Commitment to Nuclear Power Safety and Disaster Response Garners 2012 Federal Engineer of the Year Award

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Stacey A. Ober
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Friday, February 24, 2012

Steven Arndt, Ph.D., P.E., a senior technical advisor with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, has been named the National Society of Professional Engineers' 2012 Federal Engineer of the Year. Arndt received the honor during the 33rd Annual FEYA Banquet at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on February 23, 2012.

"It's an incredible honor," said Arndt, shortly after he was named the winner. "It's very prestigious, something that's very important to help educate the community on what federal engineers do. We in the federal government don't always have a lot of opportunity to highlight the incredibly good engineering work we do. I'm really surprised and I really appreciate the NSPE for honoring me in this way." 

Functioning as senior technical advisor to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Arndt helps ensure the safe operation of nuclear power plants both in the United States and around the world. During the Fukushima disaster last year, he worked as a severe accident analyst with the NRC's Operation Center as it supported the Japanese government and the U.S. ambassador's office. Arndt also led the U.S. analysis of the Japanese report to the International Ministerial Conference and supported the prioritization of NRC near-term recommendations for U.S. plants. He has also served on the U.S. delegation to the International Electrotechnical Commission and supported the development of International Atomic Energy Agency safety standards.

Within the U.S., he has led the development of new regulatory guidance for use of digital systems at the nation's 104 operating nuclear plants. This has included new methods to assess the reliability of safety critical digital systems, criteria for online monitoring technologies, and guidance to support the introduction of new digital safety systems.

"On behalf of the NRC, we want to congratulate Dr. Arndt," said David Skeen, director of the Japan Lessons-Learned Project Directorate and Arndt's award presenter. "The NRC has a reputation as one of the most technically competent nuclear regulatory authorities in the world and I think he exemplifies the type of engineers that work at the NRC. He is as great a person as he is an engineer."

In addition to this work, Arndt is a Colonel in the Maryland Defense Force and serves as the regimental commander of the 121st Engineering Regiment. This unit provides engineering support to the Maryland Army and Air Force National Guard, including for example, providing damage assessment teams in support of the Maryland Military Department during Hurricane Irene. He also provides volunteer support to his alma mater, Ohio State University, by sitting on the Nuclear Engineering Program Industrial Advisory Committee and Mechanical Engineering Department Advisory Committee where he offers advice on undergraduate and graduate curriculum, research, placement of graduates, and development of new programs. 

As a result of his exemplary service and contributions to his profession, Arndt has received much prestigious recognition and numerous awards, including being appointed to the Maryland State Board for Professional Engineers in 2006, the Distinguished Service Award from the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying in 2011, and several awards for meritorious service and performance within the NRC. He holds a bachelor's degree in engineering physics, and master's and doctoral degrees in nuclear engineering, all from Ohio State University. He is a member of numerous organizations including NSPE, the American Nuclear Society, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Arndt is active in his local community through the United Methodist Church where he is a volunteer church leader and serves as a lay speaker for the church, supporting worship service support to other churches.

A panel of judges established by NSPE's Professional Engineers in Government selects the FEYA winner. Hailing from various federal agencies, departments, and military branches, the nominated engineers are evaluated based on factors such as engineering achievements, education, professional and technical society activities, awards and honors, and civic and humanitarian activities. For more information about the program or how to submit nominations for 2013, contact Erin Garcia-Reyes at or 703-684-2884.

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The National Society of Professional Engineers is the national society of licensed professional engineers from all disciplines that promotes the ethical and competent practice of engineering, advocates licensure, and enhances the image and well-being of its members. Founded in 1934, NSPE has been promoting professional excellence for over 75 years. NSPE serves more than 43,000 members and the public through 53 state and territorial societies and more than 500 chapters. For more information, please visit

EDITOR'S NOTE: Digital photos of Arndt, the ceremony, and additional award winners are currently available.