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Assuring a Future U.S.-Based Nuclear and Radiochemistry Expertise (2012)

Chapter: 9 Approaches to Assuring U.S. Nuclear and Radiochemistry Expertise

« Previous: 8 Summary of Supply and Demand for Nuclear and Radiochemistry Expertise
Suggested Citation:"9 Approaches to Assuring U.S. Nuclear and Radiochemistry Expertise." National Research Council. 2012. Assuring a Future U.S.-Based Nuclear and Radiochemistry Expertise. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13308.
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9

Approaches to Assuring U.S. Nuclear and Radiochemistry Expertise

 

As discussed throughout this report and in past studies, the supply of nuclear and radiochemists has been tenuous for many years. There have been efforts over the past several decades to sustain or increase the number of students and faculty in nuclear and radiochemistry, and nuclear science and engineering as a whole, to support the workforce demands. In this chapter, the committee looks in detail at some of the programs at the undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate and research levels and evaluates the salient features and adequacy of those efforts to assure current and future needs for nuclear and radiochemistry expertise. The programs are also summarized in Tables 9-2, 9-3, and 9-4. In addition, the committee considers aspects of on-the-job training efforts largely implemented in industry to meet the demand for nuclear and radiochemistry expertise.

NUCLEAR CHEMISTRY SUMMER SCHOOLS

Earlier reports have recommended a number of efforts be undertaken to sustain academic programs in nuclear and radiochemistry.1 One of the first initiatives that sought to attract and retain new undergraduate student interest in the field of nuclear and radiochemistry that still exists today are the Nuclear Chemistry Summer Schools (see Box 9-1). The summer schools have introduced undergraduate students to nuclear and radiochemistry and provided information on graduate education and on possible careers in these fields. Out of 167 graduates of the San José State University (SJSU) summer school (who attended in 1997-2010) 130 students or 77 percent of graduates went on to attend graduate, medical, or law school. In addition, 42 students or 25 percent of graduates chose to study in either nuclear chemistry or nuclear engineering in graduate school.

_______________

1 See Chapter 1.

Suggested Citation:"9 Approaches to Assuring U.S. Nuclear and Radiochemistry Expertise." National Research Council. 2012. Assuring a Future U.S.-Based Nuclear and Radiochemistry Expertise. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13308.
×

BOX 9-1 NUCLEAR CHEMISTRY SUMMER SCHOOLS

For nearly three decades, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has funded the American Chemical Society Division of Nuclear Chemistry and Technologies (DNCT) Summer Schools in Nuclear and Radiochemistry, first started at San José State University (SJSU) in 1984 with a second one added at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) in 1989 (Clark, 2005; Kinard and Silber, 2005; Peterson, 1997;). The driver for creating the summer schools arose in the late 1970s from concerns about the declining graduate student and faculty population in nuclear chemistry. Initial funding levels were enough to cover student housing and travel, staff and teaching assistant salaries, and some modest costs for guest speakers. Today, funding also covers some student stipends, which is necessary to keep the summer schools competitive with other, more recent summer programs. However, many individuals, including staff and guest speakers, still donate many hours of time and effort to hold the summer schools each year.

Frank Kinard, College of Charleston, provided the committee with an overview of the summer schools. At each location, the summer school is a 6-week intensive program, limited to 12 U.S. citizen undergraduate students (mainly, but not limited to, chemistry majors). Between 1984 and 2010, there have been 577 graduates of the program (321 at SJSU and 256 at BNL). The coursework includes both lectures and laboratory work, and covers fundamental aspects of nuclear and radiochemistry as well as applications such as in medicine, forensics, or environmental management. In 2010, Kinard conducted an extensive survey of SJSU summer school graduates (1997-2010; shown below), in which he determined that 100 graduates out of 167 total when on to attend graduate school. He also found that 35 out of those attending graduate school were in nuclear and radiochemistry fields (Frank Kinard, College of Charleston, personal communication, November 9, 2011). Further information about graduate schools attended is listed below.

Graduate School Choices of SJSU Students (1997-2010)

Graduate School Total
Students
Nuclear Focus
Berkeley 11 7
Washington State University 8 6
Michigan State 6 6
Texas A&M University 5 5
Washington University, St. Louis 5 1
Missouri 3 3
Wisconsin 3 1
Maryland 2 2
Nevada, Las Vegas 2 2
Chicago 2 1
North Carolina State University 2 1
SUNY - Stony Brook 2 1
Suggested Citation:"9 Approaches to Assuring U.S. Nuclear and Radiochemistry Expertise." National Research Council. 2012. Assuring a Future U.S.-Based Nuclear and Radiochemistry Expertise. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13308.
×

Through participating in the summer schools, students:

1. Receive fellowship to cover all costs, including a stipend (added in 2005), transportation, tuition, books, and room and board.

2. Cover coursework grounded in fundamentals of nuclear and radiochemistry.

3. Experience hands-on laboratory learning in an American Chemical Society accredited chemistry degree program.

4. Get exposure to a variety of nuclear science applications and practitioners.

5. Interact one-on-one with instructors and guests.

6. Learn from guest lecturers.

7. Visit nuclear science sites.

8. Receive college or university course credit (6-7 units).

9. Receive career guidance and support.

DOE’s Office of Basic Energy Sciences (BES) renewed the latest 5-year summer schools grant starting March 1, 2007, which included contributions from the Office of Biological and Environmental Remediation (BER) and Office of Nuclear Physics (NP). The programs held during the summer of 2011 were the last committed under the renewed grant. At the time of this publication, a funding decision had not been made about the grant renewal. The approximate budget is $500,000 total per year for the two summer schools, which includes student housing and participation, course materials and supplies, guest lecture travel, student symposia, field trips, professional development, staff salaries, and space and support charges.

FEDERAL EDUCATIONAL AND FUNDING PROGRAMS

U.S. Department of Homeland Security

National Nuclear Forensics Expertise Development Program

The role of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) in supporting the nuclear and radiochemistry workforce was mandated in the 2010 Nuclear Forensics and Attribution Act, which focused on “maintaining a vibrant and enduring academic pathway from undergraduate to postdoctorate” for national technical nuclear forensics (TNF)-related specialties (including radiochemistry, geochemistry, nuclear physics, nuclear engineering, materials science, and

Suggested Citation:"9 Approaches to Assuring U.S. Nuclear and Radiochemistry Expertise." National Research Council. 2012. Assuring a Future U.S.-Based Nuclear and Radiochemistry Expertise. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13308.
×

analytical chemistry) through creation of a National Nuclear Forensics Expertise Development Program.

