Dr. Kenneth Allen

Dr. Kenneth (Ken) Allen

Professor of Nuclear Engineering



Dr. (LTC/R) Ken Allen, PhD PE is a Professor with the Department of Physics and Nuclear Engineering at the United States Military Academy, West Point, NY. He graduated from USMA in 1993 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering. He was an aviation officer who served in B Co., 3-23 Av Hunter Army Airfield, GA as a UH-60 helicopter flight platoon leader and an assistant battalion operations officer. Dr. Allen served as a Company Commander for A Co. 78th Aviation Bn, Camp Zama, Japan. He earned a Master of Science degree in Nuclear Engineering from The University of Florida in 2003. He was an assistant professor in the West Point Department of Physics from 2003 – 2006 teaching core physics and nuclear engineering. After leaving the department, he served two years as a reactor operator supervisor and senior reactor operator for the TRIGA research reactor at the Armed Forces Radiobiological Research Institute, Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences, Bethesda MD. In 2008, he was selected to be an Academy Professor in the Department of Physics and Nuclear Engineering. In 2011, Dr. Allen completed his PhD at the University of South Carolina where his dissertation research involved designing an innovative sodium cooled fast reactor for the destruction of minor actinides in used nuclear fuel. He retired from active duty in 2017, but stayed with the department where he currently serves as director of the Nuclear Engineering program. Dr. Allen is a member of the American Nuclear Society, American Society of Engineering Education, Society of Physics Students, Phi Kappa Phi, and Tau beta Pi. In addition to teaching, he is an avid Ironman triathlete and the Officer in Charge for the USMA triathlon club.

Ongoing Research Projects

Currently working with the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the Army G4 to develop and employ Mobile Micro Nuclear Power Plants (MMNP).  Since 2017, conducted and published research in the areas of the feasibility of MMNP in support of military operations, and the design of ancillary systems to include transportation and shielding necessary for a MMNP system.  Continues to examine the use of the MMNP systems in support of forward deployed fix bases to reduce the transportation and cost burden of fossil fuel power generation systems and for domestic disaster response power generation needs.  Prof Ken Allen is working with the USACE Nuclear Power Branch on the creation of an MOA between USMA and USACE for USMA to assist in the establishment of curriculum and training requirements for the Army’s Nuclear Power School (building Army talent).  As an expert in nuclear power generation design and engineering, Prof Allen may also be asked to assist USACE in the technical evaluation of competitive industry designs for MMNP during the Army’s selection process.

Publications & Presentations

Lanzerotti, M., Brakke, K.  Allen, K., Harke, J.  “Bursting of Molten Steel Thick Films in a Steel Plate Illuminated by a High Energy Laser.”  Submitted for publication to Applied Physics Letters, American Institute of Physics.  July 2019 Vol 115, 043702.

Allen, K. S., Hartman, S., Sexton, G. Thomas, R.  Automated Remote Control for Detector System on USMA Subcritical Assembly.  in Transactions American Nuclear Society Annual Conference. 2019, ANS:  Minneapolis, MN.

Allen, K. S.  Importance of Professional Engineering Licensure for Nuclear Engineers.  ANS Annual Winter Meeting, in Transactions American Nuclear Society Annual Conference. 2018, ANS: Orlando, FL.

Allen, K.S. and Huff B. K., Early Introduction of Computational Methods in Undergraduate Nuclear Engineering, in Transactions American Nuclear Society Annual Conference. 2018, ANS: Philadelphia, PA. p. 43-46.

Allen, K.S., Hartford S. K., and Merkel G. J., Feasibility Study of a Micro Modular Reactor for Military Ground Applications. Journal of Defense Management, 2018. Vol. 8-172.

​Read Jr, C. M., Knight, T. W., & Allen, K. S. Development of a multi-tiered recycling strategy with a sodium-cooled Heterogeneous Innovative Burner Reactor. Progress in Nuclear Energy, January 2013 Vol. 62-0, 72-78.

Allen, K. S., Read, C. M., and T. W. Knight. Design of an Equilibrium Core 1000 MWt Sodium-Cooled Heterogeneous Innovative Burner Reactor. Nuclear Engineering and Design January 2012, Vol. 242-1: 108-114.

Read, C. M., T. W. Knight, and K. S. Allen. Using a modified CINDER90 routine in MCNPX 2.6.0 for the prediction of helium production in minor actinide targets. Nuclear Engineering and Design December 2011, Vol. 241 (12): 5033-5038.

Allen, K. S., T. W. Knight, and S. E. Bays. 2011. Benchmark of Advanced Burner Test Reactor Model Using MCNPX 2.6.0 and ERANOS 2.1. Progress in Nuclear Energy August 2011, Vol. 53 (6):633-644

Allen, K. S., T. W. Knight, and S. E. Bays. 2011. Actinide Destruction and Power Peaking Analysis in a 1000 MWt Advanced Burner Reactor Using Moderated Heterogeneous Target Assemblies. Progress in Nuclear Energy May 2011, Vol. 53 (4):375-394

Allen, K., and T. Knight. 2010. Destruction rate analysis of transuranic targets in sodium-cooled fast reactor (SFR) assemblies using MCNPX and SCALE 6.0. Progress in Nuclear Energy May 2010, Vol. 52 (4):387-394.

Allen, K. and Knight, T. “Predictive Model of the Destruction of Transuranic Targets in a Sodium-Cooled Fast Reactor using MCNPX” Advances in Nuclear Fuel Management IV (ANFM 2009) Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, USA, April 12-15, 2009, on CD-ROM, American Nuclear Society, LaGrange Park, IL (2009)

Moretti B., Naessens E. and Allen K., “Using an Engineering Design Problem to Assess Attainment of Life-Long Learning.” The International Journal of Engineering Education, February 2007, Vol. 23-1, 131-140.

Naessens E., Allen K. and Moretti B., “Use of 240-Pu Waste as a Burnable Absorber in Light Water Reactors.” Nuclear Science and Engineering, March 2006 Vol. 152-3: 306-313.

Allen K. and Naessens E., “Monte Carlo-based Analysis for the Transmutation of Transuaranic Waste Recycled in Light Water Reactors.” Nuclear Technology, December 2005 Vol. 152-3: 354-366.

Allen K. and Naessens E., “Transmutation of Transuranic Waste Recycled in Light Water Reactors.” ANS Transactions, 2005 92: 269-270.

Allen K., Naessens E., and Moretti B., “Use of Transuranics as Burnable Absorbers in Light Water Reactors.” ANS Transactions, 2005 92: 271-272.

Allen K, Baney R, Butt, D., Kim J., and Tulekno, J. (2003) “An Advanced Burnable Poison for Pressurized Water Reactors.” Proceedings of the Advances in Nuclear Fuel Management III conference. Oct 2003.

Allen, K, Baney R, Butt, D., Kim J., and Tulekno, J. (2002) “Advanced Burnable Poisons in Pressurized Water Reactors.” ANS Transactions 2002 87: 328-329.

Tulenko J, Baney R, Allen K., et. al. (2003) “An Advanced Poison Material for Burnable Poison Rod Assemblies and Spent Fuel Shipping Containers.” Annual Report for the Department of Energy Nuclear Engineering Education Research Program DE-FG07-011D14117. Sep 2003