Karl-Wirtz award for Tanja Huber


For her doctoral thesis "Thermal Conductivity of High Density Uranium-Molybdenum Fuels for Research Reactors" Dr. Tanja Huber is awarded the Karl Wirtz Prize of the German Nuclear Society (KTG) today.

Dr. Tanja Huber in the laboratory.

Dr. Tanja Huber in the laboratory of the FRM II (Photo: C. Niiranen / FRM II).


Tanja Huber studied physics at the Technical University of Munich. In her diploma thesis she focused on the storage and transport of ultracold neutrons (UCN) in specially developed neutron guides for the construction of a UCN source at the FRM II in Garching. From late 2011 to early 2016 Tanja Huber did her PhD with Prof. Dr. Winfried Petry in the research group "high density uranium fuels and nuclear modeling" of the neutron source Heinz Maier-Leibnitz. The group operates in several international collaborations in the development of high-density nuclear fuels with low enrichment for research reactors. Tanja Huber examined the thermal conductivity of various non-irradiated uranium-molybdenum (U-Mo) fuels in collaboration with the Max Planck Institute of Plasma Physics Garching, and conducted measurements on reactor irradiated U-Mo fuels at the Idaho National Laboratory and at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, USA, for several months. Her data thus obtained are required for simulation of temperatures and heat flows in the fuel assembly during reactor operation that must be carried out as part of the qualification of the new fuel.
Currently, Dr. Tanja Huber is a researcher in the research group of Prof. Petry and coordinates the nuclear fuel lab on the premises of the FRM II, where a large part of the development of new nuclear fuel with lower enrichment for the FRM II takes place. She plans further measurements of spent nuclear fuel U-Mo in collaboration with the US institutions by the end of 2016, in order to verify theoretical models derived from the previously available data.

"I was very pleased and surprised about the award," Tanja Huber admits. She very much regrets that she can not take the price personally, because she is currently on a long planned vacation trip through Southeast Asia. Her colleague Tobias Chemnitz therefore represents her at the award ceremony in Hamburg.

"I am delighted that with this year's award of the Karl Wirtz Preis by the KTG the outstanding scientific achievement by Dr. Tanja Huber is appreciated. Similarly, the award is also proof of the continued high level of knowledge in Germany and of the competent junior staff in nuclear engineering and related disciplines", says KTG Chairman Dr. Astrid Petersen.

The Karl Wirtz Prize is awarded biannually "to promote the scientists and engineers in the field of nuclear technology or related disciplines". The prize money is 3000 Euro. A panel of two university professors and one industry representative decides on the applications. Prof. Dr. Karl Wirtz (1919-1994) was a member of the working group of Prof. Werner Heisenberg at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute in Berlin and participated in the foundation of the Nuclear Research Centre Karlsruhe.