In a program sponsored by the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation, teams of engineering students from Washington State University designed, built, and delivered prototype equipment to address challenges encountered by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory staff in research on nuclear safeguards.
As reported on March 11 by the NNSA, two teams of WSU students presented their projects to PNNL staff during an online meeting in December 2020. One team created physical training aids for safeguards courses to demonstrate two methods of nuclear fuel reprocessing. The other team developed an enrichment monitor mounting bracket that the International Atomic Energy Agency could use to help monitor uranium hexafluoride gas in enrichment facilities.
Working together: Over the course of the program, the teams worked together to overcome obstacles, such as selecting the best materials for the mounting bracket. The teams accomplished both projects on time and under budget.
Thinking creatively: “Supporting the nonproliferation mission often requires creative problem-solving,” said Kasia Mendelsohn, acting deputy administrator for the NNSA’s Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation. “This WSU-PNNL safeguards program is exactly the kind of innovation we need and demonstrates that these teams are more than capable of being productive in a virtual environment.”