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CCEE student receives scholarship award for research in the disposal of cemented liquid radioactive wastes

Zapata received the ESCSI 2021-22 John Ries Scholarship Award

CCEE master’s student Javier Zapata received a scholarship award from the Expanded Shale, Clay and Slate Institute (ESCSI) for his research in the disposal of cemented liquid radioactive wastes. The annual award celebrates the work of John Ries, retired Technical Director of ESCSI, who was named as one the 2018 Most Influential People in the Concrete Industry.

Zapata said winning the award was very special and exciting.

“The John Ries Award is a very competitive and attractive scholarship for many civil engineering students in the United States that requires exceptional fulfillment in several aspects to be considered and chosen, which is why I am honored and proud to receive this award,” he said. “I would like to thank the ESCSI for the award, as well as Dr. Moe Pour-Ghaz of CCEE and Dr. Robert Hayes of Nuclear Engineering at NC State University for their support.”

Pour-Ghaz, who serves as Zapata’s advisor alongside Hayes, called Zapata a brilliant student. His research aims at providing long-term sequestration of liquid nuclear waste as well as demonstrating a novel, attractive solution for geological disposal of cemented liquid radioactive wastes with an environmentally friendly product and with minimal associated costs. 

“This technology has many broad impacts,” Pour-Ghaz said. “We are thrilled and honored that ESCSI has selected Javier for the John Ries Scholarship Award and would like to thank ESCI for this!”

Zapata is a civil engineer from Colombia with experience working for international cement companies, concrete and cement associations, quality control in cementitious materials and in the precast concrete industry. He is working toward a Master of Science in Civil Engineering focused on cementitious materials.