Grant Awarded for Training the Next Generation of Nuclear Scientists

Students in the Nuclear Analytical Techniques Summer School use the Crocker Nuclear Laboratory.
Students in the Nuclear Analytical Techniques Summer School learn techniques at the Crocker Nuclear Laboratory.

Students from around the United States will receive education and training in nuclear science at UC Davis thanks to a $25 million grant from the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration to the Nuclear Science and Security Consortium (NSSC).

UC Davis is one of 11 universities in the consortium, which is led by UC Berkeley. This is the third such grant — $5 million per year for five years — awarded to the consortium since it launched in 2011. In that time, the NSSC has trained almost 400 students and postdoctoral scholars through hands-on training in nuclear science, technology and policy.

Nuclear facilities at UC Davis include the Crocker Nuclear Laboratory and the McClellan Nuclear Research Center. The Department of Physics and Astronomy also offers a Nuclear Analytical Techniques summer school, funded by the consortium.

The mission of the NSSC is to prepare the next generation of nuclear scientists and engineers, while engaging in research and development that directly support the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) nuclear security and nonproliferation missions.

“Under NSSC, UC Davis has placed about a dozen graduate students and postdoctoral scholars in research positions at various national  labs,” said Mani Tripathi, professor of physics and principal investigator for the consortium at UC Davis. Bob Svoboda, professor of physics at UC Davis, is also a collaborator on the project.

The consortium focuses on five research focus areas: nuclear physics and nuclear data; radiochemistry and nuclear chemistry; nuclear material science; radiation detection; nuclear chemical engineering and nuclear engineering. Linking these research areas are two crosscutting efforts: computing and optimization in nuclear applications; and education in nuclear science, technology and policy.

“A strong pipeline of new technical talent for our laboratories is critical to our mission of supporting U.S. national security objectives in reducing global nuclear security threats,” said Kasia Mendelsohn, Acting Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation at NNSA.

— Adapted by Becky Oskin, content strategist in the College of Letters and Science, from a story by the Department of Energy