Nuclear entrepreneur earns 2018 Outstanding Engineering Alumni Award


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Kenneth Lindquist, who earned his masters and doctorate from Penn State in nuclear engineering in ’67 and ’71 respectively, has been named a 2018 Outstanding Engineering Alumni.

With a professional career spanning more than 40 years, Lindquist is accomplished as both a nuclear engineer and an entrepreneur. On receiving the highest honored bestowed by the College of Engineering, he said, “I’m very pleased to be thought of as an outstanding graduate of a great institution.”

When initially looking for graduate programs during his senior year at Marietta College, he was intrigued by the burgeoning field of nuclear engineering. “It looked like nuclear energy was riding a wave that would never crest,” he explained. “I picked Penn State [in 1965] because they had the first on-campus nuclear reactor of any university.”

Today, the University remains one of the few in the United States with a research reactor. That, Lindquist said, is a unique strength of Penn State’s curriculum. “The graduate education I received was probably the best I could have gotten anywhere in the world,” he said. “I was able to learn from the incredible faculty who gravitated toward that reactor.”

A testament to his education, Lindquist was able to reach exceptional heights in the nuclear energy profession after his graduation. After helping to successfully launch Indian Point 2, a nuclear reactor located in Westchester County, New York, he started his own company, the Northeast Technology Corp (NETCO). He remained at the helm of NETCO for 30 years and subsequently became an internationally-renowned expert on neutron absorber materials.

These materials are critical since spent nuclear fuels need to be safely stored once they’ve been used at reactor sites. “There’s been more and more need for places to put these materials,” Lindquist explained. With proposed federal repositories failing to materialize, Lindquist designed and patented the NETCO Snap-In to help alleviate the problem. Installed within existing storage fuel racks, this product is able to greatly maximize storage capabilities, saving plants millions of dollars.

“Now, some 20,000 Snap-Ins have been ordered and installed at quite a few plants around the country,” he said. He even wrote the “bible” on this subject, “Neutron Absorber Materials for the Wet and Dry Storage of Nuclear Fuels” for the Electric Power Research Institute.

Although the landscape for nuclear power has evolved throughout his career, Lindquist remains passionate about its potential. “Nuclear is still the future for electricity generation in the US,” he said. “I hope that when people realize how much we need to help the climate and environment, the situation is going to change.”

Today, Lindquist splits his time between Hudson Valley, New York and State College with his wife Mary Alice and their dog. After selling NETCO to Curtiss-Wright, a global product manufacturer in 1994, Lindquist also continues to work part-time for the company. “The rest of the time, I’m enjoying myself!” he laughed.


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College of Engineering Media Relations

Kenneth Lindquist

Kenneth Lindquist, nuclear engineer and entrepreneur.

“Nuclear is still the future for electricity generation in the US. I hope that when people realize how much we need to help the climate and environment, the situation is going to change.”



The Ken and Mary Alice Lindquist Department of Nuclear Engineering at Penn State is one of the top ranked nuclear engineering programs in the United States. The department distinguishes itself with a strong focus on experimental research. The actively growing department leads four educational programs for students pursuing a bachelor of science, a master of science, a master of engineering, or a doctoral degree. The Radiation Science and Engineering Center (RSEC) facilities, including the Breazeale Reactor, are available to nuclear engineering faculty and students at Penn State for research and instruction. RSEC houses the Breazeale Nuclear Reactor, the country’s first and longest operating licensed nuclear research reactor. Having access to an operating research reactor is a key strength for the department and enables Penn State to harness research and educational opportunities that are unique in the United States. See how we’re inspiring change and impacting tomorrow at

Department of Nuclear Engineering

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The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802-4400

Phone: 814-863-6222