Prior to establishing this program, DNDO commissioned an independent expert panel to address the deficiency in the pipeline for TNF experts (Nuclear Forensics Science Panel Education Sub-Panel 2008). The panel recommended the creation of a “university-national laboratory education program for nuclear forensics,” and highlighted critical skill sets to include in the program. The panel also set success metrics for the program, which included training at least 35 new Ph.D. scientists in nuclear forensics-related disciplines over the next 10 years, and suggested that at least 3 to 5 universities and 6 to 7 national laboratories should participate in the program (metrics were echoed by an independent 2008 American Association for the Advancement of Science/American Physical Society nuclear forensics report) (APS/AAAS 2008; Kentis 2011). DNDO reported to this committee that it is making progress to date on increasing Ph.D.-level TNF expertise, with 15-20 graduate fellows and 15 post-doctorates expected to complete the program by FY 2015, and 11 laboratories and 19 participating universities (Kentis 2011). Funding for the program is expected to continue through at least FY 2017 (Samantha Connelly, DNDO, personal communication, April 2012). Brief descriptions of the different initiatives under the program are described below and in Tables 9-2, 9-3, and 9-4 based on updated information received from DNDO (Samantha Connelly, DNDO, personal communication, April 2012).

Nuclear Forensics Undergraduate Summer School

•  This six-week program, hosted by a partnership of universities and national laboratories that rotates each year, is modeled after the DOE-sponsored summer schools, which seek to attract undergraduate students to pursue graduate studies in the field. Through “a series of lectures, laboratory experiments, field trips, and practical exercises” this summer school provides students with “a comprehensive, experimental, hands-on training curriculum in topics essential to nuclear forensics.”

Nuclear Forensics Undergraduate Scholarship Program

•  This is a 9-to-12 week program for undergraduate students to perform forensics-related research at national laboratories. Under the guidance of a senior laboratory mentor and a university faculty advisor, students gain hands-on laboratory experience, produce a scientific report, and deliver an oral presentation of their research upon completion of the program.

Suggested Citation:"9 Approaches to Assuring U.S. Nuclear and Radiochemistry Expertise." National Research Council. 2012. Assuring a Future U.S.-Based Nuclear and Radiochemistry Expertise. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13308.
×

Glenn T. Seaborg Institute Nuclear Science Summer Internship Program

•  This program funds graduate students and outstanding undergraduate students, through support from DNDO, to perform nuclear forensics related research at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Los Alamos National Laboratory during the summer. DNDO works closely with the participating laboratories to guide selection of nuclear forensics related projects.

Nuclear Forensics Graduate Fellowship Program

•  This DNDO program, in partnership with the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, provides tuition and stipend support to graduate students pursuing doctoral degrees in nuclear, geochemical, and related disciplines at approved universities. During the program, students must maintain a consistently high-level academic standing and conduct two, 10-week laboratory internships in approved facilities. Upon graduation, fellows must serve for two years in a post doctoral or other staff position in a technical nuclear forensics-related specialty at a DOE or DOD laboratory, or a federal agency.

Post-doctorate Fellowship Program

•  This program provides three-year postdoctoral fellowships at national laboratories to encourage recent Ph.D. graduates with relevant technical expertise to enter the nuclear forensics workforce.

Nuclear Forensics Junior Faculty Award

•  This program provides funding for up to three years to tenure-track faculty (with less than six years experience at the time of application) to cover salary and travel to national laboratories to perform nuclear forensics-related research, to facilitate research and development projects, and to purchase equipment. Universities are encouraged to provide partial matching funds.

Nuclear Forensics Education Award

•  In partnership with DOE’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), this program awards grants to colleges and universities to support many activities, including development of nuclear forensics curriculum, hiring of faculty, and constructing new on-site facilities. The awards are cost-shared grants, renewable for up to three years, to support educational programs in analytical, geological, and radiochemistry, nuclear physics and engineering, and materials science.

Suggested Citation:"9 Approaches to Assuring U.S. Nuclear and Radiochemistry Expertise." National Research Council. 2012. Assuring a Future U.S.-Based Nuclear and Radiochemistry Expertise. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13308.
×

U.S. Department of Energy

In addition to the long-term support for the nuclear chemistry summer schools, the DOE Office of Science has also provided long-term support for basic research, especially for the Heavy Element Chemistry Program (Table 2-5). Other DOE programs and national laboratories also have programs that support nuclear and radiochemistry, as described below.

Nuclear Energy University Programs

Since 2009, Nuclear Energy University Programs (NEUP)—a program initiated by the DOE Office of Nuclear Energy—has provided $167 million of funding for nuclear science and engineering research and education to 75 universities in 35 states, including $121.4 million in research projects (Table 9-1). The FY 2012 plans that were announced by DOE Nuclear Energy Assistant Secretary Lyons on August 9, 2011, did not include scholarships and fellowships (DOE 2011a). Funding provided by NEUP includes several awards described below:

University Research and Development Awards

•  “NEUP seeks to align the nuclear energy research being conducted at U.S. colleges and universities with DOE’s mission and goals.

•  The program is supporting projects that focus on needs and priorities of key Office of Nuclear Energy programs, including fuel cycle,

TABLE 9-1 Nuclear Energy University Program Awards and Funding, FY 2009-FY 2011

Awards FY 2009 FY 2010 FY 2011
University Research $44 million $38 million $39 million
and Development 71 awards to 31 schools in 42 awards to 23 schools in 51 awards to 31 schools in
Awardsa 20 states 17 states 21 states
Integrated Research
Projectsa
N/A N/A TBA
University $6 million $13.2 million TBA
Infrastructure Awardsa 29 schools in 23 states for
scientific equipment
39 schools in 27 states for
research reactor upgrades
and scientific equipment
University Student $3.1 million $5 million (IUP) TBA (IUP)
Fellowship and 76 scholarships and 18 85 scholarships and 32
Scholarship Awards fellowships fellowships
Total $53 million $56.2 million Approximately $60 million

ABBREVIATIONS: IUP, integrated university program; N/A, not applicable; TBA, to be announced.

a From 20% of the nuclear energy research and development budget.

