Finding Concrete Evidence in Career Contributions

Marcia Burkey, Chief Financial Officer

When we say that something is “concrete,” it implies durability and strength. Just as though it were made from concrete. Concrete is produced when compounds from cement, a mixture of limestone, clay, shale, sand and iron ore, react with water and are put through a curing process. The hardened result serves as a foundation that can last for years. Because industries rely on it as a building block, concrete standards have been developed by diverse voluntary committees of manufacturers and installers, inspectors, regulators, insurers and end users. This approach gives end users confidence that materials and construction deliver consistent and comparable results.

The nuclear industry adheres to the strictest of regulations, consensus standards and best practices for all its component parts. Concrete in nuclear reactors and facilities is no exception. That’s why we’re so excited to see our system lead for containment and nuclear island concrete structures, Dr. Shen Wang, get recognition in this specialized discipline.

Shen has recently been selected to become a voting member of the ACI 349 Committee. This is a voluntary committee of experts who oversee the building code for concrete nuclear structures published by the American Concrete Institute (ACI), which is also endorsed by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). Codes contribute to conformity assessment systems that guide constructors and promote the integrity of the structures they build.

Shen, a voting member of ASME BPV III Div. 2 / ACI 359 Code Committee since 2015, now becomes one of seven contributors who have voting privilege on both codes covering the design and construction of all nuclear safety-related concrete structures in the United States. Together, the committee operates on the principles of openness and transparency, balancing the interests across different stakeholders, to share lessons learned and incorporate technology advancements into the consensus standards. Diverse national and international organizations have been facilitating the development of this type of guidance for more than a century.

Since we take technology and innovation seriously at TerraPower, we think it is essential for our experts to share their time and specialization to help advance the diverse fields our team represents. We have put together many talents with the aim of building sound technologies that will help improve global quality of life. Shen certainly exemplifies these values in his contributions to the field of concrete.

Receiving his BS, MS and Ph.D. in Civil Engineering, Shen began his career focusing on cohesive fracturing of quasi-brittle material. This study area examines the response of brittle materials, and the materials toughness, in response to adverse conditions. His studies included fascinating in-situ field tests in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica.

From there, Shen applied his education, obtaining an impressive background in nuclear design and structural safety, which he has brought to TerraPower. Shen has helped us continue our course towards commercializing advanced reactor technologies, while ensuring safe construction and operation.

The committees supported by organizations like the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the American Concrete Institute allow companies to build critical infrastructure in a consistently dependable and responsible manner.

It is a testament to an engineer’s skill to be chosen by the leadership teams to sit on not one, but both, of these oversight committees. Shen’s industry leadership underscores the value that he brings to TerraPower’s team and we congratulate him on this wonderful accomplishment.