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Washington State University
WSU Research Nuclear Nonproliferation

Nuclear nonproliferation

Advancing goals and safeguards through basic research

In the summer of 1945, mushroom clouds rose over the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, affirming their annihilation. As the world realized the horrifying significance of atomic warfare, the quest to stop the spread of nuclear weapons began.

Research conducted at WSU supports international efforts to prevent nuclear proliferation. Discoveries made by WSU-led research teams advance nuclear verification technologies and support nuclear forensics—the ability to track the source, trafficking, and enrichment of nuclear material. They enable development of adaptive materials that can withstand high temperatures and stresses in high-radiation environments. They find ways to recycle and dispose of nuclear wastes sustainably.

WSU faculty members collaborate with leading scientists in U.S. Department of Energy national laboratories. Their partnerships accelerate discoveries that ultimately make our world safer.

Research areas

  • Actinide science
  • Radioanalytical methods for nuclear forensics and treaty verification
  • waste barrels Improving security for storage of dangerous materials

    New technology safeguards radioactive weapons and waste

    Safe storage of nuclear weapons and waste is critical for national security and environmental health. Specialized seals are used to prevent tampering.

    WSU researcher Hergen Eilers has developed a seal technology that adds a layer of security beyond what’s found in existing seals. His technology also allows for simple visual inspection to verify that a storage site is secure.

    How the seal works

    Dr. Eilers’ seals are composed of nano-particles embedded in a polymer. He uses a wavefront-modulated laser, which can control scattered light. When the laser interacts with the seal, the light is scattered by the particles. … » More …

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