Todd Allen

Chair and Professor


Additional Titles

  • Glenn F. and Gladys H. Knoll Department Chair of Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences
  • Chihiro Kikuchi Collegiate Professor
  • Director, Michigan Memorial Phoenix Project
  • Director, Fastest Path to Zero Initiative
  • Co-Director, MI-Hydrogen

An offer to skip history class in high school to listen to a Navy ROTC recruiter sent Todd Allen on a serendipitous journey that led to him becoming one of the top U.S. experts in nuclear energy, with focus on the material science of nuclear systems.

Todd began his professional career as a submarine officer in the U.S. Navy where he learned the practical applications of operating a nuclear power plant as well as how to take a submarine to periscope depth. Following active duty, he built on that practical Navy experience by earning a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering with specific focus on how radiation changes the physical properties of metals.

His first post-Ph.D. position was as a staff scientist at Argonne National Laboratory. While at Argonne, he joined the leadership team tasked with developing the Generation IV Roadmap, the document that framed the resurgence of the nuclear research programs early in the 21st Century.

Following Argonne, he joined the faculty at the University of Wisconsin. While there, he split his time between establishing a premier material science program at the university and supporting the Idaho National Laboratory. At INL, he led the transition of the Advanced Test Reactor into a national user facility, creating a unique distributed network of national research facilities working together to support novel research ideas brought by universities and private industry. He also ran a six-institution Energy Frontier Research Center focused on answering fundamental questions about heat transfer in nuclear fuel.

From 2013-2016, he helped lead the Idaho National Laboratory as the Deputy Laboratory Director for Science & Technology, including being an important contributor to the development of the Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) initiative announced at the White House in November 2015.

He is the author of over 200 technical publications, many of which are readable.

Todd has degrees in nuclear engineering and management information systems. He is a native of Michigan and tries very hard to find ways to watch baseball. His best summer ever (2016) was 64 different stadiums across the U.S.


University of Michigan

PhD Nuclear Materials ’97

MS Nuclear Engineering ’93

George Washington University

MS Information Systems ’84

Northwestern University

BS Nuclear Engineering ’84

Research Interests

Materials for advanced nuclear energy systems, corrosion, nuclear fuels, and nuclear policy. The Fastest Path to Zero Initiative is looking at the technical, economic, social, and public policy approaches that will allow nuclear energy to contribute to mitigating climate change.  Material Science projects involve new statistical analysis techniques for understanding void swelling, advancing the use of ion beams for understanding radiation effects.  Plant component health monitoring project studies the development of a health index for plant components based on multiple sensors.

Research areas:


  • Ying Yang, Kevin G. Field, Todd R. Allen, Jeremy T. Busby, Roles of vacancy/interstitial diffusion and segregation in the microchemistry at grain boundaries of irradiated FeeCreNi alloys, Journal of Nuclear Materials 473 (2016) 35-53
  • T.J. Gerczak, J.D. Hunn, R.A. Lowden, T.R. Allen, SiC layer microstructure in AGR-1 and AGR-2 TRISO fuel particles and the influence of its variation on the effective diffusion of key fission products, Journal of Nuclear Materials, 480 (2016) 257-270.
  • Donghua Xu, Alicia Certain, Hyon-Jee Lee Voigt, Todd Allen, Brian D. Wirth, Ballistic effects on the copper precipitation and re-dissolution kinetics in an ion irradiated and thermally annealed Fe-Cu alloy, The Journal of Chemical Physics (Vol.145, Issue 10), DOI: 10.1063/1.4962345
  • Olive, D.T., Ganegoda, H., Allen, T., Yang, Y., Dickerson, C., Terry, J., Using a spherical crystallite model with vacancies to relate local atomic structure to irradiation defects in ZrC and ZrN, Journal of Nuclear Materials, 475 (2016) 123 – 131.
  • Sarah Khalil, Todd Allen, Anter EL-Azab, Off-stoichiometric defect clustering in irradiated oxides, Chemical Physics 487 (2017) 1–10.
  • L. He, X.M. Bai, J. Pakarinen, B.J. Jaques, J. Gan, A.T. Nelson , A. El-Azab, T.R. Allen, Bubble evolution in Kr-irradiated UO2 during annealing, Journal of Nuclear Materials 496 (2017) 242-250.
  • Steven E. Aumeier and Todd Allen, How to Reinvigorate US Commercial Nuclear Energy, Issues in Science & Technology, Volume XXXIV Issue 2, Winter 2018.
  • G.Meric de Bellefon, I. M. Robertson, T.R. Allen, J-C van Duysen, K. Sridharan, Radiation-resistant nanotwinned austenitic stainless steel, Scripta Materialia Volume 159, 15 January 2019, Pages 123-127.
  • Robert B. Keating, Suzanne P. McKillop, Todd Allen, and Mark Anderson, ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code Roadmap for Compact Heat Exchangers in High Temperature Reactors, Journal of Nuclear Engineering and Radiation Science, 2020.
  • Minhee Kim, Elisa Ou, Po-ling Loh, Todd Allen, Robert Agasie, and Kaibo Liu, RNN-Based Online Anomaly Detection in Nuclear Reactors for Highly Imbalanced Dataset with Uncertainties, Nuclear Engineering and Design 364 (2020) 110699
  • Gary S. Was and Todd R. Allen, The Importance of Nuclear Power in Our Energy Mix, New Labor Forum 2020, Vol. 29(3) 14–18.

Honors and Awards

  • American Nuclear Society Material Science and Technology Division 2012 recipient of the Outstanding Achievement Award for leadership and many contributions to the nuclear materials area
  • American Nuclear Society Material Science and Technology Division Special Achievement Award (with Lance Snead) (2010), For their pioneering efforts to in the creation of the Nuclear Fuels and Structural Materials for Next Generation Nuclear Reactors (NFSM) technical topical meeting
  • American Nuclear Society Young Engineer Award (2002)
  • Argonne National Laboratory Pacesetter Award for outstanding performance (2001)
  • American Nuclear Society Material Science and Technology Division Literary Award (Best Journal Article) (2000)
  • American Nuclear Society Material Science and Technology Division Literary Award (Best Journal Article) (1998)
  • American Nuclear Society Graduate Fellowship, five awards (1991-1995)
  • Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honors Society, inducted 1989
  • “A Step-by-Step Guide to Nuclear Innovation Policy”, Best Policy Study-Report Produced by a Think Tank 2016, 2016 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report
  • Fellow, American Nuclear Society, November 2018