Dr. Brian A. Powell has expertise in the understanding and prediction of the physical, chemical, and biological processes which govern the mobility of radionuclides in natural and engineered systems through his research in the Department of Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences at Clemson University as well as previous work at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. He has a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Montevallo, and M.S. and Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering and Science from Clemson University. He holds memberships in the American Chemical Society, American Geophysical Union, Geological Society of America, Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors, and Sigma Xi. At Clemson University, Dr. Powell teaches courses in Actinide Environmental Chemistry, Environmental Radiation Protection (Lecture and Laboratory courses), Introductory Health Physics, Geochemistry, and Geochemical Reaction Modeling.
His research focuses on biogeochemical processes controlling radionuclide behavior in the environment such as sorption by minerals, interactions with nano-colloids, complexation by organic ligands, and interactions with microorganisms. He has published over 30 refereed journal publications,16 research reports, and made over 50 technical presentations on these topical areas. He has conducted sponsored research in a wide range of projects dealing with topics of nuclear forensics, evaluation of nanoparticle behavior, sorption and environmental transport of plutonium, development of radiation detection and radiation detection laboratory courses, iodine, radium, strontium geochemistry in wetland and subsurface sediments, radionuclide geochemistry of saltstone and solid waste performance assessments at the Savannah River Site, measurement of thermodynamic parameters supporting advanced fuel cycle chemistry, and related topics. These research projects have received over $6M in funding from the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Department of Homeland Security, the National Nuclear Security Agency, and Savannah River Nuclear Services (through the South Carolina Universities Education and Research Foundation). The knowledge gained from this work can be used to evaluate risk posed by subsurface contamination, to design remediation strategies for contaminated sites, and to facilitate the use of safe disposal practices.
Hixon, A.E.; Arai, Y.; Powell, B.A., “Examination of the effect of alpha radiolysis of plutonium(V) sorption to quartz using multiple plutonium isotopes,” Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, 2013, DOI: 10.1016/j.jcis.2013.04.007.
Begg, J. D., Zavarin, M., Zhao, P., Tumey, S. J., Powell, B. A., Kersting, A. B., “Pu(V) and Pu(IV) sorption to montmorillonite” Environmental Science and Technology, In Press, 2013.
Estes, S. L., Arai, Y., Becker, U., Fernando, S., Yuan, K., Ewing, R. C., Zhang, J., Shibata, T., Powell, B. A. “A Self-Consistent Model Describing the Thermodynamics of Eu(III) Adsorption onto Hematite” Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, In Review, 2013.
Fein, J. and Powell, B. A., “Uranium adsorption: Speciation at Mineral-Water and bacterial cell-water interfaces”. Chapter 5 in Uranium: Cradle to Grave (Eds. Peter C. Burns, Ginger E. Sigmon) Mineralogical Association of Canada, 2013.
Chen, R., Powell, B. A., Mortimer, M., Ke, P., “Adaptive Interactions between Zinc Oxide Nanoparticles and Chlorella sp.” Environmental Science and Technology, 46(21), 12178-12185, 2012.
Zavarin, M., Powell, B. A., Bourbin, M., Zhao, P., Kersting, A. B., “Np(V) and PuV) Ion Exchange on Montmorillonite", Environ. Sci. Tech., 46, 2692-2698, 2012.
Powell, B. A., Dai, Z., Zavarin, M. Z., Zhao, P., Kersting, A. B. “Stabilization of Plutonium Nano-colloids by Epitaxial Distortion on Mineral Surfaces” Environ. Sci. Tech., 45, 2698-2703, 2011.
Tinnacher, R. M., Powell, B. A., Kersting, A. B., Zavarin, M. “Kinetics of Neptunium(V) Sorption and Desorption Reactions on Goethite: Experiment and Modeling” Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 75, 6854-6599, 2011
Kaplan, D. I., Roberts, K. A., Schwehr, K. A., Lilley, M. S., Brinkmeyer, R., Denham, M. E., DiPrete, D., Li, H., Powell, B. A., Xu, C., Yeager, C. M., Zhang, S., Santschi, P. H. “Cause of a Multi-species Radioiodine Plume that is Increasing in Concentration” Environ. Sci. Tech., 45(2), 489-495, 2011.
