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Summer School: College Students Tackle International Safeguards through NNSA Courses

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As colleges and universities across the nation begin the fall semester, the National Nuclear Security Administration congratulates those students who spent a few extra weeks in the classroom this summer learning about nuclear safeguards and their application to modern nuclear security policy.

Through its Next Generation Safeguards Initiative, NNSA conducts five summer safeguards courses at the national laboratories for undergraduate and graduate students as well as young professionals. International safeguards are a central pillar of the nuclear nonproliferation regime. They are the framework through which the International Atomic Energy Agency monitors nuclear activities under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and are the primary vehicle for verifying compliance with peaceful use and nuclear nonproliferation undertakings.

“These courses allow NNSA and the DOE national laboratories, in partnership with universities across the United States, to provide hands-on training to the next generation of nuclear nonproliferation experts,” said Principal Assistant Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Ken Baker. “The science and technology that stems from more than six decades of nuclear security experience is paving the way for a safer, more secure future under a robust international safeguards regime.”

This summer, 114 college students from 51 universities spent time learning about topics ranging from safeguards technology, nuclear materials measurement and the policy and legal challenges surrounding the implementation of safeguards. A list of universities is included with this release.

Descriptions of the five courses:

Los Alamos National Laboratory/Texas A&M University Summer Safeguards Course
In 2010, LANL/TAMU held their third annual technical safeguards course featuring both lectures by safeguards experts and laboratory experiments. This summer, three advanced nuclear safeguards technical modules were conducted on the topics of material holdup, advanced gamma-ray measurement, and calorimetric assay. More than 25 students and mid-career staff from 18 different universities attended the course.

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory/Monterey Institute of International Studies Summer Safeguards Course
The LLNL/MIIS one-week safeguards course, also in its third year, welcomed 30 students this summer. The course, aimed at advanced students and young professionals, featured lectures on the history and evolution of international safeguards implementation. The students participated in two in-class simulation exercises focused on state-level safeguards analysis and the political challenges surrounding questions of safeguards compliance. The course also required students to complete an on-line introductory module with tests on nuclear nonproliferation and safeguards issues prior to participating in the program to ensure that they all began with a good grasp of nonproliferation issues.

Brookhaven National Laboratory Summer Safeguards Course
BNL offered a safeguards course in the summer of 2010 for the second time, combining familiarization of safeguards approaches and design information verification with a strong emphasis on the development of today’s strengthened safeguards system and the evolution of both the international nonproliferation regime and the challenges to it. The three-week course was attended by 23 students.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory Summer Safeguards Course
Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Safeguards Technology Integration Center conducted a course on non-destructive assay (NDA) applications for international safeguards for 20 nuclear engineering students from the University of Florida. The class consisted of both lectures and valuable hands-on experience with safeguards instrumentation and software that provided the students with practical understanding of a number of NDA techniques used for analyzing special nuclear material. This course was also held earlier in the year for student groups from the University of Michigan, University of Tennessee, Texas A&M University, North Carolina State University, and Georgia Institute of Technology.

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Summer Safeguards Course
PNNL conducted a one-week intensive safeguards summer course for 28 students, the second year this course has been held. The course featured 40 hours of exercises and instructions, including introductions to the nuclear fuel cycle, process monitoring, information collection techniques, safeguards at item/bulk facilities, and hands-on exercises. A tour of 329 lab at Hanford and the HAMMER training facility were also part of the course.

The programs attracted students from the following universities:

American University
Boise State University
Boston University
College of Idaho
College of St. Benedict (MN)
Eckerd College
George Washington University
Georgia Institute of Technology
Gonzaga University
Johns Hopkins University
King's College, London
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Montana State
Monterey Institute
Oregon Institute of Technology
Oregon State University
Pennsylvania State University
Reed College
Rutgers University
Seton Hall University
State University of New York, Stony Brook
Texas A&M University
Tufts University
University of Antwerp, Belgium
University of California, Berkeley
University of California, Irvine
University of California, San Diego
University of Denver
University of Dundee, UK
University of Florida
University of Georgia
University of Idaho
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
University of Maryland
University of Massachusetts, Lowell
University of Michigan
University of Missouri
University of New Mexico
University of North Dakota
University of North Florida
University of Pittsburgh
University of Tennessee
University of Texas, Austin
University of Tokyo
University of Washington
Washington State University
Washington University in St. Louis
Willamette University
Wofford College
Yale University
York University, UK