Colleges: CAS, VCEA
WSU researchers are recognized worldwide for their expertise in the detection, monitoring, and cleanup of radioactive materials with a focus on radiochemistry research. WSU’s nuclear chemistry program is also a cornerstone of the newly formed WSU-PNNL joint Nuclear Science and Technology Institute (NSTI). The overall focus of the Institute is to understand and control how materials evolve in radiation environments to advance knowledge in nuclear materials management, next-generation nuclear energy, and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. In addition, WSU’s role in the recent Energy Frontier Research Center, IDREAM (Interfacial Dynamics in Radioactive Environments and Materials), led by PNNL, provides additional visibility to this work. Nuclear chemistry at WSU focuses on the synthesis of actinide compounds, measurement of the thermodynamic properties of nuclear materials under extreme conditions (high temperatures and radiation environments), structure and bonding in actinide colloids and in nuclear fuel forms, modeling of multiphase behavior in complex solutions, and quantum mechanical calculations of actinide species. Additionally, researchers are focused on understanding and controlling how materials evolve in radiation environments—to prevent the use of illicit nuclear materials, resolve issues in nuclear waste management, and advance next-generation nuclear energy. Furthermore, WSU is home to high-profile DOE supported programs in nuclear waste vitrification, used nuclear fuel dissolution in geologic repositories, and reactive oxides. The program’s vision is to continue to expand multidisciplinary research and innovation in nuclear science and technology while strengthening the regional workforce. For more than a decade, WSU’s radiochemistry program has been one of the top US producers of doctorates in this research area.