Savannah River National Laboratory and Clemson University appoint joint faculty member for environmental remediation

May 16, 2018

Dr. Brian Powell, Fjeld Professor of Nuclear Environmental Engineering and Science, joins Savannah River National Lab to conduct research in environmental remediation and disposal of legacy nuclear waste 

AIKEN, S.C. (May 16, 2018) – Savannah River National Laboratory and Clemson University have appointed Dr. Brian Powell to a joint faculty position to advance research on environmental remediation and radioactive waste disposal. In this position, Dr. Powell will use geochemical modeling as well as laboratory and field experiments to predict how radionuclides will behave in natural and engineered environments and build tools for remediation and waste disposal. 

“We are pleased to welcome Dr. Powell to Savannah River National Laboratory as a recognized expert in computer modeling for environmental remediation,” said Dr. Vahid Majidi, Savannah River National Lab director. “Not only does Dr. Powell’s joint appointment strengthen our partnership with Clemson, it gives us an opportunity to expand the impact of our research using the latest concepts in modeling.” 

This joint faculty appointment between Clemson and Savannah River National Laboratory also sets the stage for increased collaboration and opens the door to unique educational opportunities for students. 

“This is an important milestone for Clemson,” said Dr. Tanju Karanfil,vice president for research at Clemson University. “This collaboration will not only advance important environmental research, it will provide vital real-world experience for students who will lead this important industry into the future.” 

The benefits of this joint appointment extend beyond the two organizations, said Dr. Jeff Griffin, the lab’s associate director for Environmental Stewardship. “Our collaboration with Dr. Powell promises to deliver real benefits to our nation. Through his knowledge of environmental issues and his expertise in computer modeling we hope to accelerate the cleanup of our nation’s legacy nuclear waste while significantly reducing costs.” 

Dr. Powell holds the Fjeld Professorship in Nuclear Environmental Engineering and Science at Clemson University, with dual appointments in the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences and the College of Science. 

His research focuses on understanding and predicting the physical, chemical, and biological processes that govern the mobility of radionuclides in natural and engineered systems. This work is important to evaluate risk posed by subsurface contamination, to design remediation strategies for contaminated sites, and to facilitate the use of safe disposal practices. 

Dr. Powell has a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Montevallo, and M.S. and Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering and Science from Clemson University. Dr. Powell is the winner of the 2014 South Carolina Governor’s Young Researcher Award for Excellence in Scientific Research and a 2013 Department of Energy Early Career Research Program Award. He also serves on the Radiation Safety Committee of the USEPA Scientific Advisory Board and is a member of the National Council on Radiation Protection, Program Activity Committee 5: Environmental Radiation and Radioactive Waste Issues. 

Dr. Anand Gramopadhye, dean of the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences, said Dr. Powell’s appointment will be mutually beneficial to both institutions. “This joint appointment will enable Savannah River National Lab engineers and scientists and Brian to work closely on pressing scientific issues. It presents both organizations with the opportunity to work closely in the future,” he said. 

“Dr. Powell continues to lead critical partnerships that advance discovery on very important scientific and societal challenges,” said Dr. Cynthia Young, dean of the College of Science. “His appointment at Savannah River National Laboratory will allow him to harness our collective talents and strengthen our collaboration as we cast our vision forward.” 

About Savannah River National Laboratory  

Savannah River National Laboratory is a multi-program national laboratory for the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Environmental Management. Savannah River National Laboratory puts science to work providing practical, cost-effective solutions for the nation’s environmental, nuclear security, energy and manufacturing challenges.

About Clemson University  

Ranked No. 23 among national public universities, Clemson University is a major, land-grant, scienceand engineering-oriented research university that maintains a strong commitment to teaching, student success, research and outreach. Recognized among the nation’s most active doctoral research universities by Carnegie, Clemson boasts research facilities across the state and, according to a recent study, has an annual $1.9 billion economic impact on South Carolina. 

Dr. Brian Powell has been appointed to a joint faculty position serving Savannah River National Laboratory and Clemson University. In this role, Dr. Powell will use geochemical modeling as well as laboratory and field experiments to predict how radionuclides will behave in natural and engineered environments and build tools for remediation and waste disposal. 


Media contact: SRNL Media Relations