SOURCE: Gilligan 2011.

Suggested Citation:"9 Approaches to Assuring U.S. Nuclear and Radiochemistry Expertise." National Research Council. 2012. Assuring a Future U.S.-Based Nuclear and Radiochemistry Expertise. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13308.
×

    reactor concepts, and transformative ‘blue sky’ research.” (DOE 2011b)

Integrated Research Projects

•  “Integrated Research Projects (IRPs) are 3-year awards for projects that focus on a specific nuclear energy programmatic area of investigation. The intent of the effort is to engage the university community on larger research projects designed to benefit from the involvement of multiple universities, as well as industry, utility, and national laboratory partners.” (DOE 2011b)

•  “Proposals may include a combination of evaluation capability development, research program development, experimental work, and computer simulations. Proposals must include a designated lead university and at least one other university, and are encouraged to include one or more industry or utility partner that may receive funding support from the project.

•  Proposals may also include one or more national laboratories that may receive project funding support.” (DOE 2011c)

University Infrastructure Awards

•  Support university and college efforts to build or expand nuclear science and engineering research and education. The NEUP will provide funds to upgrade university-level research reactors and purchase general scientific equipment and instrumentation.

University Student Fellowship and Scholarship Awards

•  Fellowships are $50,000 a year over 3 years to help pay for graduate studies and research.

The Institute for Nuclear Energy Science and Technology

Idaho National Laboratory (INL) with funding from the DOE has partnered with several leading U.S. universities to create the Institute of Nuclear Energy Science and Technology (INEST), which has a goal to help INL’s long-term nuclear energy research and development strategy. The institute is comprised of five Centers of Research and Education (COREs) that were selected to address some of the most difficult problems facing nuclear energy today: fuels and materials, space nuclear research, fuel cycle, and safety and licensing. Research in these areas will provide the technical knowledge to help guide the nation’s nuclear energy program. Each CORE is led by a researcher at INL and one of the partner universities—Massachusetts Insti-

Suggested Citation:"9 Approaches to Assuring U.S. Nuclear and Radiochemistry Expertise." National Research Council. 2012. Assuring a Future U.S.-Based Nuclear and Radiochemistry Expertise. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13308.
×

tute of Technology, North Carolina State University, Ohio State University, Oregon State University, and University of New Mexico. The intent is to collaborate with universities to stimulate research innovation and maintain INL’s position as a leader in nuclear energy research. The mission of the Fuel Cycle CORE is specifically focused on training and education in radiochemistry.

National Analytical Management Program

DOE’s Carlsbad Field Office has been tasked by the DOE Office of Environmental Management (DOE-EM) to re-establish the National Analytical Management Program (NAMP), and to create a DOE Environmental Response Laboratory Network Coordination Office. Through NAMP, Patricia Paviet-Hartman of INL is leading the efforts for training and education in radiochemistry and radioanalytical chemistry. Several agencies are participating in the NAMP program, including the U.S. Environment Protection Agency (EPA). Paviet-Hartmann told the committee that she is working on identifying universities and agencies that provide courses in radiochemistry. For example, basic radiochemistry materials have been developed and posted online by the EPA “for chemists and chemical laboratory managers in state health department laboratories who may be required to analyze water samples for the presence of radionuclide contamination” (EPA 2011). According to Paviet-Hartmann, EPA is in the process of developing a more advanced 5-day radiochemistry class. Additional radiochemistry webinars are being developed, several universities are participating: University of Nevada Las Vegas, University of California Irvine, Oregon State University, University of Iowa, Clemson University, University Texas El Paso. The first webinar is anticipated to start in March 2012. She said the goal is to build a library of knowledge accessible to all.

Stockpile Stewardship Program Science Graduate Fellowships

This NNSA program is targeted at “students pursuing a Ph.D. in areas of interest to stewardship (SSP) science, such as high energy density physics, nuclear science, or materials under extreme conditions and their hydrodynamics.”

National Science and Security Consortium at Berkeley

In June 2011, the NNSA announced a 5-year, $25 million award to the University of California, Berkeley to establish the National Science and

Suggested Citation:"9 Approaches to Assuring U.S. Nuclear and Radiochemistry Expertise." National Research Council. 2012. Assuring a Future U.S.-Based Nuclear and Radiochemistry Expertise. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13308.
×

Security Consortium, a multi-university effort focused on training and education of experts to support DOE’s National Nuclear Security Administration nuclear nonproliferation mission. Expertise will include nuclear physics, chemistry, engineering, instrumentation, and public policy. According to the NNSA press release, the Nuclear Science and Security Consortium “will focus on the hands-on training of undergraduate and graduate students in the fields of nuclear physics, nuclear and radiation chemistry, nuclear engineering, nuclear instrumentation and public policy. The consortium’s nickname is SUCCESS PIPELINE, which stands for Seven Universities Coordinating Coursework and Experience from Student to Scientist in a Partnership for Identifying and Preparing Educated Laboratory-Integrated Nuclear Experts.” (NNSA 2011)

Next Generation Safeguards Initiative

In support of international safeguards administered by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which serve to monitor nuclear activities under Article III of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, the NNSA launched this program in 2008 “to promote the strengthening of nuclear safeguards worldwide to help ensure the safe, secure and peaceful implementation of civil nuclear energy programs.” (NNSA 2008). One key component of this initiative is the Human Capital Development subprogram, which aims to attract, educate, train, and retain the next generation of international safeguards professionals and encourage U.S. experts to seek employment at the IAEA. Recently, it was projected that more than 80 percent of international safeguards experts at the U.S. national labs will retire in the next 15 years (Whitney et al. 2010).

