Other Free Encyclopedias » Brief Biographies » Biographies: Barbara Barbieri McGrath (1953–) Biography - Personal to Fridtjof Nansen (1861–1930) Biography » Joseph C. Mills Biography - Remained Focused On Education, Became A Reactor Safety Expert, Designed Power Systems For Spacecraft, Spent Nine Years On The Iss

Joseph C. Mills - Became A Reactor Safety Expert

nuclear engineering rockwell science

Despite having grown up near the heart of the aerospace industry, when he entered U.C.L.A. in 1963, on a four-year California State Scholarship, Mills had only the vaguest notion of what an engineer did. In the end he chose engineering because it lacked a foreign-language requirement. However Mills soon found that he loved engineering and its applications. He told CBB: "Engineers take science and turn it into practical things.... God put me in the right place for my skill set." Mills earned his Bachelor of Science degree in engineering in 1967.

Fellowships and traineeships from the Atomic Energy Commission enabled Mills to complete his graduate studies at UCLA. He earned his master's of science in nuclear engineering in 1969 and his Ph.D. in nuclear engineering in 1972, studying nuclear reactor core disruption accidents. He developed a multi-dimensional computational model for predicting the way in which a reactor would meltdown and the consequences for the reactor core and radiation escape.

Following graduation Mills joined Atomics International, a small division of Rockwell International that later merged with Rocketdyne, another Rockwell division. During his first year at Rockwell, Mills participated in a joint Rockwell-UCLA program in which he taught algebra to incoming minority students. Over the next two decades, in various project and program management positions in Canoga Park, California, Mills helped to develop a new generation of nuclear power systems.

During the first 12 years of his career, Mills published numerous technical reports on nuclear power systems and safety and became an internationally-known expert on safety systems for liquid-metal fast-breeder nuclear reactors (LMFBRs). During the early 1980s he served on numerous task forces and committees that studied the development of LMFBRs, both domestically and internationally.

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