From May 13 through 17, the Center for Nuclear Security Science and Policy Initiatives (NSSPI) led a Domestic Nuclear Facilities Experience (DNFE) in New Mexico. The tour included visits to a series of operational nuclear fuel cycle facilities and national laboratories, including Sandia National Laboratories (SNL), Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in Carlsbad, NM, and URENCO USA near Eunice, NM.
The DNFE is an opportunity for students to view operations up close and to discuss applied safeguards and safety measures with practitioners on site of the nuclear fuel cycle facilities like WIPP and URENCO. At SNL, participants visited laboratories of national security importance as well as the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History in Albuquerque, NM. LANL staff arranged for tours of various facilities, and both labs conducted Texas A&M alumni panels comprised of former students now working at the labs. The participants also made research presentations at a meeting of the Southwest Chapter of the Institute for Nuclear Materials Management in Santa Fe, NM.
DNFE participants included five graduate students and seven undergraduates from Texas A&M University, as well as three graduate students and one undergraduate from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). The students were accompanied by NSSPI Assistant Research Engineer Dr. Evans Kitcher, VCU Assistant Professor Dr. Braden Goddard, and Texas A&M Department of Nuclear Engineering Facility Coordinator Troy Stepan. The International Safeguards Office of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) sponsored the DNFE. The Texas A&M Department of Nuclear Engineering sponsored the travel for the Texas A&M undergraduate students.