According to NNSA, “Since 2008, the initiative has sponsored over 350 internship positions at the Laboratories, exposed over 500 university students to safeguards topics through curriculum development and short courses, funded over two dozen post-doctoral and graduate fellowships, supported the transition of new professionals into the nonproliferation workforce through education and training courses, and established a professional network for permanent new safeguards staff” (Sean Dunlop and Robert Hanrahan, NNSA, personal communication, June 1, 2012). Recent opportunities under this initiative include the Nuclear Nonproliferation International Safeguards Graduate Fellowship Program (SCUREF 2012) and Nuclear Nonproliferation, Safeguards, and Security in the 21st Century course at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL 2012) for prospective,

Suggested Citation:"9 Approaches to Assuring U.S. Nuclear and Radiochemistry Expertise." National Research Council. 2012. Assuring a Future U.S.-Based Nuclear and Radiochemistry Expertise. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13308.
×

current, and recent graduate students in the physical sciences, engineering, and international relations.

Integrated Radiochemstry Research Programs of Excellence—Predoctoral and Postdoctoral Program for Radiochemistry Training

In 2009, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Biological and Environmental Research (BER) and the DOE Radiochemistry and Imaging Instrumentation Program issued a call to develop Integrated Radiochemistry Research Programs of Excellence. This call was made in response to one of the recommendations from the National Research Council/Institute of Medicine study on Advancing Nuclear Medicine Through Innovation (NRC/IOM 2007). The goals of the program were two-fold, “1) Integrated involvement of graduate-student and postdoctoral trainees in the fundamental research that seeks improvements in radiolabeling and radiotracer development chemistry in the following areas of interest to BER: a) Development of new chemical reactions for high specific activity probe synthesis, b) Models to study reactivity at the tracer mass scale, c) Nanoparticle platforms that can incorporate one or more imaging agents and d) Automation technology for radiotracer synthesis; and 2) Enhancement of training opportunities in radiochemistry to ensure the future availability of human resources for important radiochemistry applications” (DOE 2009). The successful applicants had to describe their multifaceted education and training program combined with radiotracer research training that was relevant to the mission of the DOE Office of Biological and Environmental Research.

Six programs, geographically dispersed across the United States, were selected for the 3-year grants worth $1.8 million. The six programs include Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (New York), Northeastern University (Boston), University of Missouri Columbia, University of California Los Angeles, Washington University St. Louis (Missouri), and the collaborative University of California, Davis, University of California, San Francisco, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory program. The six programs planned to train 15 or more postdoctoral fellows and 20 or more graduate students. In most cases the postdoctoral fellows will not have received formal nuclear or radiochemistry training as a graduate student, thus bringing in those fellows with varied chemistry backgrounds into the field. The training is intended to be a mixture of didactic coursework and practical laboratory research opportunities. Internships with collaborating laboratories were described and encouraged. The program is just now completing its second year with a few trained individuals emerging from the program.

Suggested Citation:"9 Approaches to Assuring U.S. Nuclear and Radiochemistry Expertise." National Research Council. 2012. Assuring a Future U.S.-Based Nuclear and Radiochemistry Expertise. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13308.
×

While the funding for the continuation of this program is uncertain, a fourth year of funding was recently extended to the current centers.

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Education Programs

Since 2005, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has provided funding for curriculum development, scholarships, and faculty development. Grants total $20 million—$5 million for curriculum development and $15 million for scholarships and fellowships, faculty development, and trade schools and community colleges—and focus on nuclear engineering, health physics, and radiochemistry. Between 2007 and 2010, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission awarded 313 grants totaling $65 million to 108 institutions in 33 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, including support to over 500 students annually.

Seven chemistry-specific grants from 2009 to 2011, totaling $946,962, were identified from the list of awards on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission website (USNRC 2011a). These grants include:

•  Two Nuclear Education Curriculum Development Program Awards (FY2011); one to the College of Charleston for enhancement of the undergraduate nuclear and radiochemistry curriculum through the development of radiochemistry laboratory experiments ($56,875), and one to the University of Missouri, Columbia for the development of a course on reprocessing, recycle chemistry, and technology ($124,366).

•  One Faculty Development Grant Program Award (FY2011) to the University of Missouri, Columbia for a radiochemistry faculty development program in actinide chemistry ($298,377).

•  Two Nuclear Education Curriculum Development Program Awards (FY2010); one to Missouri University of Science and Technology for the creation of a radiochemistry teaching program in nuclear engineering ($125,000), and one to Clemson University for the development of coupled online and hands-on radiation detection and radiochemistry laboratory courses ($163,193).

•  Two Nuclear Education Grant Program Awards (FY2009); one to Clemson University for the development of coupled online and hands-on radiation detection and radiochemistry laboratory courses ($89,151), and one to Pennsylvania State University for curriculum development for a radiochemistry education program ($90,000).

Suggested Citation:"9 Approaches to Assuring U.S. Nuclear and Radiochemistry Expertise." National Research Council. 2012. Assuring a Future U.S.-Based Nuclear and Radiochemistry Expertise. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13308.
×

ON-THE-JOB TRAINING

In some cases, employers currently fill gaps in need by training nuclear specialists after they are hired. As discussed in Chapter 5, the nuclear power industry recruits almost its entire chemistry workforce from B.S.-level graduates with chemistry and related degrees. However, since the curricula of B.S.-level graduates in chemistry and physics in the United States does not typically emphasize nuclear chemistry or radiochemistry (see Chapter 3), the industry has thus come to expect little or no knowledge in radiochemistry or nuclear chemistry from its applicants, and tends to train its own workforce. An example is the large nuclear reactor-services vendor AREVA, which has 12 training centers in France, Germany, and the United States, with over 500 training programs, more than 100 full-time trainers, and high-capacity training facilities equipped with modern technologies. Its U.S. training center is in Lynchburg, VA (AREVA 2011). In another example, Exelon Nuclear developed a knowledge transfer and retention program to ensure expertise for the company (Box 9-2).

Similarly, national laboratories involved in working on nuclear security and energy often recruit and hire inorganic and physical chemists and materials scientists, mostly at the Ph.D. level, and then train many of them to become nuclear/radiochemistry professionals. For example, Los Alamos and Livermore National Laboratories have developed specialized in-house curricula, such as those of their Seaborg Institutes, to train and mentor nuclear/radiochemistry research staff (Clark 2011). While students may emerge from graduate programs proficient in fundamental nuclear and radiochemistry, evaluation of interdicted material or nuclear debris data is a skill that has to be taught over a period of several years after the worker receives a security clearance. The adequacy of radiochemistry expertise in these programs relies on the effectiveness of knowledge transfer. Historically, the nuclear weapons program maintained a strong level of expertise, giving senior scientists enough time to execute missions, conduct R&D, and train new staff (see Chapter 6). As the weapons programs have changed, support has not always been available for experienced workers to record their knowledge. For example, workers who had experience with underground testing have been lost to retirements and attrition. This is a significant impediment to retaining nuclear and radiochemistry expertise, which could be addressed with a formal knowledge management program as discussed in Box 9-2.

