Rensselaer Nuclear Safety Expert Briefs Congressional Staffers
Nuclear safety expert Peter Caracappa, campus radiation officer at Rensselaer, recently visited Capitol Hill to brief congressional staffers on radiation and radioactivity.
Caracappa’s briefing, sponsored by the American Nuclear Society (ANS), is part of the ANS Nuclear Science and Technology Fundamentals Program. The program seeks to provide congressional staff a basic overview of nuclear science and technology and its applications in energy, medicine, and industry.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to share information with staff members from the House and Senate,” said Caracappa, who is also a lecturer in the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Nuclear Engineering. “It is important for all of us to appreciate the role nuclear science and technology plays in energy, health care, and many aspects of our lives. But it is equally important that we also understand the risks and safety considerations associated with using this technology.”
In June 2011, Caracappa was recognized with a special presidential citation from the ANS for his contributions to the media response to last year’s earthquake, tsunami, and subsequent nuclear crisis in Fukushima, Japan.
As the crisis unfolded in the days and weeks following the March 2011 earthquake, Caracappa made many contributions to the media response. He was quoted as an expert in stories by the Associated Press, Thomson Reuters, Wall Street Journal, NPR Morning Edition, PBS News Hour, Scientific American, Popular Mechanics, and many other news media outlets.
The nuclear engineering program at Rensselaer is among the oldest in the nation, dating back to the late 1950s when the university received a grant to construct an electron accelerator. The university bestowed its first nuclear engineering doctoral degrees in 1962, and its first nuclear engineering bachelor’s degrees in 1967.
Today, Rensselaer consistently ranks among the top nuclear engineering programs, and for several years graduated more nuclear engineering undergraduates than any other university in the United States. Currently, about 150 undergraduate and graduate students are enrolled in the program.
For more information on nuclear engineering at Rensselaer, go to www.rpi.edu/dept/ne/public_html/Welcome.html.