Three Clemson faculty members are part of a 16-university team of 31 scientists and engineers selected by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) to develop the next generation of new technologies and insights in nuclear forensics. The Consortium for Nuclear Forensics will be led by the University of Florida, with $25 million in funding over five years. The Clemson team is led by Drs. Nicole Martinez and Brian Powell in the Department of Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences, and by Dr. Ken Marcus in the Department of Chemistry. Clemson University’s share of the funding is $2.3 million.
The purpose of this consortium is to educate the next generation of nuclear forensic scientists and engineers while engaging in research and development spanning basic aspects of new technology and methods to programmatic work directly supporting the nuclear security and nonproliferation missions of NNSA. The Consortium will explore research needs and challenges within important research fields in nuclear forensics across five technical areas each led by a well-regarded researcher within the Consortium:
- Rapid Turnaround Forensics (Professor Brian Powell, Clemson University),
- Advanced Analytical Methods (Associate Professor Assel Aitkaliyeva, University of Florida),
- Ultrasensitive Measurements (Associate Professor Nicole Martinez, Clemson University)
- Signature Discovery (Assistant Professor Amanda Johnsen, Pennsylvania State University), and
- Prompt Effects and Measurements (Assistant Professor Kyle Hartig, University of Florida).
The direct outcome of this program is the development of a diverse and highly talented cadre of nuclear forensics professionals with skill sets grounded in foundational disciplines including radiochemistry, geochemistry, nuclear physics, nuclear engineering, materials science, shock physics, quantum science, and analytical chemistry. These professionals will have careers as scientists, engineers, technicians, operational personnel, and intelligence professionals, among others and will be leaders in active in nuclear forensics, nuclear nonproliferation, nuclear arms control, nuclear incident response, nuclear intelligence activities, nuclear energy, and other nuclear-related fields. These professionals are expected to benefit academia, private industry, and several US government agencies, including Energy, Homeland Security, Defense, State, Justice, and the Intelligence Community.
Congratulations to Drs. Martinez, Powell and Marcus.