On the other hand, while the work environments, funding mechanisms, and program execution are quite different, much of the knowledge base and critical skills and many of the methods and applications of nuclear and radiochemistry in the environmental management and national security areas are similar. This is particularly true for B.S.-level radioanalytical chemistry

Suggested Citation:"9 Approaches to Assuring U.S. Nuclear and Radiochemistry Expertise." National Research Council. 2012. Assuring a Future U.S.-Based Nuclear and Radiochemistry Expertise. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13308.
×

BOX 9-2 KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER AND RETENTION

Exelon Nuclear (Exelon 2011)—a company that owns and operates approximately 20 percent of the nuclear power plants in the United States—identified that a large number of very experienced nuclear workers were eligible to retire within the next 5 years, and thus a process was required to minimize the impact of losing many years of nuclear experience in a short period of time. A detailed project was undertaken during a supervisory develop program class that provided recommendations for the company and led to the development of a corporate procedure to formalize the knowledge transfer and retention process.

In response to the knowledge transfer and retention process developed at Exelon Nuclear, several successful actions were taken over the past 2 years including the following within the chemistry departments:

•  At the Exelon Three Mile Island plant, a 30-year radiochemist announced his retirement 1.5 years before his retirement date. The chemistry manager requested and received approval to over hire for the position one full year before the retirement date. The replacement chemist had several years of nuclear experience and during that year shadowed the experienced radiochemist. The experienced radiochemist mentored his replacement and at the end of the time Three Mile Island had a qualified radiochemist with significant knowledge about the history on why things were done the way they were. In another example at Three Mile Island, the reactor chemist announced his retirement and a similar request to over hire was made and approved. A very experienced chemical engineer from the engineering department was selected to shadow the retiring reactor chemist. In both cases at Three Mile Island, this process implemented proved to be a successful model to follow to replace experienced chemists without losing significant knowledge and to allow the plant and the chemistry department to continue to operate at high levels of performance.

•  At other stations, the training and qualification of back-up employees is accomplished through a strong succession planning process. This process has been successfully performed at LaSalle and the Quad Cities Stations where degreed chemistry technicians were hired, trained, and qualified. After several years of gaining experience, the technicians were promoted to management in analytical or auxiliary chemist positions. Then after they were qualified and successfully performing at those entry-level chemist positions, they were assigned duties to learn and qualify as a reactor chemist or radiochemist. After becoming fully qualified, they were then rotated into the reactor or radiochemist positions and the radiochemist was promoted into a supervisory position. In these examples, the very experienced reactor chemist or radiochemist became a supervisor within the department and was able to continue to mentor for several years until all knowledge is successfully transferred.

Ron Chrzanowski

Exelon Nuclear

Chemistry Corporate Functional Area Manager

Suggested Citation:"9 Approaches to Assuring U.S. Nuclear and Radiochemistry Expertise." National Research Council. 2012. Assuring a Future U.S.-Based Nuclear and Radiochemistry Expertise. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13308.
×

technicians who analyze environmental samples. Cross-training between these two technical areas provides the opportunity for leveraging the work groups in these two areas to address short-term needs in both areas. This could be especially effective should the national security area require a large-scale rapid response to a specific event and an associated analysis of a large volume of environmental samples.

While each of the initiatives in Tables 9-2, 9-3, and 9-4 has attracted stu-

TABLE 9-2 Undergraduate Academic Pipeline Initiatives and Funding

Program Year
Established
Current Student
Participation and Funding
Notes/Description
Department of Homeland Security
Nuclear Forensics
Undergraduate Scholarship
Program
2011 5 students per year 9- to12-week summer research
internship at a national laboratory
at varying locations across the
United States (DHS 2010a)

Nuclear Forensics
Undergraduate Summer
School
2010 10 students per year 4-6 week session hosted by
the University of Nevada, Las
Vegas (2010), Washington State
University (2011), and University
of Missouri-Columbia (2012);
regional partnership with Los
Alamos National Laboratory,
Lawrence Livermore National
Laboratory, Savannah River
National Laboratory, federal
interagency partners, and others
(DHS 2010b
Department of Energy
Office of Science support for
Nuclear Chemistry Summer
Schools
1984 24 students and $500,000
per year
(see Box 9-1) (ACS 2011)
Nuclear Energy University
Programs-University Student
Fellowship and Scholarship
Awards
2009 $3.1 million, 76 scholarships,
and 18 fellowships
(FY 2009); $5 million, 85
scholarships, and 32
fellowships (FY 2010) per
year
Covers both undergraduates and
graduates (DOE 2011b,d);
Idaho National Lab, National
Analytical Management
Program
2011 TBA (INL 2011a)
Nuclear Regulatory Commission
NRC Education Programs 2005 $5 million for curriculum
development
$15 million for scholarships/
fellowships per year
(USNRC 2011b
Suggested Citation:"9 Approaches to Assuring U.S. Nuclear and Radiochemistry Expertise." National Research Council. 2012. Assuring a Future U.S.-Based Nuclear and Radiochemistry Expertise. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13308.
×

