National Nuclear Security Administration

Interns at PNNL solve real-world problems in nuclear safeguard research

June 20, 2018

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Scientist Mike Cantaloub uses a piece of equipment designed by WSU students at one of PNNL’s laboratories.
Scientist Mike Cantaloub uses a piece of equipment designed by WSU students at one of PNNL’s laboratories.
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
WSU students explain how their equipment design improves the sensitivity of gamma spectroscopy systems in support of atmospheric radionuclide measurement.
WSU students explain how their equipment design improves the sensitivity of gamma spectroscopy systems in support of atmospheric radionuclide measurement.
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Sponsoring a Safeguards Internship Program at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) doesn’t only turn a new generation of talented students onto a vital national security mission, it also results in real-world solutions to nonproliferation challenges for NNSA’s Office of International Nuclear Safeguards.

The equipment designed and fabricated for radiation detection by Washington State University (WSU) engineering students in the program is used extensively by scientists at PNNL. The range of projects the PNNL-WSU collaboration has delivered include large, robust equipment that supports lead shielding for detection systems, and precise, small equipment that improves the analysis of samples held on a filament the width of a human hair.

“The equipment WSU engineering students have delivered to us has been quality work. Some of their projects have improved the sensitivity of our detection systems, while others have enhanced our ability to more safely and ergonomically handle our detectors and lead shield assemblies,” said PNNL scientist Mike Cantaloub, who has requested a number of projects in his radiation detection research.

In the eight years of the program, over 100 WSU students have participated.