David E Holcomb

DOE Molten Salt Reactor and Advanced Reactor Instrumentation and Controls Technical Lead

David E. Holcomb has been an Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) research staff member for 24 years. Dr. Holcomb is the Department of Energy (DOE) national technical area lead for molten salt reactors (MSRs) and for instrumentation and controls (I&C) for advanced reactors. Dr. Holcomb’s technical specialties are in MSR reactor design, reactor I&C, and sensors for harsh environments. Dr. Holcomb also currently represents the U.S. on the system steering committee for the Generation IV International Forum on molten salt reactors. Dr. Holcomb is ORNL’s technical lead on the molten chloride fast reactor (MCFR) development effort lead by Southern Nuclear and TerraPower. Dr. Holcomb is the U.S. principal investigator on the cooperative research and development project between ORNL and the Shanghai Institute of Applied Physics (SINAP) on fluoride salt-cooled high-temperature reactors (FHRs). Dr. Holcomb also provides technical oversight of DOE’s university projects on FHRs.Dr. Holcomb holds a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering from The Ohio State University (OSU) (March 1992), an M.S. in nuclear engineering also from OSU (June 1990), and a B.S. degree in engineering science specializing in engineering physics from Colorado State University (May 1987). Dr. Holcomb has also served as an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in the Nuclear Engineering Department since 1995. Dr. Holcomb is a current member of the nuclear engineering program advisory board for OSU. He is also a member of the American Nuclear Society (ANS), where he is a past chair of the Human Factors, Instrumentation, and Controls Division and is the current chair of the working group on developing a design safety standard for liquid fueled MSRs (ANS 20.2). Dr. Holcomb has served as technical chair (or co-chair) at ANS embedded topical meetings and for International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) technical meetings. Dr. Holcomb also is a member of the advisory board for the U.S.-Czech Civilian Nuclear Power Cooperation Center. Dr. Holcomb was a member of the SINAP international external review team for the Chinese Academy of Sciences - leading the thorium molten salt reactor program evaluation. Dr. Holcomb holds eleven patents and previously served as the chair of the ASTM International subcommittee on fundamentals of temperature measurement.Dr. Holcomb is a member of the advanced reactors systems and safety group within the ORNL Reactors and Nuclear Systems Division where his principal area of responsibility is leadership of ORNL’s salt reactor program. Dr. Holcomb has served as an advisor to U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) staff on a broad spectrum of advanced reactor and instrumentation technologies. Particular topic areas studied for the NRC have included: high-temperature gas reactors, highly integrated control rooms, optical fiber communication, environmental qualification, diversity and defense-in-depth, field programmable gate array configuration, and emerging technology evaluations.Dr. Holcomb has in the past served as the ORNL team lead for space reactor instrumentation as part of the Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter program. Dr. Holcomb has served as a reactor physics and instrumentation technical advisor to the DOE gas turbine modular helium reactor project and has in the past been a member of ORNL’s high flux isotope reactor experimental review committee. He also has served as the U.S. national technical lead for instrumentation and controls under the Grid Appropriate Reactors campaign of the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership program. He has previously served as the U.S. principal investigator for a DOE sponsored International Nuclear Energy Research Initiative (I-NERI) project between ORNL, Westinghouse, and the Instituto de Pesquisas Energéticas e Nuclearares in Brazil focused on developing advanced instrumentation and controls for integral primary systems reactors. Dr. Holcomb has served as the U.S. principal investigator on an I-NERI project (focused on developing improved sensing and controls for nuclear power plants) between the U.S. and the Republic of Korea. Dr. Holcomb has also led a DOE sponsored nuclear energy research initiative project to develop a scintillation based neutron flux and temperature probe for use at high temperature reactors.