UT Launches Institute for Nuclear Security

 

KNOXVILLE—Speculation over the nuclear ambitions of countries like Iran and North Korea and debate over proposed nuclear reactors in the US and abroad make it apparent that the need for nuclear security experts did not end with the Cold War. For this reason, the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, has launched the UT Institute for Nuclear Security (INS).

In collaboration with charter members Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Y-12 National Security Complex, and Oak Ridge Associated Universities, the institute is in a unique position to lead the world in solving the crucial problems for global nuclear security.

“A few other universities have nuclear security programs; however, in no case is there the combination of close organizational ties, geographic co-location, and access to working nuclear facilities that this region affords,” said Howard Hall, director of the institute and UT-ORNL Governor’s Chair for nuclear security.

The INS, housed within the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy, harnesses the collective expertise and capabilities of its partners to tackle tough problems and grow into an internationally recognized policy and educational resource.

“We want our institute and UT to have a major impact on solving global challenges in nuclear security and our graduates to become the next generation of leaders that secure the future against nuclear threats while preserving our precious liberties,” Hall said.

The INS seeks to develop and provide expertise that will shape national and international policies for nuclear security with a formulation process that involves research, education, training, and field activities. It will hold talks and conferences with premier experts in the nuclear security field. It will also further develop interdisciplinary scientific research offering students opportunities to solve real-world challenges within the nuclear security realm.

Already, the INS has sponsored the development of multiple new curricular offerings, such as a class on arms control and treaty negotiation taught by Ambassador Thomas Graham, the lead US negotiator on the START treaty. So far, the institute has sixteen faculty members and thirty graduate and six undergraduate students.

“We established this institute in recognition of the fact that there is a tremendous need in this area,” said Hall. “The challenges of controlling nuclear arms, securing nuclear materials, and preventing proliferation and nuclear terrorism require broad expertise. Virtually every academic unit of the university can contribute to our nuclear security program.”

Along with its charter members, the institute seeks to form partnerships with government, industry, and academic institutions around the world.

C O N T A C T :

Whitney Heins (865-974-5460, wheins@utk.edu)

Howard Hall (865-974-2525, hhall6@utk.edu)

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