Spend a summer learning about how game-changing science, engineering, and technology are applied to reduce the dynamic threats of nuclear nonproliferation.

Basic Info: The NSSC-LANL Summer Program is an eight week extended research internship hosted by the Nuclear Science and Security Consortium and Los Alamos National Laboratory. The program provides a survey of the national laboratory activities and mission space, focused research projects with a strong connection to nonproliferation science and technology, and a companion symposium series linking nuclear security science, technology, and policy. Students will have broad exposure to LANL, access to mentors from LANL and Sandia National Laboratories, and opportunities for lab-directed research in physics, nuclear engineering and nonproliferation, intelligence and space research, international and applied technology, applied physics, national security, and more. The goals of the program are to: create working relationships between NSSC students and LANL scientists, increase number of students performing lab-directed research with LANL, and to turn research and training into careers at the national laboratories. 

Students will work either individually or in small teams with a LANL or SNL staff member on a research project that has a strong connection to nuclear security science and nonproliferation.

Examples of past research projects:

  • Online monitoring of 239Pu production for Molten Salt Reactors
  • Isotopic ratios of samarium by Thermal Ionization Mass Spectrometry (TIMS) for nuclear forensic applications
  • Material studies using transmission electron microscopy, discrete dislocation dynamics, and micromechanical testing
  • MCNP simulation of a Uranium Neutron Coincidence Collar
  • How fission impacts the final abundance pattern of the r-process
  • Active interrogation of shielded uranium to determine enrichment using delayed neutron die-away
  • Silicon drift detectors for nuclear forensics applications
  • Activity ratios in decay chains for forensics applications

Lectures on nuclear nonproliferation concepts and R&D efforts will provide broad exposure to the LANL mission space.

Examples of past lectures include:

  • Reactor and Spent Fuel Safeguards
  • Nuclear Deterrence and Vigilance: Space-Based Explosion Monitoring
  • Nuclear Smuggling, Detection, and Deterrence Program
  • National Security Through Radioactive Source Removal
  • Data Analytics for Nonproliferation

NSSC Requirement Info: The summer program is a requirement to fulfill the obligations of your NSSC Graduate Fellowship. Students who are not NSSC Fellows are also welcome to apply, but space is limited and priority is given to NSSC Graduate Fellows.

Dates: The eight-week program will be held from June 17th – August 9th, 2024.

Registration:  Pre-registration for Summer 2024 is now open! NSSC scholars can complete the pre-registration form here.

Eligibility: The program is designed for students from the Nuclear Science and Security Consortium. NSSC students should contact their faculty advisor or the NSSC Program Manager to express interest in the program. A limited number of seats are available for students from outside the Consortium. Participants must be U.S. citizens enrolled in accredited full-time upper-level undergraduate or graduate programs in science & engineering or relevant fields. GPA must be above 3.2 to attend. Preference will be given to graduate-level students.

Research Scope and Engagement Options: The NSSC-LANL Summer Program allows research in physics, nuclear engineering and nonproliferation, intelligence and space research, international and applied technology, applied physics, national security, nuclear forensics and radiochemistry, radiation detection, nuclear data, and more. The program is very flexible and NSSC and LANL will work with the student to craft individual programs to cater to individual research interests. Students will be paired with the appropriate lab mentor to benefit their research.

At the end of the NSSC-LANL Summer program scholars will have the opportunity to participate in an optional trip to the Nevada National Security Site’s (NNSS) Device Assembly Facility (DAF). The DAF trip gives students the chance to participate in an experiment using NCERC’s stores of special nuclear materials used for research and training, hear presentations and demonstrations about critical and subcritical experiment design, execution, and measurements, and visit the Sedan Crater, formed in 1962 during an excavation experiment using a 104-kiloton thermonuclear device (Dates TBA)!

Funding Support: NSSC will cover housing and travel costs for NSSC participants. For UC Berkeley students travel should be arranged following the guidelines detailed in the NSSC Student Travel Guide. For students attending other institutions, please follow the guidelines provided by your school. LANL will be providing a student stipend during the research period. More details on funding will be provided upon program acceptance.

Los Alamos and Surrounding Areas: Los Alamos is located in Northern New Mexico, around 40 miles from the beautiful town of Santa Fe, and about 12 miles from the Bandelier National Park. Another great city, Taos, is one and a half hours away by car. The Angel Fire resort is around two hours from Los Alamos.

Check out this Facebook group to learn more about Student Life at Los Alamos and connect with other students in the area.

Tons more information on the area available here!

Students will identify their own lodging and transportation arrangements during their stay in Los Alamos. NSSC is always available as a resource, please feel free to reach out to avabenkhatar@berkeley.edu or nssc_info@berkeley.edu with any questions or concerns.

Housing Research Options:

While the town of Los Alamos will be closest to the lab, there are surrounding areas that students can look into for housing options. White Rock is around 15 minutes away. Espanola is around 30 minutes from the lab, but is somewhat unsafe, and not recommended as a place to live. Santa Fe is around 35-40 minutes away by car. Housing within the city of Los Alamos is preferred and encouraged.

Transportation Options:

New Mexico Transport offers service from Albuquerque/Santa Fe to Mesa Public Library (a 6 minute walk from LANL). This service runs 5 times a week and costs $3-6 each way. Visit their website for more information.

It is also an option to drive your own vehicle or arrange for a shared car rental. Please check with your institutional POC to determine whether or not your transportation plans are within budget.

  • For more information on LANL’s transportation options, click here.

Questions? Concerns?

Email avabenkhatar@berkeley.edu or nssc_info@berkeley.edu

What are past program participants saying?:

  • “As far as exposure to the nonproliferation mission and the science supporting it, this internship was excellent. “
  • “I would really like to thank this program and every staff member’s wonderful curation. There is no other summer program like it and it is extremely career-shaping!”
  • “Being at LANL was a great privilege. It was also fun!”
Summer 2023 cohort

Roster for 2023 NSSC-LANL School

Information on past LANL Summer Programs

View the roster for 2022 NSSC-LANL School by clicking here

View the roster for 2021 NSSC-LANL School by clicking here

View the roster for 2020 NSSC-LANL School by clicking here

View the roster for 2019 NSSC-LANL School by clicking here

View the roster for 2018 NSSC-LANL School by clicking here

View the roster for 2017 NSSC-LANL School by clicking here

View the roster for 2015 LANL/SNL School by clicking here

View the roster for 2014 LANL/SNL School by clicking here

Los Alamos