Sabrina Ireland was one of three undergraduate students in nuclear engineering who was selected for the Nuclear Forensics Undergraduate Scholarship Program sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security.
Ireland completed the research project during her other internship at Idaho National Laboratory this summer. Her research successfully identified a taggant material that could be added during the enrichment process for nuclear material, allowing forensic investigators to identify the source of the material as the taggant follows the fissile material through the enrichment process. Ireland’s mentor at INL suggested the project, which has been submitted for a patent. The lab plans to build upon her contribution.
Ireland was part of the inaugural year of the scholarship program which strives to introduce undergraduates in nuclear engineering to the field of nuclear forensic research.
“I knew that it would be successful due to the history of the model and how the national laboratory system generally supports research-based initiatives. I was surprised, however, at the level of research performed by the first three Nuclear Forensics Scholars and how relevant their work was to the advancement of nuclear forensics research. In all three cases, the general research area could be advanced into a PhD dissertation,” said Craig Williamson, program oversight manager and South Carolina Universities Research and Education Foundation Director.