TABLE 9-3 Graduate-level Academic Pipeline Initiatives

Program Year
Established
Current Student
Participation and Funding
Notes/Description
Department of Homeland Security
Glenn T. Seaborg Institute
Nuclear Science Summer
Internship Program
2008 10-15 students per year 8-10 weeks at Lawrence
Livermore National Laboratory,
Los Alamos National Laboratory;
graduate and outstanding
undergraduate students work
on critical skills areas related to
nuclear forensics
(DHS 2010c)
Nuclear Forensics Graduate
Fellowship Program
(with Department of Defense
Defense Threat Reduction
Agency)
2008 22 graduate fellows per
year
11 laboratories and 19
participating universities
throughout the United States
Tuition and stipend for 12
months at an approved
university, including at least 2
summer internships at a national
laboratory and a service payback
requirement.
Includes mentoring funds (DHS
2010d)
Department of Energy
Idaho National Lab, Center for
Advanced Energy Studies (joint
funding from State of Idaho)
2009 FY 2010: 11 scholarships
awarded; and attracted
418 students to nuclear
engineering and science
programs in Idaho
universities. FY 2011:
expect to hire 275 interns
in energy-related fields.
$1.6 million annually from
State of Idaho; $6 million
from DOE for startup and
equipment; $15 million
INL; $22 million research
grants.
Idaho National Lab and three
Idaho universities—Boise State
University, Idaho State University,
and University of Idaho. (CAES
2011)
Idaho National Lab, Institute
for Nuclear Energy Science
and Technology, Centers of
Research and Education
2009 unknown Idaho National Laboratory with
MIT, NC State, Oregon State, Ohio
State, and U New Mexico (INL
2011b).
Idaho National Laboratory,
National Analytical
Management Program
2011 unknown (INL 2011a)
Suggested Citation:"9 Approaches to Assuring U.S. Nuclear and Radiochemistry Expertise." National Research Council. 2012. Assuring a Future U.S.-Based Nuclear and Radiochemistry Expertise. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13308.
×
Program Year Established Current Student Participation and Funding Notes/Description
Integrated Radiochemistry
Research Projects of Excellence
(A new solicitation for
Integrated Nuclear Medicine
Research Projects of Excellence
announced in 2012)
2009 Six programs; $1.8 million;
15 post docs and 20
students each program
Northeastern University, Memorial
Sloan Kettering Cancer Center,
Washington University St. Louis,
University of Missouri Columbia,
University of California Los
Angeles, and a collaboration with
University of California Davis, San
Francisco, and Lawrence Berkeley
National Laboratory (DOE 2012)
Nuclear Energy University
Programs-University Student
Fellowship and Scholarship
Awards
2009 $3.1 million, 76
scholarships, and 18
fellowships (FY 2009); $5
million, 85 scholarships
and 32 fellowships (FY
2010)
Covers both undergraduates and
graduates. (DOE 2011b,d)
National Nuclear Security
Administration- Stewardship
Science Graduate Fellowships
2006 10 alumni,
20 current fellows
Takes place at National
Laboratories—Lawrence
Livermore National Laboratory,
Los Alamos National Laboratory,
and Sandia National Laboratory
(Krell Institute 2011)
Nuclear Regulatory Commission
NRC Education Programs 2005 $15 million for
scholarships and
fellowships per year
(undergraduate and
graduate level)
(USNRC 2011b)

dents into the field or sustained junior faculty in nuclear and radiochemistry, there is no cohesive or coordinated pattern of support for nuclear or radiochemists. Each of these initiatives works independently from the others, and most were realized recently by the funding organizations as urgent measures to stem the erosion of nuclear and radiochemistry expertise, and the overall effect has been a modest flattening of the curve in terms of the number of Ph.D. students entering the field (see Chapter 2, Figure 2-1). An educational and career pathway that is robust and sustainable ideally needs to draw students into the field at the undergraduate and graduate levels, provide postdoctoral research opportunities, and provide professional career entry opportunities so that the workforce is adequate, yet not oversupplied, for the needs of the nation. When the number of faculty and facilities within a par-

Suggested Citation:"9 Approaches to Assuring U.S. Nuclear and Radiochemistry Expertise." National Research Council. 2012. Assuring a Future U.S.-Based Nuclear and Radiochemistry Expertise. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13308.
×

TABLE 9-4 Postdoctoral and University Research Programs

Program Year
Established
Current Student
Participation and Funding
Notes/Description
Department of Homeland Security
Nuclear Forensics Post-doctoral Fellowship Program 2009 12 awards per year All postgraduate and university awards are geared toward National Technical Nuclear Forensics mission needs. 11 laboratories—Savannah River, Lawrence Livermore, Pacific Northwest, Sandia, NIST, Oak Ridge, New Brunswick, Argonne, Idaho, Los Alamos, and AFIT
Nuclear Forensics Junior Faculty Award Program 2010 6 per year Faculty institutions are encouraged to provide matching funds and awards are renewable for three consecutive years. Current awardees: University of Michigan, Pennsylvania State University, North Carolina State University, Clemson University, University of Missouri, Columbia University, and sixth award to be announced. (Samantha Connelly, DNDO, personal communication, April 2012)
Nuclear Forensics Education Award Program (with U.S Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration) 2009 7 awards Requires school matching funds and renewable for three consecutive years (Samantha Connelly, DNDO, personal communication, April 2012)
Department of Energy
Nuclear Energy University Programs 2009 $44 million, 71 awards to 31 schools (FY 2009); $38 million, 42 awards to 23 schools (FY 2010); $39 million, 51 awards to 31 schools (FY 2011) (DOE 2011 b,d)
National Nuclear Security Administration-National Science and Security Consortium at Berkeley 2011 $25 million over 5 years University of California, Berkeley; Michigan State University; University of California, Davis; University of California, Irvine; University of Nevada, Las Vegas; University of California Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation in San Diego; and Washington University at St. Louis (NNSA 2011)
Suggested Citation:"9 Approaches to Assuring U.S. Nuclear and Radiochemistry Expertise." National Research Council. 2012. Assuring a Future U.S.-Based Nuclear and Radiochemistry Expertise. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13308.
×

ticular discipline become so few as in nuclear and radiochemistry, a coherent and consistent support mechanism between the various stages of a student’s career in academia is essential to ensure the availability of strong university programs with multiple faculty members and advanced coursework.

