Carlson, Tsoulfanidis are NPRE’s Distinguished Alumni for 2009


Nitin Lakshman Rao

Carlson, Tsoulfanidis are NPRE’s Distinguished Alumni for 2009

NPRE alumni David D. Carlson (MS 1976) and Nicholas Tsoulfanidis (MS 1965, PhD 1968) were honored with the 2009 NPRE Distinguished Alumni Award.


(l to r) Nicholas Tsoulfanidis, NPRE Head Jim Stubbins, and David Carlson.
(l to r) Nicholas Tsoulfanidis, NPRE Head Jim Stubbins, and David Carlson.
Cited "for his leadership in advancing nuclear power reactor risk management to benefit our nation's nuclear deterrent, and for his loyal support of NPRE," Carlson also earned a master's degree from Illinois in astronomy in 1974. He directs the Nuclear Weapons Special Projects Division at Sandia National Laboratory, and recently led the development of laboratory strategy for assuring the security of the nuclear weapons stockpile.


Carlson also has served as the Chief Operating Officer of the Nuclear Weapons Strategic Management Unit, leading the management of the $1 billion nuclear weapons program at Sandia.

Carlson began his career at Sandia in 1976. In 1979, he was principal investigator for the US Senate investigation of Three Mile Island. He led the investigation into the causes of the accident and the Senate's inquiry into plans to improve the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’ s emergency response capabilities.

In 1990, Carlson led an effort to explore the application of probabilistic safety methods to weapons safety. Later, he led Sandia's efforts toward improving its safety culture after the Columbia accident, and led development of integrated surety solutions for current and future nuclear weapon designs.

Tsoulfanidis, editor of Nuclear Technology, and professor emeritus and adjunct professor of the University of Missouri-Rolla and the University of Nevada-Reno, respectively, was cited "for his contributions to nuclear engineering knowledge through his teaching, books and editorship, and for his leadership in the American Nuclear Society."

Tsoulfanidis joined the University of Missouri-Rolla's nuclear engineering faculty in 1968. He served there until 2004 as a faculty member, department chair, Academic Affairs Interim Vice Chancellor, and Associate Dean of the School of Mines and Metallurgy for Graduate Studies and Research.

In addition to teaching and administration, he conducted research on radiation transport, radiation protection/health physics, and the Nuclear Fuel Cycle. He has written numerous technical papers and has written and co-written two books, Measurement and Detection of Radiation and The Nuclear Fuel Cycle: Analysis and Management. Since June 1997, Tsoulfanidis has served as the editor of Nuclear Technology, the American Nuclear Society's international technical journal. He is an ANS Fellow.

For two years Tsoulfanidis served as Interim Chair of the Chemical & Metallurgical Engineering Department at the University of Nevada –Reno. He is now an adjunct professor at UNR. Tsoulfanidis has received many awards, including the American Society for Engineering Education's Glenn Murphy Award (1995).

Carlson and Tsoulfanidis received their awards at NPRE's 2009 Honors Banquet, held April 30. The two alumni also presented the evening's talks: Carlson, spoke about "Nuclear Safety: Perspectives on Design and Management," and Tsoulfanidis presented, "A Retired Professor…Reflechit."

Writer: Susan Mumm editor/alumni affairs coordinator, Department of Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering, 217/244-5382 (campus office), 217/821-6866 (cell) 217/347-2166 (home office).