Jason Nattress finds his calling on a nuclear submarine

06 November 2019

Jason Nattress, an Alvin M. Weinberg Fellow at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, found his calling on a nuclear submarine. 

After signing up for the U.S. Navy, Nattress found himself on the U.S.S. Alaska serving as a nuclear operator. Nattress supervised the vessel’s nuclear plant operations, operated the steam and electrical plants and worked on propulsion plant electrical equipment.

After spending eight years in the Navy, Nattress says he became interested in nuclear detector technologies while he was at RPI, an interest reflected in the research he is doing as an ORNL distinguished staff fellow.

Nattress’ doctoral research provided a process map for determining whether an unknown material is benign or a nuclear weapon. He demonstrated that using neutron and photon transmission radiography in combination achieves higher sensitivity to changes in elemental compositions across the periodic table compared with using the two methods individually.

Nattress’ research interests include detection techniques for nuclear security and nonproliferation, specifically detection of nuclear materials in transit; development of novel neutron detectors; and neutron and photon spectroscopy.

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