Alumna Named International Nuclear Safety Attaché

The United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has appointed Clark School alumna Cynthia C. Jones (M.S. ’96 and Ph.D. ’01, nuclear engineering) as its new Nuclear Safety Attaché at the U.S. Mission to International Organizations in Vienna, Austria. Jones will serve as the Mission's expert on nuclear safety issues and programs, and provide programmatic and policy oversight of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) safety program on behalf of the United States. She will formally assume the post in September 2012.

Jones, who currently serves as the Senior Level Advisor for Nuclear Security in NRC’s Office of Nuclear Security and Incident Response, has extensive international experience in radiation safety and nuclear security. She also serves as the U.S. National Officer and Advisory Committee member for the IAEA’s International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES). In 2011, she was elected as one of 100 scientific experts worldwide to serve as a Council Member to the U.S. National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements. Prior to joining the NRC, she held positions at government institutions and universities in the areas of nuclear engineering, radiation protection and environmental sciences.

"I'm very proud of Cynthia's achievement," says Department of Materials Science and Engineering professor and nuclear reactor director Mohamad Al-Sheikhly. He was Jones' advisor during her time at Maryland, and she was his first Ph.D. student. Her dissertation research, he says, has had long-reaching, positive effects on both human health and the environment.

"Using electron beam radiation, she was the first person able to remediate PCB from the oil used in transformers and capacitors in electric power stations," he explains, referring to polychlorinated biphenyl, an industrial dielectric fluid that was discovered to be highly toxic and difficult to safely dispose of. "She not only converted the PCB into a less toxic material, but also made the oil reusable. Her approach was magnificent."

Story adapted from the NRC press release (PDF).

Published June 29, 2012