Center for Nuclear Security Science and Policy Initiatives (NSSPI) graduate students Ernesto Ordonez-Ferrer and Mariah Ramirez have been selected as Seaborg Institute Summer Research Fellows at Los Alamos National Laboratory for 2020. The fellowship will run 10-12 weeks during the summer, and fellows will work with scientists at Los Alamos on independent research projects related to their graduate research.
Ordonez-Ferrer is working with NSSPI Deputy Director Dr. Craig Marianno on his Master’s thesis project involving Polyvinyl Toluene (PVT) scintillators. His research focuses on characterizing and tracking the onset of internal fogging in PVT used in radiation portal monitors (RPM) after being subjected to environments with varying temperatures and humidity. A light-intensity measuring circuit was developed to track the fogging and ultimately alert RPM operators when to perform maintenance on the equipment or replace the detector altogether after a specific degree of degradation has occurred. Ordonez-Ferrer earned his B.S. in nuclear engineering from Texas A&M University in May of 2017.
Ramirez is currently working with NSSPI Director Dr. Sunil Chirayath and Dr. Charles M. Folden, III of the Chemistry Department and the Cyclotron Institute at Texas A&M. Ramirez’s project involves the development of safeguard measures for neptunium-237. Using radiochemical processes, nuclear engineering concepts, and radiation detection applications, she plans to develop a methodology for measuring and detecting neptunium based off nuclear signatures for various storage types. This is beneficial for safeguards because it enhances nuclear material accountancy and control. Ramirez earned a B.S. in Physics, Radiation Option, from the University of Texas at Austin in 2017.
The Seaborg Summer Fellowship program is sponsored by the Department of Energy, the Department of Homeland Security and the G. T. Seaborg Institute for Transactinium Science.