UC Irvine Receives $2.5 Million Award from the National Nuclear Security Administration

Part of $25 million awarded to seven university consortium

UC Irvine has received a five-year, $2.5 million award from the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) for nonproliferation research and education.  UC Irvine is a major participant in the SUCCESS PIPELINE (Seven Universities Coordinating Coursework and Experience from Student to Scientist in a Partnership for Identifying and Preparing Educated Laboratory-Integrated Nuclear Experts), a new consortium of universities that was granted a total of $25 million from the NNSA for the education and training of the next generation of nuclear science experts specifically in broadly related nuclear security issues.

The UC Irvine team is led by Senior Lecturer Security of Employment (SOE) Emeritus George E. Miller, Ph.D., Department of Chemistry; and Assistant Professor Mikael Nilsson, Ph.D., Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science. The multidisciplinary UC Irvine group features faculty from The Henry Samueli School of Engineering, the School of Physical Sciences and the School of Medicine. In addition to Miller and Nilsson, participants include: Professor Nader Bagherzadeh, Ph.D. and Associate Professor Ozdal Boyraz, Ph.D., Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; Assistant Professor Russell L. Detwiler, Ph.D.and Professor William J. Cooper, Ph.D., Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering; and Professor James C. Earthman, Ph.D. and Professor Martha L. Mecartney, Ph.D., Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science. Professor A.J. Shaka, Ph.D. and Professor William J. Evans, Ph.D. from Chemistry and Professor in Residence Jogheshwar Mukherjee, Ph.D. from Psychiatry and Human Behavior and the UC Irvine Brain Imaging Center are also involved in aspects of the program.One of the major efforts of the SUCCESS PIPELINE at UC Irvine is on developing and offering new nuclear-related courses for both undergraduate and graduate students, including staffing and equipment for a new hands-on course in radiation detector systems.

Jasmina Vujic, Ph.D., a nuclear engineering professor at UC Berkeley, is the principal investigator for the seven-university consortium that brings together more than 100 researchers from UC Irvine, UC Berkeley, Michigan State University, UC Davis, Washington University in St. Louis, the UC San Diego-based Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation, and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.  Joining in are a number of national laboratories including the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratory and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Students and post-doctoral scholars who participate in this program will be given opportunities to visit and work at these national labs, as well as partake in summer programs offered by the consortium universities.

UC Irvine has begun to pilot an aspect of this program by offering an intensive course in nuclear reactor theory and operations this July. Seven students from Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, and one student from Chemistry have been taking this course.