In addition, not every nuclear or radiochemistry-related position in industry will require a Ph.D.-level nuclear or radiochemist—that is, the demand in industry includes the need for nuclear and radiochemistry staff at the B.S. and M.S. levels as well as Ph.D.s. As discussed earlier, many current positions are being filled by on-the-job cross-training of professionals in other related disciplines (such as nuclear physics, health physics, and physical and inorganic chemistry), as well as cross-training and transition into the field by working professionals. The committee recognizes that these cross-training entry points are important for meeting the current and future needs and are beneficial in introducing new perspectives and experiences; however, the health of the field also demands the depth of commitment of those who devote their entire careers to the discipline. For example, professionals trained in other disciplines are unlikely to become faculty in university settings that produce future Ph.D. students in nuclear and radiochemistry. While it is necessary to meet the impending shortages of trained personnel, it will not be possible to sustain or regrow a discipline in this manner. As indicated earlier, the academic pipeline in nuclear and radiochemistry is, at best, at a plateau of nuclear chemistry faculty and graduates. Given the increased demand in many sectors such as nuclear medicine and nuclear energy, this steady but low number of graduates in nuclear and radiochemistry is not conducive for sustained growth of the field.

INTERNATIONAL EFFORTS

The committee evaluated education and training in nuclear and radiochemistry in comparable foreign countries, specifically the United Kingdom and France.

United Kingdom

Declines in nuclear research activity have also taken place in the United Kingdom as noted in a presentation to the committee by Francis Livens, professor of radiochemistry at the University of Manchester, United Kingdom (Livens 2011). Personnel in nuclear fission research has declined over the last 25 years, as shown in Figure 9-1, with the privatization of the major government funded entities British Nuclear Fuels Limited (BNFL) and the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA), and the dissolution of

Suggested Citation:"9 Approaches to Assuring U.S. Nuclear and Radiochemistry Expertise." National Research Council. 2012. Assuring a Future U.S.-Based Nuclear and Radiochemistry Expertise. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13308.
×

image

FIGURE 9-1 Decline in United Kingdom civil research and development personnel.

Abbreviations: BNFL, British Nuclear Fuels Limited; CEGB, the Central Electricity Generating Board; NNL, National Nuclear Laboratory; UKAEA, United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority.

SOURCE: House of Lords 2011.

the Central Electricity Generating Board (CEGB) in November 2001. Even without new nuclear efforts, industry needs 1,000 graduates per year (B.S. and above) including many chemists; 700 to replace retirements and 300 to support growth in waste management and site restoration (HC 2009). Livens described a series of policy decisions the U.K. government made over the last 10 years to reverse the negative trend.

The Centre for Radiochemistry Research (CRR) was created in 1999 with support from BNFL. It is the first of four BNFL university research alliances. Livens is currently research director of the Dalton Nuclear Institute at the University of Manchester, of which the CRR is a constituent. The CRR has an annual operating budget of about £2.8 million, which supports four full-time academic staff, 8 postdoctoral fellows and 23 Ph.D. students in chemistry, and leads the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council-funded Fission Doctoral Training Centre (DTC). According to Livens, there are now more than 50 CRR alumni working in the nuclear industry. CRR facilities include:

Suggested Citation:"9 Approaches to Assuring U.S. Nuclear and Radiochemistry Expertise." National Research Council. 2012. Assuring a Future U.S.-Based Nuclear and Radiochemistry Expertise. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13308.
×

•  Radiochemistry labs allowing the use of technetium (Tc), neptunium (Np), plutonium (Pu); (up to 100 mg Np or 10 mg 242Pu);

•  Radiochemical detection and counting facilities for measurement of alpha, beta, and gamma emissions;

•  Radiochemical separations for low-level analysis; and

•  Access to equivalently equipped or appropriately equipped facilities in the United Kingdom, Europe, and the United States.

One of the key expectations of the Fission DTC in terms of workforce development is to recruit 10 doctoral students per year who will receive specific coursework in nuclear and radiochemistry and who will work on challenging Ph.D.-level research projects. The 12 weeks of instructional material covers topics such as the atomic nucleus, the nuclear fuel cycle, reactor systems, nuclear fuels, materials, radioactive waste management, and multiscale modelling. The Ph.D. supervisors for the Fission DTC program are drawn from a pool of over 30 academic faculty members. Ph.D.s must be co-supervised, preferably across disciplines and institutions. The first two igroups of students in the program included six chemists, four engineers, six physicists, and five earth and environmental scientists. Livens said the next steps are uncertain. Possibilities include creating a national nuclear laboratory, and extending the Fission DTC model across the United Kingdom.

The French Educational Model

While the United States generates more nuclear power than any country in the world, France has the largest worldwide percentage of its electricity from nuclear power (78 percent). The large nuclear power industry drives much of the education efforts in France.

There are six French universities with “radiochemistry groups”—Nantes, Montpellier, Strasbourg, Lyon, Nice, and Paris-Sud. Each university has six to twelve permanent research-teaching staff. The largest group, Paris-Sud, has a two-year “nuclear energy” international M.S. program. Approximately 25 students follow the “radiochemistry/fuel cycle” master’s-level specialty at Paris-Sud each year (Eric Simoni, Paris-Sud, personal communication, June 23, 2011).

The French academic sector is represented by university faculty as well as parallel researchers with “habilitation”2 degrees at the French Alternative

_______________

2 “Habilitation” is an academic degree in Europe that is above a Ph.D. and that is a prerequisite to university-level teaching and research. It requires independent research and a thesis defended before oral examiners.

Suggested Citation:"9 Approaches to Assuring U.S. Nuclear and Radiochemistry Expertise." National Research Council. 2012. Assuring a Future U.S.-Based Nuclear and Radiochemistry Expertise. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13308.
×

Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (Commissariat à l’Énergie Atomique et aux Énergies Alternatives, CEA) and other institutions. Curricula at the six French universities with radiochemistry-groups include nuclear chemistry and radiochemistry.

Engineering education in France follows a different path. Students follow a 2-year preparatory program, then enroll in one of the many French engineering institutes—that is, Grandes Écoles d’Ingénieurs, for example École Polytechnique and École des Mines in Paris—to pursue a 3-year general master’s degree in engineering. Industry and technical institutes then hire master’s degree recipients and teach them the required specialized skills (for example, skills in chemical, civil, electrical, and nuclear engineering) to meet company needs. CEA has its own research and training institutes, for example the National Institute for Nuclear Science and Technology (Institut Nationale de Sciences et Techniques Nucléaire) (IAEA 2011).

