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

***Due to COVID-19 this program will be held online for Summer 2020. Program organizers will be in contact with program participants with additional details.***

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. 

The following information refers to summer programming prior to Summer 2020, when students were able to work onsite. Updates on plans for the online version of the summer program will be made available.

85% of the summer program is a Research Internship onsite at LANL: Students will spend the majority of their time working 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

The remaining 15% of the program is Seminars, Tours, and Hands-On Training: Weekly enrichment in nuclear nonproliferation concepts and R&D efforts to include hands-on training and technical tours will provide broad exposure to the LANL mission space.

Examples of past activities include:

  • Hands-on training at the LANL safeguards laboratory where all IAEA inspectors train
  • Tour of the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center (LANSCE) Accelerator as well as the Proton Radiography facility
  • Tour of the Dual-Axis Radiographic Hydrodynamic Test (DARHT) facility, critical to performing tests that can assess the nation’s nuclear stockpile
  • Tours of various Sandia National Laboratory Facilities (Albuquerque, NM)
  • Tours of various Atomic and Nuclear Museums (Los Alamos, Albuquerque)

Requirement Info: The summer program is a requirement to fulfill the obligations of your NSSC Graduate Fellowship. Non-graduate NSSC Fellows and NSSC Affiliates are welcome to apply, but space is limited and priority is given to incoming NSSC Graduate Fellows.

Dates: The online week program will be held from June 23 – August 6, 2020. Students are required to stay for the duration of the program.

Students are also welcome to apply to the optional “Nuclear Inspector School” held from June 15 – 19. See website for more info on this week long program and how to apply. 

Registration:  If you are a NSSC Fellow or Affiliate you will need to fill out the NSSC Pre-Registration form. If you have not already received this form contact nssc_info@berkeley.edu. NSSC pre-registration will close on November 4th. If you are not NSSC Affiliated, and interested in the program contact: KEEPINschool@lanl.gov. 

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.

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. For details on logistics see “Logistical Information on the NSSC-LANL Summer Program” handout.

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.

View a great interactive map of lab and surrounding areas here.

Tons more information on the area available here.

Housing: Students will identify their own housing arrangement during their stay in Los Alamos. NSSC is always available as a resource, please feel free to reach out to nssc_info@berkeley.edu with any housing questions or concerns.

Housing Research Options:

LANL also identified the Comfort Inn as a good option, which includes microwaves and fridges in every room, free breakfast, and a bus to lab. 2 students per room are encouraged. Please check with your institutional POC to determine if your preferred lodging options are within budget.

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: The bus system in Los Alamos is FREE and drops off near the lab. Check here for bus route maps.  

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.

Questions? Concerns?

Email 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. “
  • “Thank you for the opportunity. Program as a whole was fantastic.”
  • “Being at LANL was a great privilege. It was also fun!”

    Summer 2019 cohort.

Summer recreation time:


Information on past LANL Summer Programs

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 School by clicking here

Los Alamos