An International Nuclear Forensics Pipeline: Master’s Students and Mentors

Greg Brennecka - Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Lisa Hudston - Los Alamos National Laboratory
Andrew Tompson - Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Ruth Kips - Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Liz Dallas - Office of Nuclear Smuggling Detection and Deterrence, US Department of Energy, National Nuclear Security Administration
Stephen LaMont - Los Alamos National Laboratory
Adam Stratz - U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration
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The number of technical experts in nuclear forensics has been systematically waning as many members trained in the nascent days of the science have begun entering retirement. This, combined with an ever-increasing worldwide demand for nuclear forensic practitioners is causing an acute need in training the next generation of nuclear forensic experts. As such, engaging and training students to enter the nuclear forensics “pipeline” is a worldwide focus. The Nuclear Smuggling Detection and Deterrence (NSDD) office is partnering DOE laboratories with master’s students from select partner countries as a pilot program to help address this pipeline issue. NSDD has identified four master’s students, one each from Tajikistan, Armenia, Serbia, and Moldova, to be paired with mentors in their respective field (e.g., gamma spectroscopy, mass spectrometry) at DOE laboratories. Mentors will periodically meet remotely with the student and the student’s advisor at their home institutions to help guide the student’s thesis. Importantly, following the student’s successful completion of their MS degree, the student will have the opportunity to join the workforce of an already identified employer in their field of study. Here, we will discuss the details of NSDD’s program that aims to increase the number of early career researchers joining the field of nuclear forensics.