Nuclear entrepreneur earns 2018 Outstanding Engineering Alumni Award

March 28, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Kenneth Lindquist, who earned his masters and doctorate from Penn State in nuclear engineering in ’67 and ’71 respectively, has been named a 2018 Outstanding Engineering Alumni.

With a professional career spanning more than 40 years, Lindquist is accomplished as both a nuclear engineer and an entrepreneur. On receiving the highest honored bestowed by the College of Engineering, he said, “I’m very pleased to be thought of as an outstanding graduate of a great institution.”

When initially looking for graduate programs during his senior year at Marietta College, he was intrigued by the burgeoning field of nuclear engineering. “It looked like nuclear energy was riding a wave that would never crest,” he explained. “I picked Penn State [in 1965] because they had the first on-campus nuclear reactor of any university.”

Today, the University remains one of the few in the United States with a research reactor. That, Lindquist said, is a unique strength of Penn State’s curriculum. “The graduate education I received was probably the best I could have gotten anywhere in the world,” he said. “I was able to learn from the incredible faculty who gravitated toward that reactor.”

A testament to his education, Lindquist was able to reach exceptional heights in the nuclear energy profession after his graduation. After helping to successfully launch Indian Point 2, a nuclear reactor located in Westchester County, New York, he started his own company, the Northeast Technology Corp (NETCO). He remained at the helm of NETCO for 30 years and subsequently became an internationally-renowned expert on neutron absorber materials.

These materials are critical since spent nuclear fuels need to be safely stored once they’ve been used at reactor sites. “There’s been more and more need for places to put these materials,” Lindquist explained. With proposed federal repositories failing to materialize, Lindquist designed and patented the NETCO Snap-In to help alleviate the problem. Installed within existing storage fuel racks, this product is able to greatly maximize storage capabilities, saving plants millions of dollars.

“Now, some 20,000 Snap-Ins have been ordered and installed at quite a few plants around the country,” he said. He even wrote the “bible” on this subject, “Neutron Absorber Materials for the Wet and Dry Storage of Nuclear Fuels” for the Electric Power Research Institute.

Although the landscape for nuclear power has evolved throughout his career, Lindquist remains passionate about its potential. “Nuclear is still the future for electricity generation in the US,” he said. “I hope that when people realize how much we need to help the climate and environment, the situation is going to change.”

Today, Lindquist splits his time between Hudson Valley, New York and State College with his wife Mary Alice and their dog. After selling NETCO to Curtiss-Wright, a global product manufacturer in 1994, Lindquist also continues to work part-time for the company. “The rest of the time, I’m enjoying myself!” he laughed.

 

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Kenneth Lindquist

Kenneth Lindquist, nuclear engineer and entrepreneur.

“Nuclear is still the future for electricity generation in the US. I hope that when people realize how much we need to help the climate and environment, the situation is going to change.”

 
 

About

The Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering at Penn State is one of the nation’s largest and most successful engineering departments. We serve more than 1,000 undergraduate students and more than 330 graduate students

We offer B.S. degrees in mechanical engineering and nuclear engineering as well as resident (M.S., Ph.D.) and online (M.S., M.Eng.) graduate degrees in nuclear engineering and mechanical engineering. MNE's strength is in offering hands-on experience in highly relevant research areas, such as energy, homeland security, biomedical devices, and transportation systems.

Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering

137 Reber Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802-4400

Phone: 814-865-2519