University of Florida–led consortium to research nuclear forensics

February 2, 2023, 3:00PMNuclear News
Members of the Consortium for Nuclear Forensics. (Image: University of Florida)

A 16-university team of 31 scientists and engineers, under the title Consortium for Nuclear Forensics and led by the University of Florida, has been selected by the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) to develop the next generation of new technologies and insights in nuclear forensics.

The consortium will be led by director James Baciak, professor in UF’s Nuclear Engineering Program and Department of Materials Science and Engineering.

The five-year, $25 million award is the largest federal grant in the history of UF’s Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering.

New insights: “I am honored that our team was entrusted by the NNSA to develop the generation of leaders for the Department of Energy national laboratories,” said Baciak. “Our team of faculty, research scientists, and students from across the country will develop new technologies and analysis techniques and offer new insights such that the United States remains at the forefront of global technical nuclear forensics. Our team of faculty represent a diverse array of technical areas that are required for robust nuclear forensics, including analytical chemistry, radiochemistry, environmental sciences, geochemistry, nuclear engineering, physics, statistical analyses, machine learning and optical sciences.”

Leading the way: The consortium will explore research needs across five technical areas, each led by a well-regarded researcher: rapid turnaround forensics (Brian Powell, Clemson University); advanced analytical methods (Assel Aitkaliyeva, University of Florida); ultrasensitive measurements (Nicole Martinez, Clemson University); signature discovery (Amanda Johnsen, Pennsylvania State University); and prompt effects and measurements (Kyle Hartig, University of Florida).

Assisting in the leadership of the consortium is deputy director and associate professor Camille Palmer of Oregon State University.

Who’s in? In addition to the University of Florida, the others in the consortium are the University of California–Berkeley, University of Central Florida, City University of New York, Clemson University, George Washington University, Iowa State University, University of Michigan, University of Nevada-Las Vegas, North Carolina State University, University of Notre Dame, Oregon State University, Pennsylvania State University, South Carolina State University, University of Tennessee, and Texas A&M University.

Related Articles

Investments for peace

December 8, 2023, 7:01AMNuclear NewsKathryn Huff

President Dwight D. Eisenhower delivered his “Atoms for Peace” speech to the United Nations General Assembly in December 1953. In this historic address, he invoked the existential threat...