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Group of men and women standing on bridge on a sunny fall day.

Recently a group of 12 Texas A&M University nuclear engineering graduate students from the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) Nuclear Security Science and Policy Institute (NSSPI) traveled to Tennessee to participate in a short course in non-destructive assay (NDA) techniques.

The short course was offered at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in their Safeguards Laboratory. It consisted of lectures and hands-on experience with safeguards instrumentation and software, providing the students with practical understanding of a number of NDA techniques used for measurements and characterization of special nuclear material in international safeguards applications. This experience is intended to supplement the material taught at Texas A&M in the “Nuclear Fuel Cycle and Material Safeguards” (NUEN 651) and “Radiation Detection and Nuclear Materials Measurement” (NUEN 605) classes taken by all students pursuing a graduate degree with a specialization in nuclear nonproliferation.

While in Oak Ridge the group had the opportunity to tour various nuclear facilities at ORNL, including the High Flux Isotope Reactor, the Radiochemistry Hot Cell Labs, the Graphite Reactor and the Spallation Neutron Source, as well as the nearby Y-12 National Security Complex. They also traveled to the University of Tennessee in Knoxville to meet with faculty and students in their nuclear nonproliferation education program. 

The students were accompanied by Dr. Sunil Chirayath, NSSPI director and associate professor of nuclear engineering, and Dr. Craig Marianno, NSSPI deputy director and assistant professor of nuclear engineering. Jessica White Horton at ORNL coordinated the training program, which was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration.