WSU engineering students develop nuclear-safeguard prototypes

In collaboration with the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), mechanical engineering students from Washington State University (WSU) developed prototypes for nuclear safeguards, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) said recently.

Two prototype safeguard devices were developed by student teams and the PNNL mentors. One is an alignment fixture that would support a 3D imaging system for containers that hold nuclear material to detect whether a unit has been tampered with, and the other is a fixture that would house gamma-ray detectors to determine whether fuel is missing from a spent nuclear assembly

The NNSA said these prototypes would be utilized in workshops and training exercises that support non-proliferation and nuclear safeguards.

The project was supported by the Next Generation Safeguards Initiative Human Capital Development (NGSI HCD) program. PNNL staff identified senior WSU students to work on this project.

The NGSI HCD program has collaborated with the Mechanical Design Program at WSU on development projects since 2009. Each project lasts for one semester and typically results in the fabrication of at least a single piece of equipment that is capable of meeting national security needs.

The Mechanical Design Program at WSU works with industrial partners to sponsor student and faculty projects for multiple industries.

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National Nuclear Security Administration

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