Jeff Terry is a professor of physics at the Illinois Institute of Technology, where his main research focus is on energy systems. His group works to develop new ways of dealing with radioactive waste; understand radiation damage mechanisms in materials; and synthesize novel materials for energy storage and conversion. He also simulates the economic costs of building new energy systems, including small modular nuclear reactors. Prior to joining the faculty at Illinois Tech, he was a staff scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory. There, he worked on the Stockpile Stewardship and Management Program and the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), and was a member of the team that sent the first waste shipment to WIPP. He is a former scientific director of the Advanced Test Reactor National Scientific User Facility. Terry received his doctorate in chemical physics from Stanford University in 1997 after obtaining a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Chicago in 1990.
The tunnel collapse at Hanford highlights how much routine maintenance the Energy Department defers. Will the nation pay for necessary maintenance; allow nuclear sites to deteriorate for lack of funds; or acquire maintenance funds by shutting down some nuclear sites? Choices must be made.