This program is designed to meet the needs of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) for appropriately trained personnel in research and development in areas pertinent to Nuclear Nonproliferation and International Safeguards (NNIS). Increasing costs for graduate education and a high demand for nuclear-related scientists and engineers with a bachelor’s degree have had a negative impact on the number of well-qualified students seeking advanced degrees in nuclear technologies and sciences. This problem has been particularly acute in programs in nuclear materials, engineering, nuclear science and engineering, radiochemistry and health physics, which has resulted in the closure of several programs and declining graduate school enrollments over the past two decades. This fellowship seeks to build collaboration between the leading nuclear technology programs and the schools studying the policy aspects of nuclear nonproliferation. The primary emphasis of this fellowship is to produce doctoral graduates who are familiar with both the technical and policy aspects of nonproliferation and international safeguards.
Two additional elements are having a negative impact on the United States’ Nuclear Nonproliferation International Safeguards workforce pipeline. First, the demand for nuclear scientists and engineers (NSE) has increased dramatically over the past five years. The employment demands from the radiopharmaceutical, nuclear power, nuclear defense, and waste management industries have caused a dramatic increase in the demand for nuclear scientists and engineers, who would previously have worked in the Nonproliferation International Safeguards arena. Secondly, recent surveys have shown that the majority of NSE currently in the workforce are rapidly approaching retirement age. As a result, the demand for workers in this field will continue to increase in the near future.
The NNSA’s Next Generation Safeguards Initiative (NGSI) is a comprehensive, multi-million dollar per year program dedicated to developing the policies, concepts, technologies, expertise, and infrastructure necessary to sustain the international safeguards system over the next 25 years. One of the key elements of the NGSI is the revitalization and expansion of the nuclear nonproliferation and international safeguards human capital base to meet the challenges outlined above through targeted investments in a new generation of international nuclear safeguards professionals.
The NNSA is the principal federal sponsor of long-term Nuclear Nonproliferation International Safeguards-related research and development. The investments made by NNSA focus on cutting edge, high-risk/high-payoff, basic and applied research, including testing and evaluation. This work has led to improvements in international safeguards systems and technologies. These efforts can only be enhanced through the appropriate development of a technical workforce to meet the challenges posed by making the world safe from nuclear threat.
This fellowship program is designed to provide incentives for universities to invest in and develop their NSE programs. Specifically, this program’s goal is to encourage talented students to continue their education and seek a graduate education in research related to international safeguards and nuclear nonproliferation.