The NSPE Award is the highest award given to an individual by the Society. It is presented to an engineer who has made outstanding contributions to the engineering profession, the public welfare, and humankind.
Past Recipients: See a complete list of recipients.
2020 NSPE Award Winner:
Steven Arndt, Ph.D., P.E., F.NSPE
A world-renowned authority in the field of nuclear engineering, Arndt has devoted more than 35 years of his professional life to nuclear safety. His expertise in nuclear power plant simulation, severe accident analysis, software reliability, cyber security, and digital instrumentation and control has benchmarked his career as an educator, consultant, and regulator. With extensive experience in in Russia and Ukraine, Arndt led U.S. support programs for the countries of the former Soviet Union following the Chernobyl accident in 1986. During the Fukushima accident in 2011, he worked with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Operation Center as it supported the Japanese government. He then helped prioritize the NRC’s near-term recommendations for U.S. plants, based on lessons learned from Fukushima.
Joining the NRC in 1988, Arndt currently serves as its senior technical advisor in the Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation. Within the U.S., he has facilitated development of new regulatory guidance for use of digital safety systems at the nation’s 104 operating nuclear plants. Arndt’s other notable assignments have included serving on the U.S. delegation to the International Electrotechnical Commission and promoting International Atomic Energy Agency safety standards. As another milestone, throughout his career as a full professor, he has taught full-time at the U.S. Naval Academy and part-time at both the University of Maryland and the University of Tennessee. As another milestone, throughout his career he found time to be an educator as well, teaching full-time at the U.S. Naval Academy and part-time at the University of Maryland and finally as an Adjunct Full Professor at the University of Tennessee.
Throughout his long and distinguished career, Arndt has advanced NRC’s capabilities and those of international regulatory agencies. For his achievements, he was presented the NRC Meritorious Service Award for Engineering Excellence in 1996 for his unique contributions in developing new simulation models and analysis tools. And for his leadership, knowledge, initiative, and dedication to improving all facets of nuclear safety, he was recognized with the NRC Distinguished Service Award in 2017.
Arndt has left his mark within NSPE ranks as well. Since 2007, he has served on NSPE Committee on Policy and Advocacy, the NSPE Honors and Awards Task Force, and as chair of the NSPE Professional Engineers in Government interest group. He is also the recipient of the NSPE Federal Engineer of the Year Award. Alongside his NSPE Fellow status, Arndt holds Fellow distinction in the American Nuclear Society, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Society for Quality. Other professional affiliations where he has shown leadership include the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the Accreditation for Engineering and Technology, and the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying. And in 2006, he was appointed to the Maryland Board for Professional Engineers, where he served as chair from 2015 to 2019.
Three of Arndt’s academic degrees — a bachelor’s in engineering physics and a master’s and doctorate in nuclear engineering — were earned at The Ohio State University, where he was honored by the OSU College of Engineering in 2004 as a distinguished alumnus. He also holds a master’s degree in reliability engineering from the University of Maryland. Aside from his engineering prowess, Arndt has served as a colonel in the Maryland Defense Force, a volunteer state military agency, and is active in the International Dyslexia Society, in addition to facilitating local church educational programs and other faith-based humanitarian initiatives.