The purpose of the NFGFP is to meet U.S. Government (USG) needs for highly trained scientists and engineers in technical areas in which there are ongoing federal research and development programs. Some of these areas include:
1. Technical Mission Area 1 (TMA 1): In general, the NTNF community is interested in advancements in the analysis and characterization of nuclear and other radioactive materials. Of particular importance are innovations in the speed, accuracy, and precision of determining the physical, chemical, isotopic, micro-structural, and/or morphological properties of materials. Specifically in FY2013, the USG is primarily seeking significant developments in the quantification of micro-structural and morphological measurements of bulk uranium and plutonium materials in both oxide and metal forms.
2. Technical Mission Area 2 (TMA 2): Following the detonation of a nuclear device, solid debris samples to be analyzed are expected to contain trace-level quantities of nuclear materials combined with material from the immediate environment around the detonation site, which may have been activated and is assumed to have been vaporized and recondensed. As such, debris for dissolution is expected to have formed at high temperatures and contain silicates and other hard-to-dissolve materials. Solid fallout debris is typically in a glassy matrix containing parts per million (ppm) quantities of plutonium or uranium with radioactive fission products. Improvements are sought in the characterization and analysis of nuclear and non-nuclear constituents within these nuclear and post-detonation debris materials, including those present in trace quantities.
3. Technical Mission Area 3 (TMA 3): General studies that improve our understanding of how relevant stages of the nuclear fuel cycle create, persist, or modify discriminating material characteristics in the metal or oxide forms of uranium or plutonium. FY2013 activities should focus on identifying discriminating characteristics that help assess the process history and provenance of bulk uranium and plutonium materials produced in the enrichment, conversion to oxides, and conversion to metal stages of the fuel cycle, and developing simulations that predict material characteristics from parameterized processes.