Richland, WA- Several college students have spent the summer in the Tri-Cities getting a first hand look at how scientists are trying to keep nuclear weapons from falling into the wrong hands.
The students have been interning at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. PNNL is working with the National Nuclear Security Administration to bring in a new generation of experts on non-proliferation.
Matthew Gidden from Texas A&M has been working on a project to automate inspections of enriched uranium. Like any internship, Gidden says hands-on experience can't be beat.
The modeling tools I used (this summer) I used once or twice at school, but this was a major tool here, and it's a very important tool in the nuclear industry."
With North Korea and other countries wanting to develop nuclear programs, and with mounting concerns about terrorists getting their hands on nuclear materials, PNNL says the United States needs a new generation of experts on non-proliferation to replace the safeguard professionals approaching retirement.
Gidden starts graduate school in the fall, and will spend six months in Paris next year, studying nuclear engineering.