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Photo of Charlton, William
Office Location: ETC 7.114

William Charlton

Director, Nuclear Engineering Teaching Laboratory

John J. McKetta Energy Professorship in Engineering

Department Research Areas:
Nuclear and Radiation Engineering

In January 2018, Dr. William (Bill) Charlton joined the faculty at the University of Texas at Austin (UT-Austin) as the John J. McKetta Energy Professor in the Nuclear and Radiation Engineering Program within the Walker Department of Mechanical Engineering. He also serves as the Director of the Nuclear Engineering Teaching Laboratory (NETL) at UT-Austin which in addition to other research laboratories houses the newest nuclear research reactor in the U.S.  He is an expert in the application of nuclear science and engineering to national security including nuclear nonproliferation, counter-proliferation, security, and deterrence. He has taught courses (specifically from a technical aspect) on nuclear nonproliferation and deterrence, nuclear security system design and analysis, nuclear forensics, and nuclear detection. Additionally, he has over 15 years of technical expertise in the design, development, testing, and evaluation of technological solutions for nuclear threats.

From 2015-2018, Dr. Charlton was the Research Director for the National Strategic Research Institute (NSRI) at the University of Nebraska. NSRI is the University Affiliated Research Center (UARC) for the U.S. Strategic Command and the U.S. Department of Defense for Combatting Weapons of Mass Destruction. Dr. Charlton had sponsor engagement, faculty interaction, and technical oversight responsibility for all NSRI research programs for combatting chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear weapons (with a total contract value in excess of $42M). He also served as the Associate Vice Chancellor for Research and a Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. As Associate Vice Chancellor for Research, he worked with the administration and faculty to develop strategic research initiatives in support of the U.S. Department of Defense and other national security agencies.

From 2003-2015, Dr. Charlton served on the faculty of the Department of Nuclear Engineering at Texas A&M University (TAMU) and was the founding Director of the Nuclear Security Science & Policy Institute (NSSPI) from 2006-2015. NSSPI is a multi-disciplinary research and education organization focused on combatting threats from the malicious uses of nuclear and radiological materials. NSSPI is primarily funded through grants and contracts from the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the U.S. Department of State. In addition to conducting research in the area of nuclear security and nuclear nonproliferation, he taught courses on nuclear nonproliferation, nuclear security system design, nuclear forensics, consequence management, and nuclear materials measurements. Under his supervision, the first Student Chapter of the Institute of Nuclear Materials Management was formed at TAMU in the over 50-year history of that organization.  

He previously served as an Assistant Professor at UT-Austin from 2000-2003 and as a Technical Staff Member in the Nonproliferation and International Security Division at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) from 1998-2000.

Dr. Charlton led the development of technical education and research in U.S. academia in the area of nuclear nonproliferation and nuclear security and was awarded the Special Service Award from the Institute of Nuclear Materials Management in 2010 for his leadership in this area. He was also named the George Armistead Jr. ’23 Faculty Fellow at TAMU in 2005, was awarded the Dwight Look College of Engineering Faculty Fellow in 2007, was recognized as the Advisor of the Year by the TAMU Division of Student Affairs in 2009, was named the Barbara and Ralph Cox ’53 Faculty Fellow for the TAMU College of Engineering in 2013, and was given the Distinguished Research Award from NSRI in 2017. 

Dr. Charlton earned B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Nuclear Engineering from Texas A&M University in 1995, 1997, and 1999, respectively. He has over 200 technical publications in referred journals and conference proceedings. He currently holds TOP SECRET and SCI security clearances.

Recent and Significant Publications (* designates a student)

  1. R. Coogan*, C. Marianno, W. Charlton, “A Strategic Analysis of Stationary Radiation Portal Monitors and Mobile Detection Systems in Border Monitoring,” Journal of Nuclear Engineering and Technology, (2020)
  2. D. Sweeney*, W.S. Charlton, “A Nuclear Weapons Latency Computational Tool,” Journal of Nuclear Materials Management, Vol. 47(3), pp. 9-25 (2019).
  3. W.S. Charlton, A.V. Goodsell*, V. Henzl, M. Swinhoe, “Simulation Study for Detection of Pin Diversion with the Differential Die-away Instrument Using Fresh Nuclear Fuel,” Journal of Nuclear Materials Management, 44(3), pp. 49-54 (2016).
  4. S.S. Chirayath, D. Giannangeli*, R. Elmore*, G. Hollenbeck*, N.G. Chandregowda*, W.S. Charlton, R. Metcalf*, and J.C. Ragusa, “Proliferation Resistance Analysis and Evaluation Tool for Observed Risk (PRAETOR) Methodology,” Journal of Nuclear Materials Management, 43(2), pp. 22-47 (2015).
  5. C.M. Ryan*, C.M. Marianno, W.S. Charlton, A.A. Solodov, R.J. Livesay, and B. Goddard*, “Predicting Concrete Roadways Contribution to Gamma-ray Background Readings in Radiation Portal Monitor Systems,” Journal of Nuclear Technology, 186(3), pp. 415-426 (2014).
  6. B. Goddard*, W. Charlton, and P. Peerani, “Quantitative NDA Measurements of Multi-Actinide Oxide Fuels,” Journal of Nuclear Technology, 186(3), pp. 403-414 (2014).
  7. B. Goddard*, W. Charlton, and P. Peerani, “First Principal Active Neutron Coincidence Counting Measurements of Uranium Oxide,” Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research A, 739, pp. 1-5 (2013).
  8. N.D. Chandregowda*, S.S. Chirayath, W.S. Charlton, Y. Ham, S. Sitaraman, and G.H. Ahn, “Assessment of the Fingerprinting Method for the Verification of Spent Fuel in MACSTOR KN-400 CANDU Spent Fuel Dry Storage,” Journal of Nuclear Technology, 184, pp. 320-333 (2013).
  9. A.M. LaFleur,* W.S. Charlton, H.O. Menlove, M.T. Swinhoe, and A.R. Lebrun, “Development of Self-Interrogation Neutron Resonance Densitometry to Improve Detection of Possible Diversions for PWR Spent Fuel Assemblies,” Journal of Nuclear Technology, 181(2), pp. 354-370 (2013).
  10. L. Holewa*, Eric Miller*, W. Charlton, and Sara Pozzi, “Using Neutron Angular Anisotropy Information to Dynamically Determine the Ratio of the (α,n) Rate to Spontaneous Fission Rate for Coincidence Counting Applications,” Nuclear Instrument and Methods in Physics Research A, 701, pp. 249-253 (2013).