September 29, 2017

Bao Truong is a nuclear engineer and Supervisor of Reactor Transient and Accident Analysis at TerraPower. Bao Joined TerraPower in 2011 and currently manages a team that works to provide safety analyses on reactor system designs.

On how he came to TerraPower:

I first connected with TerraPower through a couple of MIT alumni that were familiar with the company. Flash-forward a few months, and these relationships developed into a fantastic opportunity to intern with the company. While interning, I studied and learned about TerraPower’s traveling wave reactor (TWR) technology. I then used this experience and knowledge gained, and worked with software to develop a model that evaluated the safety characteristics of the TWR design.

As it came time for my internship to end, I was offered a full-time position to be taken once I finished my PhD. Although back at MIT, my experience with reactor systems did not slow down. I was able to continue my work with these systems while finishing my education, working as a Senior Reactor Operator at the Institute’s Research Reactor. Upon graduating, I joined TerraPower full-time and have now been with the company 6 years!

On his role at TerraPower:

I am currently a Supervisor for Transient & Accident Analysis with the Reactor Safety Group. This means that I lead the development of the analysis and computer codes necessary to complete the safety analysis for the traveling wave reactor. I have developed and run many safety analysis models in support of the work done on the TWR design.

Aside from my primary role, I work to support various other groups within TerraPower such as plant design and quality assurance. I also provide support work on the molten chloride fast reactor (MCFR) project.

On why he pursued a career in the nuclear industry:

My interest in nuclear technology started in my junior year of high school. My chemistry class had the opportunity to visit the MIT Research Reactor. I was amazed with the complexity of the reactor and the experiments that it could perform. This sparked my curiosity in nuclear energy and nuclear technologies.

Upon beginning my undergraduate degree at MIT, I decided to study and explore nuclear energy. I wanted to learn everything I could about nuclear reactor technology. This eventually led me to train to become an operator for the MIT Research Reactor. I think that the nuclear reactor is one of the most complexly engineered systems that there is, and I love getting to work on reactor systems as part of my profession.

On his motivation:

I want to make a difference in people’s lives. I believe that nuclear technology innovation, and the innovation that it inspires, offers benefits that the world greatly needs. Nuclear energy is one of the more viable solutions to help solve our global energy crisis. From clean electricity to food irradiation to medical benefits-nuclear technologies can help change the world.

On the best part of his job:

I truly enjoy the coming together of different system designers to improve and reinforce reactor safety and operation. This exercise in critical problem solving allows for a more thorough understanding of how different systems work, which results in a more effective integrating reactor model.

On his travels throughout his career:

I have lived and worked in many different places throughout my life. I cherish and value the experiences I have gained from time spent working in places like France, Germany and several areas in the United States.

Between travelling, working abroad, and growing up as an immigrant, I have gained an appreciation for different cultures. My experiences have taught me to be patient and listen so that I can understand the needs and motivations of the teams I work with. This allows for better collaboration and efficiency. For any large project, a cooperative and collaborative environment is extremely important.