MSU to Provide Talent for National Nuclear Security Pipeline

With the threat posed by the potential proliferation of nuclear weapons, the Federal government is taking steps to ensure the safety of the nation and the entire world. And Michigan State University will be there to help.

Last week, the Department of Energy’s national Nuclear Security Administration recently announced a five-year, $25-million grant to educate students for the nation’s nuclear security and non-proliferation needs. The Nuclear Science and Security Consortium (NSSC) will focus on education and hands-on training of undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral students in the core set of experimental disciplines that support this mission: nuclear physics, nuclear chemistry, nuclear instrumentation, and nuclear engineering.

Led by the University of California – Berkeley, Michigan State University will be joined by the University of Nevada, Las Vegas; Washington University, Saint Louis; three other University of California campuses (Davis, Irvine and San Diego); and UC’s Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation.

“MSU’s role is one of the sources for the pipeline of talented researchers who can take positions at the U.S. National Laboratories to solve some of the greatest challenges of U.S. national security,” said Brad Sherrill, Chief Scientist of the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams at MSU and leader of the MSU team on the NSSC project. “MSU is the top nuclear physics graduate program in the Nation and hence is one of the top places where students learn about nuclear science. This makes MSU a natural partner in such a venture.”

Along with MSU, the SUCCESS PIPELINE NSSC (Seven Universities Coordinating Coursework and Experience from Student to Scientist in a Partnership for Identifying and Preparing Educated Laboratory-Integrated Nuclear Experts) will pool some of the nation’s leading educational and research resources in physics, chemistry, nuclear engineering, and public policy, and devise collaborative mechanisms for attracting highly qualified students and preparing them to become leaders in the nation’s nuclear security workforce.

Students at all levels will be able to work on current nonproliferation projects at the Lawrence Berkeley, Lawrence Livermore, Los Alamos, and Sandia National Laboratories.

The Nuclear Science and Security Consortium is planning a series of workshops and summer schools that will be organized on topical areas critical to nuclear security. Teaching will be accompanied by an active research component so that students get firsthand experience with advanced theoretical and experimental techniques. Opportunities for graduates are expected to include nuclear-security mission areas at national laboratories. The NSSC will also provide adjunct teaching appointments for national laboratory staff, and will work to establish more joint university/laboratory faculty positions.

“We are excited about the chance to work with other top universities in nuclear engineering, nuclear chemistry, and nuclear policy to develop educational programs,” said Sherrill. “It is also a great opportunity to offer our students the chance for a broader educational experience.”

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