Princeton Plasma Physics Lab's Perry and Strykowsky receive Kaul Prize

December 17, 2002

Plainsboro, New Jersey - In recognition of their contributions to the successful dismantling of the Tokamak Fusion Test Reactor (TFTR), Erik Perry and Ronald Strykowsky, engineers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), have received the Kaul Prize for Excellence in Plasma Physics Research and Technology Development. Perry and Strykowsky were honored during a ceremony and reception at the Laboratory Friday, December 6.

The award recognizes the two for "managing the Tokamak Fusion Test Reactor Decommissioning and Decontamination (D&D) Project, which was completed on schedule and under budget, as well as demonstrating that a large and complex fusion facility can be safety dismantled without significant radiological exposure to workers or harm to the environment."

PPPL Director Rob Goldston said, "Erik Perry and Ron Strykowsky have done an outstanding job leading a first-rate team. Their success story is a tribute to their skill as technical managers, and speaks volumes to the possibilities for fusion as a clean and safe energy source."

The three-year, $40.3 million TFTR D&D project was completed in September for $3.6 million under budget. TFTR, one of the world's largest and most successful experimental fusion machines, stood 24 feet tall with a diameter of 38 feet. TFTR's use of a fuel mixture containing tritium, a mildly radioactive form of hydrogen, added to the challenge of its safe and environmentally sound removal. PPPL's engineering team developed an innovative system - Diamond Wire Cutting used in conjunction with a concrete filling technique - to disassemble the 100-cubic yard vacuum vessel. This technology reduced worker radiation exposure, airborne emissions, and waste generation.

Perry, who was the project manager for the TFTR D&D Project, is the Construction Branch Head at PPPL. He received a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Cornell University in 1974, a master's degree in aerospace structures from the University of Michigan in 1975, and a certificate in management from Mercer County Community College in 1982. After working at Lockheed Missiles and Space Company, he joined the staff at PPPL. He has more than 25 years' experience in the design, fabrication, installation, and testing of large, one-of-a-kind, high-technology devices. This experience includes analytical and hands-on work, as well as management from the design through installation phases of a project. Perry is a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and of the American Nuclear Society, and a former member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He has been listed in the American Men and Women of Science, Jane's Who's Who in Aviation and Aerospace, Who's Who in the East, Who's Who in Frontier Science and Technology, and Who's Who in Technology Today. Perry lives in West Windsor Township.

Strykowsky is a project controls manager at PPPL, with responsibilities with the National Compact Stellarator Experiment project, the Engineering Department, and Business Operations. He received a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from Penn State University in 1973 and a professional engineering license in 1979.

Prior to joining PPPL, he worked in industry supporting the design and construction of nuclear power plants in the area of cost and schedule control. He came to PPPL in December of 1982, two weeks before TFTR's first plasma was produced, and he has supported the implementation of project control systems on many PPPL projects. Strykowsky is a resident of Mount Laurel.

Princeton University awards the Kaul Prize to recognize a recent outstanding technical achievement in plasma physics or technology development by a full-time, regular employee of PPPL. It includes a cash award of $2,000 for each individual. Nominations for the award are submitted to the Prize Selection Committee, which includes the Princeton University Provost, the Chair of the Princeton University Research Board, the PPPL Director, PPPL Deputy Director, and PPPL Chief Scientist. This is the sixth time the prize has been given.
-end-
PPPL, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and managed by Princeton University, is a collaborative national center for science and innovation leading to an attractive fusion energy source. Fusion is the process that powers the sun and the stars. In the interior of stars, matter is converted into energy by the fusion, or joining, of the nuclei of light atoms to form heavier elements. At PPPL, physicists use a magnetic field to confine plasma for research on fusion. Scientists hope eventually to use the energy produced by fusion for the production of electricity.

DOE/Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

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