This year’s MIT Infinite Mile Award Ceremony took place on May 16th, celebrating a select group of MIT employees who report to the Office of the Provost, Chancellor, Vice President of Research, and Dean for Graduate Education. These employees were selected for their extraordinary contributions within their own organizations to help the Institute carry out its mission. Among this year's award winners was Mechanical Engineer and Shift Supervisor, Adam Grein, of the MIT Nuclear Reactor Lab (NRL).
Over his 12 years spent as a mechanical engineer at the MIT NRL, Adam has made significant contributions to the safety and reliability of the facility, helping to ensure maximum reactor readiness to fulfil the mission of the NRL’s research programs. These contributions have been wide in scope, with technical depth beyond the standard mechanical engineer position. In addition to his outstanding engineering capabilities, he is licensed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission as a Senior Reactor Operator and is also a Shift Supervisor at the facility, helping out with team efforts that span various disciplines.
Adam’s growth as a mechanical engineer during his time at the NRL has been remarkable. He takes on projects that have a wide variety of tasks, such as the recent core purge system upgrade. This project significantly increased reactor reliability by installing a backup vacuum pump as well as relocating major components where they can be serviced even while the reactor is operating. The key feature of this upgrade was installing an automatic system for collecting and recycling condensate, which is then automatically pumped back into the primary coolant storage tank. This recycling effort has reduced the amount of wastewater produced by the reactor.
Without prompting, Adam took the initiative to complete an extensive upgrade of both reactor auxiliary ventilation dampers. This involved replacing a manual cable and pulley system with a magnetic system designed to hold the dampers open, allowing them to be hydraulically reset. Many reactor staff members physically struggled when trying to reset the manual system; Adam’s self-starter attitude towards this upgrade not only increased reactor reliability but eliminated the risk of personnel injury.
Adam continues to broaden his horizons when it comes to the projects he takes on. One of his current projects involves upgrading radiation monitors located in the reactor stack to detect any activity in the outgoing air mass. The new system required constructing a small building equipped with standard and specialty equipment. With this project, Adam has added onto his role as a mechanical engineer proving himself to be a highly competent project manager as well.
Adam is always looking for ways to make improvements to reactor systems and can be routinely heard enthusiastically championing the “continual improvement” initiative at the NRL, which has become infectious throughout the lab. He has a talent for developing engineering solutions that are simple, yet highly cost effective and robust; often with much broader benefits, such as increasing safety and streamlining original reactor systems. Adam’s hands-on nature ensures that his engineering projects are user-friendly and easily serviceable.
These attributes enable Adam to go beyond the expectations for his position, making him an ideal recipient of the MIT Infinite Mile Award. We congratulate Adam on this accomplishment.
Click here to learn more about the MIT Infinite Mile Awards program, as well as read about previous winners.