UNLV’s radiochemistry program is partnering with the University of California, Berkeley and a consortium of universities and national laboratories for research and development in nuclear science and security.
The consortium is supported by a five-year, $25 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). This is the second round of funding for UNLV as part of the Berkeley-led team.
Radiochemistry professors Frederic Poineau, David Hatchett, and Ken Czerwinski lead UNLV's research team on the grant. According to Czerwinski, the university will receive close to $2 million over the next five years to advance research on nuclear forensics. The team will investigate and broaden our understanding of specific groups of radioactive elements and train students to properly handle and examine radioactive samples.
“NNSA pursues its mission in nuclear security through the application of world-class capabilities, and meets the evolving challenges of tomorrow through our commitment to innovation and research in the fundamental sciences needed to adapt to this dynamic yet enduring nonproliferation and nuclear security mission,” said Anne Harrington, NNSA Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation, in a release. “I am confident that more basic research efforts in academia will complement the applied efforts of the national laboratories and industry in supporting the critically important national security goals of our country.”
In addition to UNLV’s work, consortium members will focus on nuclear and particle physics, nuclear engineering, and nuclear instrumentation and radiation detection.
UNLV’s radiochemistry program, started in 2004, has quickly grown into one of the nation’s most respected programs of its kind for research and education. Radiochemists explore the radioactive and chemical characteristics of elements and compounds to address technical needs in many areas, including the behavior of contaminants in the environment, radioactive waste treatment and disposal, and the beneficial uses of radioactive materials throughout the medical profession.
Since 2010, the program has successfully hosted the Department of Energy sponsored Radiochemistry Fuel Cycle Summer School, and students have received 10 top placement awards in the DOE’s Innovations in Fuel Cycle Research Award competition. Graduates of the program routinely secure internships, positions, or other opportunities at Los Alamos National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.
Additional consortium members include Michigan State University; the University of California, Davis; the University of California, Irvine; George Washington University; Texas A&M University; and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. The eight universities are partnering with five national laboratories: Los Alamos National Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Sandia National Laboratories.