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Faculty experts

Earthquake and tsunami in Japan, nuclear aftermath
(Reporters may contact experts directly)

Topics
Nuclear engineering
Health impact/risk assessment
Seismologists
Structural engineering/building
Geoengineering
Ocean engineering
Politics, trade

NUCLEAR ENGINEERING
Joonhong Ahn
Professor, Department of Nuclear Engineering
Office: (510) 642-5107
Email: ahn@nuc.berkeley.edu
Media Relations contact: Sarah Yang, (510) 643-7741, scyang@berkeley.edu

Expertise: Ahn, who was born and raised in Japan, teaches courses on radioactive waste management, including the safety assessment aspects of high-level radioactive waste disposal into deep geologic formations. He taught at the University of Tokyo before joining the faculty at UC Berkeley. He is familiar with the nuclear power system in Japan and can take calls about the safety system there.

Peter Hosemann
Assistant professor, Department of Nuclear Engineering
Office: (510) 642-5341 (No voicemail. Please send messages via e-mail.)
Email: peterh@berkeley.edu
Media Relations contact: Sarah Yang, (510) 643-7741, scyang@berkeley.edu

Expertise: Hosemann's research focuses on structural materials used for nuclear components (fission, fusion, spallation, etc.). He can describe the materials and structural degradation processes in a nuclear environment, including liquid metal corrosion, radiation damage and thermal degradation of structural materials and fuels, and the resulting consequences to engineering application.

Donald Olander
Professor in the Graduate School, Department of Nuclear Engineering
Home: (510) 526-2418 (Wife's home office number)
Email: fuelpr@nuc.berkeley.edu
Media Relations contact: Sarah Yang, (510) 643-7741, scyang@berkeley.edu

Expertise: Olander's research focuses on high-temperature kinetic and thermodynamic behavior of nuclear reactor fuels and performance of degraded nuclear fuels. He teaches courses on nuclear materials, including an undergraduate course dealing with nuclear fuels and graduate courses on irradiation effects in metals and on corrosion in nuclear power systems. He is finalizing a book, "Materials of Light Water Nuclear Reactors," which includes a chapter on analyzing accidents involving severe damage to reactors.

Kai Vetter
Associate professor, Department of Nuclear Engineering; staff physicist, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Office: (510) 642-7071 Cell: (510) 230-9255
Email: kvetter@berkeley.edu
Media Relations contact: Sarah Yang, (510) 643-7741, scyang@berkeley.edu

Expertise: Vetter's research interests include radiation detection, nuclear instrumentation, biomedical imaging and homeland security. He and his students have installed a monitoring system at the top of Etcheverry Hall on the UC Berkeley campus to measure potential increases in atmospheric radiation.

Jasmina Vujic
Professor and former chair, Department of Nuclear Engineering
Office: (510) 643-8085
Email: vujic@nuc.berkeley.edu
Media Relations contact: Sarah Yang, (510) 643-7741, scyang@berkeley.edu

Expertise: Vujic's research interests focus on numerical methods in reactor core design and analysis, shielding and radiation protection, biomedical application of radiation, neutron and photon transport, and optimization techniques for vector and parallel computers. She can discuss the safety systems in place to protect nuclear power plants, including those in Japan.

HEALTH IMPACT/RISK ASSESSMENT
Thomas McKone
Adjunct professor, Department of Environmental Health Sciences; Senior staff scientist, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Office: (510) 642-8771
Email: temckone@lbl.gov
Media Relations contact: Sarah Yang, (510) 643-7741, scyang@berkeley.edu

Expertise: McKone's research is on risk assessment, particularly the development of models and data for human-health and ecological risk assessments. His background is in nuclear engineering. He can discuss health consequences from radiation exposure, the environmental transport and dispersion of radioactive material.

Kirk Smith
Professor, Global Environmental Health, School of Public Health
Office: (510) 643-0793
Email: krksmith@berkeley.edu (Out of the country and unavailable until March 29)
Media Relations contact: Sarah Yang, (510) 643-7741, scyang@berkeley.edu

Expertise: Smith studies the health effects of air pollution, but his past work focused on the health effects of radiation exposure, such as that from nuclear waste, nuclear power plant accidents and radon in households. He is able to put into perspective the risks to the U.S. of radiation releases at nuclear power plants in Japan compared to the risks from the 1986 Chernobyl meltdown or the everyday risks from medical X-rays or indoor and outdoor air pollution.

SEISMOLOGISTS
Richard Allen
Associate director, Berkeley Seismological Laboratory; associate professor, Department of Earth and Planetary Science
Email: rallen@berkeley.edu (he is in Switzerland on sabbatical, but will respond to e-mail inquiries)
Media Relations contact: Robert Sanders, (510) 643-6998, rsanders@berkeley.edu

Expertise: Research interests include the 3-D mapping of Earth's interior, the development of an earthquake alarm system (ElarmS), and assessment of natural hazard mitigation strategies in the United States. He is familiar with Japan's earthquake early warning program.

Roland Burgmann
Professor and chair, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences
Office: (510) 643-9545
Email: burgmann@seismo.berkeley.edu
Media Relations contact: Robert Sanders, (510) 643-6998, rsanders@berkeley.edu

Expertise: Burgmann studies active tectonics and crustal rheology, and the use of Global Positioning System and Synthetic Aperture Radar Interferometry to measure crustal deformation near active faults, volcanoes and landslides. He works on models of crustal deformation through the earthquake cycle along major fault zones.

