Robert (Bob) Prince died in Knoxville, Tennessee at age 76 on September 1, 2023. Bob’s death was announced by his wife Janet Prince, and his siblings David Prince, Alan Prince, and Patricia Prince Rose.

On a professional level, most of the world knew Bob as an energetic and innovative problem solver, an engineer and entrepreneur whose leadership facilitated building a commercial industry to safely dispose of the world’s nuclear waste. On a personal level, his family and friends witnessed his compassion, devotion, and commitment to those who filled his daily life. His life reflected his passion for his loved ones and his devotion to serving his country.

His educational background, his professional background, and his service to his country intertwined throughout his life. He was born into a navy family and raised in an environment of a life of service. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy, Class of 1970, commissioned as a naval officer, and shortly thereafter completed nuclear engineering training at the U.S. Navy Nuclear Power School in Idaho Falls, Idaho. With his certification as a naval nuclear engineer, his naval service included serving as a Nuclear Submarine Officer onboard the submarines the USS Narwhal Narwhal (SSN-671) Sturgeon Class and the USS George C. Marshall (SSBN-654) Benjamin Franklin Class. He served for six years on Nuclear submarines, prior to starting his civilian career.

In civilian life, he earned an Executive MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and focused his attention toward both national and global environmental stewardship and preservation for the nuclear industry. In 1984 he joined the General Physics Corporation where he founded General Technical Services, Inc, which later became Duartek, Incorporated. As President and CEO, Bob led the research, development, and commercial deployment of new technologies that safely immobilized high-level radioactive materials. Management of such projects, he said “is often all about people,” a belief he embraced throughout his career, saying it “articulated a common vision that is universally understood and consistently applied.”

He served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Nuclear Energy Institute, Aqua-Chem, Thermafiber, and MHF Services. In 1996, he was named Maryland’s Technology Entrepreneur of the Year.

Bob led the research, development, and commercial deployment of new technologies from a university and laboratory setting into commercial application. Always at the forefront of innovation, Bob partnered Duartek with The Catholic University of America, advancing the Vitreous State Laboratory to bring a safe form of nuclear waste disposal into the business world for global use. In 2004, “for his outstanding accomplishments, contributions, and leadership to the fields of industry and science and for his generous support of the university,” The Catholic University of America conferred upon Robert E. Prince the degree of Doctor of Commercial Science, honoris causa.

After his retirement from Duartek in 2006, Bob served as CEO of Gen4, providing the overall technical leadership for the commercial development of the GEN4 lead-bismuth eutectic (LBE) Advanced Reactor, spearheading the pre-conceptual development of the GEN4 reactor concept.

His professional travels spanned the world, and his personal life was enhanced by living in multiple locations throughout the United States and abroad. Living in California, Idaho, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Japan, Costa Rica, Panama, Mexico, and Great Britain exposed him to the richness of diversity, giving him a strong awareness of being a part of something greater than himself. He was well known for his undying devotion to his wife of 52 years Janet, and his passion for outdoor sports of sailing, kayaking, hiking, and scuba diving.

Through a passionate blending of family, business, engineering, and leadership, Bob’s life embodied the spirit of making this world a better place because he passed through. May he rest in peace knowing that he achieved his goal.

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made, in Bob’s name, to the group that helped him through his final days with dignity and grace:

The Activities Department
Ben Atchley TN State Veterans’ Home
One Veterans Way, Knoxville, TN 37931.

They accept cash, checks, money orders & cashier checks. They do not accept credit cards.

Bob's Memorial Service will be announced in the near future.

Updated: September 05, 2023
Curator: Ed Moore