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Jason Hayword, a professor of nuclear engineering and UT’s principal investigator for the grant.

The Department of Nuclear Engineering in the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Tickle College of Engineering is part of an 11-member university consortium grant for research and development into nuclear science, engineering, and security. The $25 million grant is funded by the US Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration.

The University of California, Berkeley, will lead the effort. By 2026, UT is expected to receive $8 million from the NNSA grants, making it the second largest university recipient within the consortium.

“We are very excited to take leading roles in radiation detection, nuclear data, nuclear engineering, and computing and optimization in nuclear applications as a part of this work that couples closely to five of our nation’s top national laboratories, aiming to send more PhD graduates to the labs while addressing important questions in fundamental and applied nuclear science,” said UCOR Fellow Jason Hayward, a professor of nuclear engineering and UT’s principal investigator for the grant. “In the next five years, our research portfolio and leadership within this consortium will be enhanced by inclusion of Assistant Professors Vlad Sobes and Sandra Bogetic in nuclear engineering. Meanwhile, our leading role in radiation detection materials R&D will be ensured by the excellent work of Professors Chuck Melcher and Mariya Zhuravleva, who run our Scintillation Materials Research Center.”

The 11 universities in the consortium will partner with five national laboratories—Los Alamos, Lawrence Berkeley, Lawrence Livermore, Oak Ridge, and Sandia—to carry out work in five research focus areas: nuclear physics and nuclear data, radiochemistry and nuclear chemistry, nuclear material science, radiation detection, and nuclear chemical engineering and nuclear engineering.

Two overarching efforts are linked by these research areas: first, computing and optimization in nuclear applications, and second, education in nuclear science, technology, and policy.

The Nuclear Science and Security Consortium’s (NSSC) mission is to train the next generation of nuclear scientists and engineers while engaging in research and development that ranges from basic aspects of new technology and methods to programmatic work directly supporting the NNSA’s nuclear security and nonproliferation missions. Established in 2011, the NSSC has already created a pattern of success, advancing research complementary to DOE national laboratory programs and placing more than 130 postdoctoral and staff hires in the national labs and other government agencies.


Élan Young (865-974-8786,