In February 1994 Alexander Roman Sich was awarded a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on a broad reappraisal and forensic reconstruction of the so-called “Active Phase” (high-release period) of the Chornobyl Accident. Dr. Sich spent a unique one and one-half years (Nov 91 – Apr 93) living in the town of Chornobyl as the first western researcher permitted to work closely with members of the Chornobyl Complex Expedition—the small group of Russian and Ukrainian scientists studying the remains of the ill-fated Unit-4 reactor.
In his dissertation, Dr. Sich confirmed earlier suspicions by western experts that more radioactivity was released because of the accident than claimed by the Soviets in August 1986 at the IAEA-sponsored meeting of experts in Vienna. Most surprising: Soviet interventions during the early days following the accident (in a desperate attempt to contain radioactivity releases) were generally ineffective and misrepresented to the West. Moreover, Dr. Sich concluded that while the core experienced a full meltdown, it subsequently solidified by itself (i.e., no direct human intervention)—halting the release of radioactivity and doing little damage to the lower regions of the reactor building. While unfortunate this occurred on the level of an industrial nuclear power core meltdown, it nonetheless demonstrated that a so-called “China Syndrome” was impossible.
Prior to his doctoral work, Dr. Sich earned a Bachelor of Science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1984, majoring in nuclear engineering and minoring in physics. In 1992 he earned a Master of Arts from Harvard University in Soviet Studies. In May 2011 Dr. Sich was awarded a second Master of Arts degree in Philosophy from Holy Apostles College and Seminary.
After graduating from MIT and following a five-month training stint with the Army Reserve, Dr. Sich worked for two years as an Associate Banker at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) for the Nuclear Safety Account (NSA). (The NSA is a multi-lateral grant-funding mechanism supplying nuclear safety hardware upgrades for Soviet-designed reactors.)
In June 1996 Dr. Sich joined the U.S. Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory as Program Coordinator in Washington, D.C., in preparation for a three- and one-half-year assignment as Head of the Kyiv Adjunct Office for the Department of Energy’s International Nuclear Safety Program (INSP). In February 1997 Dr. Sich and his family relocated to Kyiv, Ukraine for this assignment.
In August 2000 Dr. Sich accepted a position as a senior project manager (coordinator) for the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant’s internationally-financed Shelter Implementation Plan (SIP)—at first, responsible at first for the health and safety portion of the project (US$ 136 million over the life of the SIP), and then for the “Ukrainian Contribution” portion of the project (US$ 50 million). (The mandate of the SIP was to transform the Chernobyl Sarcophagus into an environmentally safe system, whose first major stage—the covering of the destroyed reactor building, was completed in 2017.)
In September 2003 Dr. Sich started his next assignment as senior regional project coordinator (Senior Specialist) with the Scientific and Technical Center in Ukraine (STCU)—an intergovernmental organization with the status of a diplomatic mission, established in 1993 by several western donor countries and the European Union, together with Ukraine as a founding recipient member. Subsequently, Uzbekistan, Georgia, and Azerbaijan also acceded to the international STCU Agreement as recipient states. The Center finances projects which convert the military know-how of the scientists of its recipient states into peaceful civilian applications. Specifically, it supports the R&D activities of Azeri, Georgian, Ukrainian and Uzbek scientists and engineers once involved in developing weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery—with the goal of supporting the economic development of these countries by bringing up their scientific capabilities.
In August 2009 Dr. Sich accepted the position of Associate Professor of Physics at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, where he also taught science survey, engineering, Honors Program (Ancient Greeks and Romans), and philosophy of nature courses. Dr. Sich was promoted to Full Professor in May 2014.
For the 2014-15 Academic year, Dr. Sich was awarded the Fulbright Scholar Program’s Teaching and Research Fellowship to teach Aristotelian-Thomist philosophy of nature at the Ukrainian Catholic University, L’viv, Ukraine and to research pre- and post-Soviet ontological conceptions of the objects studied by the natural sciences.
In April 2018 Dr. Sich accepted the position of Teacher of Mathematics and Science at the Atlanta Classical Academy, a charter school based on the vision of Hillsdale College’s Barney Charter School Initiative to form the minds and improve the hearts of young people through a rigorous, classical education in the liberal arts and sciences, with instruction in the principles of moral character and civic virtue.
In July 2020 Alexander Sich accepted the position of Assistant Professor of Physics (Lecturer) at Kennesaw State University, GA. The “wind in the sails” for Dr. Sich is having undergraduates experience and reflect upon the order and beauty of nature through learning physics.
Dr. Sich has traveled extensively in Bulgaria, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Lithuania, Armenia, Georgia and Great Britain. Other countries include Belgium, Croatia, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Tajikistan. He and his family lived in Ukraine during three separate long-term periods for over fourteen years (including during the collapse of the Soviet Union and Ukraine’s “Orange Revolution”), and two years in London. Dr. Sich is married with seven children and four grandchildren, speaks near-native fluent Ukrainian and is competent in Russian.