Zhao, P., Zavarin, M., Leif, R., Powell, B. A., Singleton, M., Lindvall, R., Kersting, A. “Mobilization of Actinides by Dissolved Organic Compounds at the Nevada Test Site” Applied Geochemistry, 26, 208-218, 2011.
Powell B. A., Rao, L., Nash, K. L. “Effect of 1-hydroxyethane-1,1-diphosphonic acid (HEDPA) on Partitioning of Np and Pu to Synthetic Boehmite” Sep. Sci. Tech., 45, 1-11, 2010.
Hixon, A. E., Hu, Y., Kaplan, D. I., Kukkadapu, R. K., Nitsche, H., Qafoku, O., Powell, B. A., “Infleunce of Iron Redox Transformations on Plutonium Sorption to Sediments” Radiochimica Acta, 98, 685-692, 2010
Seliman, A. F., Borai, E. H., Lasheen, Y. F., Abo-aly, M. M., DeVol, T. A., Powell, B. A., “Mobility of radionuclides in soil/groundwater system: Comparing the influence of EDTA and four of its degradation products” Environmental Pollution, 158, 3077-3084, 2010.
Powell B. A., Rao, L., Nash, K. L. “Examination of Uranium(VI) Leaching During Ligand Promoted Dissolution of Waste Tank Sludge Surrogates” Sep. Sci. Tech., 43, 1-15, 2008.
Kaplan, D. I., Powell, B. A., Duff, M., Demirkanli, D. I., Denham, M., Fjeld, R. A., Molz, F. J. “Influence of Sources on Plutonium Mobility and Oxidation State Transformations in Vadose Zone Sediments” Env. Sci. Tech., 41, 7417-7423, 2007.
Powell, B. A., Hughes, L. D., Soreefan, A. M., Falta, D. M., Wall, M., DeVol, T. A. “Analysis of Promordial Radionuclides in Sediments from the Reedy River and Surrounding Creeks in Simpsonville, SC,” J. Env. Radio., 94(3), 121-128, 2007.
Reed, W. A., Rao, L., Zanonato, P. L., Garnov, A. Y., Powell, B. A., Nash, K. “Complexation of U(VI) with 1-Hydroxy-1,1-ethanediphosphonic acid (HEDPA),” Inorg. Chem., 46, 2870-2786, 2007.
Powell, B. A., Duff, M. C., Kaplan, D. I., Bertsch, P. M., Coates, J. T., Eng, P., Fjeld, R. A., Hunter, D. B., Newville, M., Rivers, M. L., Serkiz, S. M., Sutton, S. R., Triay, I. R., Vaniman, D. T. “Plutonium Oxidation and Subsequent Reduction by Mn(IV) Minerals in Yucca Mt. Tuff,” Env. Sci. Tech., 40(11), 3508-3514, 2006.
Powell BA, Fjeld RA, Kaplan DI, Coates JT, Serkiz SM. 2005. Pu(V)O2+ adsorption and reduction on synthetic goethite and hematite. Env. Sci. Tech., 39(7):2107–2114.
Hughes, L. D., Powell, B. A., Soreefan, A. M., Falta, D. M., DeVol, T. A. “Anomalously High Levels of Uranium and Other Naturally Occurring Radionuclides in Private Wells in the Peidmont Region of South Carolina,” Health Physics, 88(3), 248-252, 2005.
Department of Energy, Early Career Research Program Award, 2013-2018
Sigma Xi Young Investigator of the Year, 2011
Best Poster Presentation Prize, 12th International Conference on the Chemistry and Migration Behavior of Actinides and Fission Products in the Geosphere, 2009
W. R. Heatley Jr. Annual Fellowship, Clemson University, 2004
R.C. Edwards Fellowship, Clemson University, 1999-2000
Dean’s Scholarship in Chemistry, University of Montevallo, 1995-1999