Basar Ozar is a principal nuclear engineer who focuses on research and test reactors as part of Argonne’s Nuclear Science and Engineering division. He works on the Reactor Conversion Program, which ensures existing and future research and test reactors will be used only for peaceful purposes.
Ozar’s interest in nuclear reactors began early. As a high schooler, he toured the TR-2 research reactor in Turkey and wrote a paper about it. However, it wasn’t until he was pursuing his Ph.D. that he narrowed his interest to multiphase fluid mechanics and heat transfer, which are integral to changing research reactors that use high-enriched uranium into redesigned reactors that use low-enriched uranium. Low-enriched uranium is a key to the peaceful use of reactors.
“My goal is to promote nuclear safety, and more peaceful designs for nuclear energy,” said Ozar.
There are approximately 400 research reactors worldwide. Primarily, they serve needs such as education and production of medical isotopes or materials for the semiconductor industry. Although they were established with peaceful intentions, worldwide organizations realized that the type of uranium used in research reactors could be misappropriated. As a result, in 1978, the U.S. government initiated a program to convert reactors to low-enriched uranium. Argonne has led the engineering design, development and testing needed for the program.
“We care about public safety and want to make sure new reactor designs are safe for the public,” explained Ozar. “This is important regardless of whether reactors are used for research or electrical energy production.”
This work is funded by the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA’s) Office of Material Management and Minimization (M3) program.
Argonne National Laboratory seeks solutions to pressing national problems in science and technology. The nation’s first national laboratory, Argonne conducts leading-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific discipline. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance America’s scientific leadership and prepare the nation for a better future. With employees from more than 60 nations, Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit https://energy.gov/science.