Barbara Romanowicz
Director, Berkeley Seismological Laboratory
Office: (510) 643-5690
Email: barbara@seismo.berkeley.edu 
Media Relations contact: Robert Sanders, (510) 643-6998, rsanders@berkeley.edu

Expertise: Earthquake processes and scaling laws, real time estimation of earthquake parameters, development of modern broadband seismic and geophysical observatories on land and in the oceans, and planetary seismology.

Peggy Hellweg
Associate research seismologist, Berkeley Seismological Laboratory
Office: (510) 643-9449 (out of town until March 14, but will respond to e-mail inquiries)
Email: peggy@seismo.berkeley.edu
Media Relations contact: Robert Sanders, (510) 643-6998, rsanders@berkeley.edu

Expertise: Available for general questions about seismology as well as early warning systems, magnitudes and sizes of earthquakes, tectonics and earthquake preparedness. Hellweg is also involved in projects that monitor tremors.

Robert Nadeau
Associate research seismologist, Berkeley Seismological Laboratory
Office: (510) 643-3980
Email: nadeau@seismo.berkeley.edu
Media Relations contact: Robert Sanders, (510) 643-6998, rsanders@berkeley.edu

Expertise: He can take general seismic questions. He has studied underground tremors along the San Andreas Fault.

STRUCTURAL ENGINEERING/BUILDINGS
Dana Buntrock
Associate professor of architecture
Cell: (510) 219-8216
Email: buntrock@berkeley.edu
Media Relations contact: Kathleen Maclay, (510) 643-5651 or kmaclay@berkeley.edu

Expertise: Building materials, and Japanese design and construction. Buntrock's research and teaching address how architects engage the construction industry, with a special interest in architectural practice in Japan. She has worked professionally in the United States and Japan. Buntrock is the author of "Materials and Meaning in Contemporary Japanese Architecture" (2010) and "Japanese Architecture as a Collaborative Process" (2001).

Buntrock said some tall structures in Tokyo are reported to have swayed for more than 30 minutes and many for 10 after the March 11 quake.  She noted that the Japanese government said in January that it will resurvey many new or recently completed buildings over 60 meters high – and located in Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya – for possible reinforcement to minimize the structures' long/slow sway after a quake. The structural calculations for Japanese building codes have been largely based on calculations for resistance in conditions similar to the short sway of buildings after the 8.8 Kobe quake in 1995.

Stephen Mahin
Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering; director of the Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center (PEER), a multi-university organization headquartered at UC Berkeley's Richmond Field Station
Cell: (510) 693-6972
Email: mahin@ce.berkeley.edu
Media Relations contact: Sarah Yang, (510) 643-7741, scyang@berkeley.edu

Expertise: Behavior and design of structures, seismic isolation of bridges and buildings, and laboratory testing of structures. He returned from an earthquake conference in Japan on Wednesday, March 9.  

Jack Moehle
Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and former director of PEER
Office: (510) 642-3437
Cell: (510) 407-6124
Email: moehle@berkeley.edu
Media Relations contact: Sarah Yang, (510) 643-7741, scyang@berkeley.edu

Expertise: Reinforced concrete structures, bridge and building design, and seismic testing methods.

Bozidar Stojadinovic
Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Office: (510) 643-7035
Email: boza@ce.berkeley.edu
Media Relations contact: Sarah Yang, (510) 643-7741, scyang@berkeley.edu

Expertise: Behavior of structures during earthquakes. In a joint DOE-sponsored research project with Per Peterson, UC Berkeley professor of nuclear engineering, Stojadinovic has examined potential designs of next-generation nuclear reactors that would be less vulnerable to damage than current designs. Such designs could implement seismic isolators and passive cooling systems to protect small, modular reactors. Stojadinovic is director of the UC Berkeley site of the NSF-sponsored Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES@Berkeley). The NEES lab simulates large-scale structural systems and experimental evaluation of their response to earthquakes.

GEOENGINEERING
Jonathan Bray
Researcher, Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center, professor, UC Berkeley Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Office: (510) 642-9843
Email: bray@ce.berkeley.edu
Media Relations contact: Sarah Yang, (510) 643-7741, scyang@berkeley.edu

Expertise: Geotechnical engineering, ground motion, liquefaction, and seismic impact on structures such as dams, landfills and embankments.

Nicholas Sitar
Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and researcher, Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center
Office: (510) 643-8623
Email: nsitar@ce.berkeley.edu
Media Relations contact: Sarah Yang, (510) 643-7741, scyang@berkeley.edu

Expertise: Geotechnical engineering, landslides, and stability of natural and reinforced slopes.

OCEAN ENGINEERING
Ronald W. Yeung
Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering
Office: (510) 642-8347
Email: rwyeung@berkeley.edu
Media Relations contact: Sarah Yang, (510) 643-7741, scyang@berkeley.edu
NOTE: Yeung will be traveling March 18-24, but will return calls and communicate by Skype when possible.

Expertise: Yeung's research interests include ocean engineering systems, ocean processes and hydromechanics of renewable energy systems. He can discuss wave energy and wave propagation from tsunamis.

POLITICS, TRADE
Steven Vogel
Professor of political science
Office: (510) 642-4658
Email: svogel@berkeley.edu
Media Relations contact: Kathleen Maclay, (510) 643-5651, kmaclay@berkeley.edu

Expertise: Vogel has written extensively on Japanese politics, industrial policy, trade and defense policy. He also has worked as a reporter for the Japan Times in Tokyo and as a freelance journalist in France.