The nuclear power industry in France is owned and managed by a single government-private entity, Electricité de France (EDF), which is a “Société Anonyme”—that is, a private company that is 85 percent government-owned—with over 150,000 employees. A new French nuclear energy educational initiative—the French Council for Education and Training in Nuclear Energy (Conseil des Formations en Energie Nucléaire, CFEN)—was started in 2008 because the demand for expertise exceeded supply, mostly because of an aging nuclear energy workforce. During the coming decade, French institutions must recruit about 13,000 scientists and engineers with M.S. or Ph.D. degrees and 10,000 B.S.-level science technicians. The French initiative represents a broad focus in nuclear education in the nuclear energy area, including nuclear energy in general (mainly nuclear power) and the nuclear deterrence segment of CEA (Guet 2011).

CFEN was established by the French minister of higher education and research. EDF, CEA, and the large nuclear vendors AREVA and GDFSUEZ participate in CFEN. President Sarkozy has challenged this consortium to develop “Centers of Excellence” in nuclear science to provide the workforce for nuclear power and nuclear deterrence (Sarkozy 2010).

Other International Efforts

There is extensive international collaboration in nuclear science education led by French institutions and European Community institutions. One initiative is ACTINET-I3 (Integrated Infrastructure Initiative for Actinide Science),3 a consortium of 30 European research organizations from 13

_______________

3 For more information, see ACTINET 2011.

Suggested Citation:"9 Approaches to Assuring U.S. Nuclear and Radiochemistry Expertise." National Research Council. 2012. Assuring a Future U.S.-Based Nuclear and Radiochemistry Expertise. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13308.
×

countries devoted to basic sciences of the actinide elements. Together, the members of ACTINET form a network of actinide facilities that can support each other and also collaborate and conduct joint research activities. For example, ACTINET-I3 held summers schools for students from across Europe in 2010 and 2011 similar to the DOE-sponsored Nuclear Chemistry Summer Schools. In Japan, a parallel national initiative, J-ACTINET, has been launched. ACTINET-I3 serves as an excellent model for U.S.-based partnerships for nuclear and radiochemistry.

FINDINGS

The committee commends the long-term and more recent efforts of federal agencies to support nuclear and radiochemistry workforce education and development. There is some evidence that the recent efforts of the past five years have helped to improve the nuclear and radiochemistry expertise pipeline, at least as reflected in the number of new faculty hired in nuclear and radiochemistry (see Figure 3-4). However, these initiatives have been created separately and independently from each other, usually by different funding agencies with a slightly different emphasis on outcome. There exists a great potential for gaps in funding between the various parts of the academic pipeline, and there appears to be no comprehensive plan in place to address academic pipeline issues in general. It is also uncertain that current funding levels will continue. For example,

•  The grant for the Summer Schools in Nuclear Chemistry held at SJSU and BNL is up for its 5-year renewal.

•  NEUP made a funding announcement in August 2011 for university research and development awards, but has not yet funded any fellowship and scholarship awards.

•  DNDO funding has been planned out to 2018 depending on availability of funding (Samantha Connelly, DNDO, personal communication, April 2012).

Students will be attracted into the nuclear and radiochemistry field by long-term, stable opportunities. Clear funding initiatives at each educational level help to sustain students in the field. There are several educational programs that have been developed over the past few decades that are designed to address pipeline issues in nuclear and radiochemistry. There is some evidence that the most recent efforts during the past five years may indeed have helped to stem the tide, at least as reflected in the number of graduate program faculty (Chapter 3) and Ph.D. students produced in

Suggested Citation:"9 Approaches to Assuring U.S. Nuclear and Radiochemistry Expertise." National Research Council. 2012. Assuring a Future U.S.-Based Nuclear and Radiochemistry Expertise. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13308.
×

nuclear and radiochemistry (Chapter 2). However these initiatives have been created separately and independently from each other, usually by different funding agencies with a slightly different emphasis on outcome. Also, they have focused more on graduate education and postdoctoral fellowships than undergraduates.

Many federal agencies support a segment of nuclear and radiochemistry professional education and training by means of a summer school or research grants and fellowships. With the exception of small programs within the DOE Office of Science, the National Science Foundation, and some institutes of the National Institutes of Health, these initiatives are usually so specialized that their impact is narrow. Often the initiatives are temporary. A broad and sustained educational focus can best be achieved by coordinated interactions among federal agencies with leadership from a federal research office that has nuclear chemistry and radiochemistry as part of its mission.

On-the-job training plays a critical role in meeting short-term and long-term workforce needs. Since the curricula of most graduates in chemistry and physics in the United States does not typically emphasize nuclear chemistry or radiochemistry (see Chapter 3), many employers currently fill gaps in need by training nuclear specialists after they are hired. Similarly, national laboratories involved in working on nuclear security and energy often recruit and hire Ph.D.-level chemists in different subareas and then train them to become nuclear and radiochemistry professionals. Expertise can also come from cross-training between different but related technical areas, such as environmental management and nuclear security.

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Suggested Citation:"9 Approaches to Assuring U.S. Nuclear and Radiochemistry Expertise." National Research Council. 2012. Assuring a Future U.S.-Based Nuclear and Radiochemistry Expertise. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13308.
×

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×

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×

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Suggested Citation:"9 Approaches to Assuring U.S. Nuclear and Radiochemistry Expertise." National Research Council. 2012. Assuring a Future U.S.-Based Nuclear and Radiochemistry Expertise. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13308.
×
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The growing use of nuclear medicine, the potential expansion of nuclear power generation, and the urgent needs to protect the nation against external nuclear threats, to maintain our nuclear weapons stockpile, and to manage the nuclear wastes generated in past decades, require a substantial, highly trained, and exceptionally talented workforce. Assuring a Future U.S.-Based Nuclear and Radiochemistry Expertise examines supply and demand for expertise in nuclear chemistry nuclear science, and radiochemistry in the United States and presents possible approaches for ensuring adequate availability of these skills, including necessary science and technology training platforms.

Considering a range of reasonable scenarios looking to the future, none of these areas are likely to experience a decrease in demand for expertise. However, many in the current workforce are approaching retirement age and the number of students opting for careers in nuclear and radiochemistry has decreased dramatically over the past few decades. In order to avoid a gap in these critical areas, increases in student interest in these careers, in the research and educational capacity of universities and colleges, and sector specific on-the-job training will be needed. Concise recommendations are given for actions to avoid a shortage of nuclear chemistry, nuclear scientists, and radiochemists in the future.

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