Delivering Graduate Nuclear Security Education: Teaching Nuclear Security Policy To Nuclear Engineers

Kenan Ünlü - Pennsylvania State University
Katherine M. Bachner - Brookhaven National Laboratory
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Pennsylvania State University’s nuclear engineering program offers a master’s degree in Nuclear Security. This program is the first master’s degree program offered in the USA and include five technical and policy-oriented courses along with other nuclear engineering courses. One of the policy courses, namely global nuclear security policies includes national and international nuclear security policy topics. This course is taught from both a technical and a policy perspective, with joint instruction from two professors whose expertise includes both areas. The primary goal of this course is to introduce students to the policies and laws that are intended to provide a secure environment for the pursuit of legitimate nuclear activities. The topics covered will be discussed in the body of the paper. After completion of the course, students should have developed an understanding of both the technical and policy implications of the following topics: The origins and history of controlling nuclear materials, the International Atomic Energy Agency and other international organizations relevant to nuclear safeguards and security, increased civilian use of nuclear technology, the role of present and future technologies in the development of policies, how US and international strategies, policies, and laws interact to promote global nuclear security, the strains imposed on the existing framework by the increased risk from non-state actors and possible approaches to better controlling those risks, and approaches to the reduction of nuclear material and radioisotope inventories.This paper will provide an overview of the course as it aims to ensure that nuclear engineers with a heavy technical background are able to learn to navigate the policy sphere, and potentially move into a more blended career area if they wish.