Mexico. Timothy's Dissertation Committee Chair and Faculty Advisor is Dr. Mohamed S. El-Genk, Regents' Professor of Chemical and Biological, Nuclear, and Mechanical Engineering and Director of the Institute for Space and Nuclear Power Studies. Other members of the Dissertation Committee are Dr. Cassiano de Oliveira, Professor of Nuclear Engineering, Dr. Gary Cooper, Assistant Professor of Nuclear Engineering, Dr. Chris Hall, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, and Dr. Salvador Rodriguez of Sandia National Laboratory. The dissertation research investigates two lunar surface power reactor concepts using a multi-physics design and analyses methodology which couples detailed Monet Carlo neutronics simulations with 3-D Computational Fluid Mechanics (CFD) and thermal-hydraulics analyses. The research investigated examples of both a solid core reactor that would be fueled at launch, the Sectored Compact Reactor (SCoRe), and well as a concept which would be loaded with fuel on the Moon, the Pellet Bed Reactor (PeBR). Results showed that the final SCoRe concept could achieve a long operational life of 21 full power years, and that the sectored core allows the reactor to continue safe operation in the event one of the core sectors experiences a loss of coolant. Neutronics analyses show that the PeBR can achieve a operational life of 66 fuel power years by fueling the reactor core on the Moon. A fuel loading simulation demonstrates that the reactor can be successfully fueled in lunar gravity. In addition, post-operation storage analyses of the SCoRe and PeBR concepts show that the radioactivity in the fuel decays away to a sufficiently low level to allow for recovery within 300 years. This research is partially funded by United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission Graduate Research Fellowship Grant#NRC-38-09-931-MOI to the University of New Mexico and the Institute for Space and Nuclear Power Studies. For more details and related publications, visit Space Nuclear Power and Propulsion Systems and Planetary Surface Power Systems.

Research Team

The ISNPS Group

The ISNPS group picture taken in February of 2012 outside of Farris Engineering. We currently consist of several graduate students and two faculty members. To view each person individually, you may view the faculty and student indices.