The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) announced in October the winners of its annual education awards. The awards are designed to enhance academic programs in nuclear forensics-related disciplines and develop a new generation of highly-skilled nuclear forensics scientists to help secure the Nation against nuclear terrorism.
The Nuclear Forensics Education Award Program (NFEAP) grant was awarded to Oregon State University (OSU). The NFEAP provides grants to colleges and universities to support educational programs in analytical, geological, and radiochemistry; nuclear physics and engineering; and materials science. With this grant, OSU will develop an interdisciplinary, research-focused graduate emphasis in nuclear forensics, drawing upon faculty members and their expertise from its Nuclear Engineering and Radiation Health Physics, Chemistry, and Materials Science Departments, its state-of-the art research laboratory, and partnerships with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), and Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL).
DHS also announced grants under the Nuclear Forensics Junior Faculty Award Program (NFJFAP) to professors at Clemson University, the Colorado School of Mines, and the University of Missouri at Columbia. The NFJFAP helps universities promote, recruit, and retain qualified personnel to teach within nuclear forensics-related degree programs and contribute to associated research and development projects which support the U.S. Government’s nuclear forensics mission. NFJFAP recipients will partner with LLNL, Savannah River National Laboratory, and LANL on nuclear forensics research projects aimed at advancing techniques to analyze nuclear materials and relevant stages of the nuclear fuel cycle. This work will contribute to the nation’s capability to trace illicitly trafficked nuclear materials to their place of origin.
The NFJFAP and the NFEAP are part of the National Nuclear Forensics Expertise Development Program (NNFEDP), launched by DHS in 2008 and codified in the 2010 Nuclear Forensics and Attribution Act (Public Law 111-140). The NNFEDP is the U.S. Government’s comprehensive effort to grow and sustain the technical expertise that is required to execute the Nation’s nuclear forensics mission.