Research is one of the fundamental elements of sustaining and promoting national and global nuclear security. The institute conducts collaborative research across its charter members, with governmental agencies, universities, and research centers nationally and on international level. We are engaged in collaboration with various federal and state agencies, international organizations, such as International Atomic Energy Agency and World Institute for Nuclear Security, and US and foreign universities.
Key research areas for the Institute for Nuclear Security include:
- Signatures of nuclear materials and processes;
- Prevention, detection, interdiction, and response for illicit nuclear/radioactive threats;
- Applications of nuclear probes for detection of security-relevant materials;
- Application of nuclear security in real-world settings; and
- Policy, law, and diplomacy relating to global nuclear security.
The institute fosters the development of collaborative research proposals in nuclear security applications as opportunities arise. The institute’s philosophy is to focus on areas where we can augment our research mission without interference to ongoing relationships and projects — therefore, not every project that is within the nuclear security thrust area is managed through the institute. In general, the institute targets those large-scale, complex proposals wherein interdisciplinary and multiorganizational teams are best suited for the work.
As an example, the Institute for Nuclear Security was recently led the development of a major grant proposal to the National Nuclear Security Administration to establish a Radiochemistry Center of Excellence at UT. This proposal, which involved three separate academic departments, will establish an academic pipeline and center of excellence for NNSA’s nuclear stockpile stewardship mission area.
Funding for the institute’s research programs comes from a variety of sources, including the Department of Energy, National Nuclear Security Administration, the Department of State, the University Tennessee, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Y-12 National Security Complex, Oak Ridge Associated Universities, and others.