Mr. Cashwell is an experimental nuclear engineer who has specialized in nuclear reactor operator training and education, as well as neutron activation analysis techniques and other research reactor applications (e.g., neutron radiography and imaging).
As a consulting examiner, Cashwell audits operators and training programs at both research and power reactors. Operators must constantly train to requalify for their licenses. Cashwell gives the same exam as the Nuclear Regulatory Commission but also offers feedback to those tested. His work has taken him to about half of the nuclear power plants in the United States, bringing valuable real-world experience to the department while helping finance research.
Cashwell uses the reactor lab's many applications to assist a variety of clients from research and industry. For example, samples of everything from fish and soil to animal hair and dairy products have been examined to determine suspected or unknown contents. Using the technique of neutron activation analysis, a sample is bombarded with neutrons harvested from the nuclear reactor. Through the process of gamma ray spectrometry, gamma rays emitted from the sample reveal the material's makeup.