William S. Charlton, David Boyle, Sunil Chirayath, David G. Ford, Claudio A. Gariazzo, Craig Marianno, Kelley Ragusa, Alexer Solodov, “Educating the Next Generation of Nuclear Safeguards and Security Experts at TAMU”, GLOBAL 2011, Makuhar, Japan, December 11-16, 2011.
The Nuclear Security Science and Policy Institute (NSSPI) has established a Nuclear Nonproliferation specialization for the Master of Science degree within the Nuclear Engineering Department at Texas A&M University (TAMU). Since 2004, twenty-eight students have received MS degrees in this area and over 200 (technical and policy) students have taken classes offered by NSSPI at TAMU. The model for educating safeguards and security experts is being changed at TAMU. Beyond conventional classroom lectures, NSSPI has developed alternative educational models based on practical experience, asynchronous learning portals, and virtual courses in both nuclear safeguards and nuclear security. Due to the experimental and practical past experiences of NSSPI staff and faculty, a heavy hands-on component has been implemented for TAMU nuclear engineering graduate students: hands-on education at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, visiting nuclear installations in other countries to discuss applied safeguards, and summer internships at several national laboratories. In an effort to disseminate basic nuclear education for professionals and students around the globe, NSSPI has developed a publically-available online resource that offers self-paced, independent course modules in basic safeguards and security education: the Nuclear Safeguards Education Portal. Another venture utilized by NSSPI is using a virtual TAMU campus to hold classes for students at a distance. NSSPI is building upon a successful academic program by embracing new educational means. This paper describes the current efforts NSSPI and TAMU have undertaken in strengthening the nuclear nonproliferation, safeguards and security human resource capacity domestically and internationally and the lessons learned from these efforts.