Two coalitions of universities will develop materials-detection technology and help improve U.S.-led monitoring of global nuclear fuel cycles over the next five years, under separate grants from the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) worth $25 million each.
The grants are worth $5 million per year over half a decade, the NNSA said in a press release.
The Georgia Institute of Technology leads one of the grantees, the Consortium for Enabling Technologies & Innovation. The group of 12 academic institutions will develop “technologies supporting the nonproliferation mission to detect and characterize the production of nuclear materials,” including “novel instrumentation for nuclear fuel-cycle monitoring,” according to the NNSA release.
The University of Michigan leads the second group, the Consortium for Monitoring, Technology & Verification. The group encompasses 14 universities and will “improve U.S. capabilities to monitor the global nuclear fuel cycle” with a focus on “nuclear and particle physics, signals and source terms, and the physics of monitoring nuclear materials,” according to the semiautonomous Department of Energy agency.
The work is funded through the NNSA’s Integrated University Program: enabling Technologies and Innovation and Monitoring, Technology and Verification program in the agency’s Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation office. The office in 2019 accounted for about $2 billion of the DOE branch’s roughly $15 billion budget and seeks to prevent proliferation of nuclear weapons technology, mostly by trying to prevent the spread and accessibility of weapon-usable fissile material.