Steve Krahn

Dr. Krahn is Professor of the Practice of Nuclear Environmental Engineering in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Vanderbilt University

Steven L. Krahn

Professor of the Practice
Vanderbilt University



Ph.D., Public Administration, University of Southern California, 2001

M.S., Materials Science, University of Virginia, 1994

Certificate, Nuclear Engineering, Bettis Reactor Engineering School, U.S. Department of Energy, 1980

B.S., Metallurgical Engineering, University of Wisconsin, 1978

Research Interests

  • Risk and Hazards Analysis
  • Nuclear Fuel Cycle
  • Complex Systems
  • High Level Radioactive Waste Management

Dr. Steve Krahn is Professor of the Practice of Nuclear Environmental Engineering in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Vanderbilt University, where he teaches courses in nuclear environmental engineering and performs research into nuclear technology as applied in the systems engineering of the nuclear fuel cycle, including: risk assessment, project and risk management; operational readiness and technology insertion in nuclear facilities.

Immediately prior to joining Vanderbilt, he served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Energy for Safety & Security in the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Environmental Management (DOE-EM), where he provided senior technical leadership to this $6B/year nuclear program. Previously, Dr. Krahn was the Deputy Technical Director of the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, where he provided technical direction and leadership to a technical staff of approximately 75 individuals providing nuclear safety oversight of the U.S. Nuclear Weapons Complex.

He is an internationally recognized expert in nuclear engineering and was recently certified as an Expert Witness to provide evidence in the United Kingdom (UK) in front of Her Majesty’s High Court of Technology and Constriction in the largest nuclear construction case in UK history.  In 2015, he was selected by the U.S. Secretary of Energy to serve on a congressionally-mandated review of the use of risk-informed decision-making in the DOE’s management of nuclear projects nation-wide.

Dr. Krahn has more than 40 years of nuclear technical and project management experience in positions of increasing responsibility in government, private industry, the military, and academia.


“Advancing Risk-Informed Decision Making in Managing Defense Nuclear Waste in the United States: Opportunities and Challenges for Risk Analysis” M. Greenberg, G.Apostolakis, T. Fields, B. Goldstein, D. Kosson, S.Krahn,5 R. Matthews, James Rispoli, J. Stewart, & R. Stewart, Risk Analysis, on-line and in publication, 2018.

“Comparing the environmental impacts of uranium- and thorium- based fuel cycles with different recycle options,” T. Ault, S. Krahn & A. Croff, Progress in Nuclear Energy, Vol. 100: 114-134 (May 2017). rights and content

“Thorium fuel cycle research and literature: Trends and insights from eight decades of diverse projects and evolving priorities,” T. Ault, S. Krahn & A. Croff, Annals of Nuclear Energy, Vol.110: 726-738 (June 2017).

“The Reemergence of the Thorium Fuel Cycle: A Special Issue of Nuclear Technology,” S. Krahn & A. Worrall, Journal of Nuclear Technology, Vol, 194, No.2: pp iii-iv (May 2016).

“Comparative Assessment of Thorium Fuel Cycle Radiotoxicity,” A. Croff & S. Krahn, Journal of Nuclear Technology, Vol, 194, No.2: pp 271-280 (May 2016)

“Natural Thorium Resources and Recovery: Options and Impacts, Ault, T.M. & S.L. Krahn, Journal of Nuclear Technology, 194, No.2:pp136-151 (May 2016)

“Application of a Proposed Generic LLW Waste Package Analysis with Changing Infiltration in a Humid Environment,” Rustick, J. H., S. L. Krahn, D. S. Kosson, M. T. Ryan, and J. H. Clarke, Remediation, 26(3):149-167 (Summer 2016)

“A Preliminary Analysis of Key Issues in Chemical Industry Accident Reports,” L. Fyffe, S. Krahn, J. Clarke, D. Kosson, J. Hutton, Safety Science, Vol. 82, pp 368-373 (February 2016)

“Comparison of LLW Disposal Facilities at Major Department of Energy Sites,” J. Rustic, D. Kosson, S. Krahn, M. Ryan, C. Benson, and J. Clarke, Remediation, Vol. 26, No.1, pp 69-91 (Winter 2015)

“Radiological Impacts and Regulation of Rare Earth Elements in Non-Nuclear Energy Production,” T. Ault., S. Krahn, and A. Croff, Energies, Volume 8, pp 2066-2081 (March 2015)

“Assessment of the Potential of By-Product Recovery of Thorium to Satisfy Demands of a Future Thorium Fuel Cycle”, T. Ault, S. Krahn, A. Croff, Journal of Nuclear Technology, Volume 189, Number 2, pp 152-162 (February 2015)

“Estimating Worker Collective Doses from a Revised Approach to Managing Commercial Nuclear Fuel,” B. Burkhardt, S. Krahn, A. Croff, A. Sowder, Radwaste Solutions, Volume 22, No. 1, pp (January/June 2015)

“Evaluating the Radiological Risk to Workers from the U.S. Once-Through Nuclear Fuel Cycle,” S. Krahn, A. Croff, B. Smith, J. Clarke, A. Sowder, A. Machiels, Journal of Nuclear Technology, Volume 185, Number 2, pp 192-207 (February 2014)

“System of Systems Engineering—Past Emerging to Evolving?”, S. Krahn, invited article and special edition editor, Int. J. System of Systems Engineering, Vol. 3, Nos. 3&4, 2012, pp 1-2

“The Demanding Customer and the Hollow Organization: Meeting Today’s Contract Management Challenge,” J. Crawford and S. Krahn, Public Productivity and Management Review, September 1998.

“The Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program: A Brief Case Study of Institutional Constancy,” J. Crawford and S. Krahn, Public Administration Review, March/April 1998.

Selected Committees & Major Reviews

Chair, Committee to Review Options for Processing of Remediated Nitrate Salt (RNS) and Unremediated Nitrate Salt (UNS) Waste” Los Alamos National Laboratory (2016)

Committee to Review the Use of Risk-Informed Management in the Cleanup Program for Former Defense Nuclear Sites, appointed by the Secretary of Energy (2014-2015)

Review Team, Nuclear Energy Agency/Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, review leading to Introduction of Thorium in the Nuclear Fuel Cycle: Short- to Long-Term Considerations, NEA/OECD Report No. 7224 (2015)

Deputy Team Lead, “Review of Alternatives to the Hanford Site’s Low Activity Waste Pretreatment System,” US DOE Office of Environmental Management, (2014)

Team Lead, “External Technical Review of Systems Planning for Low-Activity Waste Treatment at Hanford,” US DOE Office of Environmental Management, November 2008

Selected Awards

  • Executive Committee of the Fuel Cycle and Waste Management Division of the American Nuclear Society (2015)
  • Selected to the American Academy of Environmental Engineers & Scientists (2013)
  • Career Distinguished Service Award, U.S. Department of Energy (2010)
  • Meritorious Service Medal, U.S. Navy (2000)
  • Meritorious Service Award, U.S. Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board (1998)
  • John W. Crawford Award for Outstanding Technical Staff Performance, Inaugural Recipient, S. Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board (1996)
  • Navy Commendation Medal, U.S. Navy (1996)
  • Navy Achievement Medal, U.S. Navy (1987)
  • Selected to Senior Executive Service (1993)

Additional Information

Detailed profile – Vanderbilt University

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