Director, Maglev 2000
Dr. James R. Powell is a Director of the MAGLEV 2000 of Florida
Corporation and the Danby Powell Maglev Technology Corporation,
where he also serves as President. He received his BS in Chemical
Engineering in 1953 from Carnegie Institute of Technology and his
Sc.D. in Nuclear Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology in 1958. He joined Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL)
in 1956 where he was a Senior Nuclear Engineer and a tenured member
of the BNL scientific staff until his retirement at the end of 1996.
While at BNL, in addition to his personal research, Dr. Powell
directed R&D efforts in a variety of areas, including advanced fission
reactors, fusion reactors, space and defense systems, and new technologies
for infrastructure. During this period, he published 470 papers
and reports and received 16 patents.
In the field of Nuclear Fission Reactors, Dr. Powell is the inventor
of the Particle Bed Reactor, an ultra compact, very high power density
reactor system with applications for high performance nuclear rockets
and space power, nuclear waste transmutation, and very high flux
neutron beams for research.
In the field of Fusion Technology, Dr. Powell originated the concept
of using solid lithium compounds for fusion blankets, and carried
out the first designs and work in this area. Other fusion related
inventions by Dr. Powell include blankets for production of hydrogen
based synthetic fuels; NOEL, a self-sealing, no-leak blanket; TRAIL,
a pellet rail gun plasma limiter system; DEALS, a demountable superconducting
toroidal field coil system for tokamaks, and liquid wall labkets
for inertial pellet fusion reactors.
In the field of Space and Defense Systems, Dr. Powell is the inventor
of the high performance Particle Bed Nuclear Rocket, which formed
the basis for the DOD Space Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (SNTP) program.
In the SNTP program, which was funded by SDI and the Air Force from
1983 to 1987, the BNL Reactor Systems Division, led by Dr. Powell,
developed and analyzed the PBR design, together with thermal hydraulic
testing and the development of advanced high temperature materials
and nuclear fuel particles. Dr. Powell also developed innovative
designs for lightweight nuclear space electric power generating
systems based on the PNR for a variety of civilian and defense applications.
In the field of transportation, Dr. Powell, together with Dr. Gordon
Danby, are inventors of the Superconducting Maglev (magnetic levitation)
transportation systems and received the original patent in the field.
Their inventions, including the inductive levitation and stabilization
guideway, null flux geometry, and the Linear Synchronous Motor for
vehicle propulsion, have been adopted through the world, and for
the basis for the 300 mile (500 kilometer) Tokyo to Osaka maglev
route now under construction.
Dr. Powell, together with Dr. Danby, was awarded the Franklin Institute
'Medal 2000 for Engineering' for their Maglev inventions. Previous
Franklin Medal awardees include Nikolai Tesla, Charles Steinmetz,
and Albert Einstein.