[ RadSafe ] Ranks of Nuclear Experts Dwindle

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Sun Feb 17 10:58:10 CST 2008

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George Dowell

--- dutchbradt at hughes.net wrote:

From: Clayton Bradt <dutchbradt at hughes.net>
To: radsafe at radlab.nl
Subject: [ RadSafe ] Ranks of Nuclear Experts Dwindle
Date: Sun, 17 Feb 2008 16:20:49 +0000 (UTC)

Ranks of Nuclear Experts Dwindle
Few Replacements for Forensic 
Specialists When They Retire
By Spencer S. Hsu
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, February 17, 2008; A04

Two leading U.S. scientific groups 
warned yesterday that, in the next 15 
years, as many as half of the nation's 
relatively few experts in identifying 
smuggled nuclear materials and 
detonated-bomb components may retire.

The pipeline of young researchers who 
could replace the nation's 35 to 50 
nuclear specialists is almost empty, 
the American Physical Society and the 
American Association for the 
Advancement of Science said in a new 
report at the association's annual 
meeting in Boston. They called for an 
invigorated program of university-
research funding, more graduate school 
and laboratory positions in related 
disciplines, and new incentives for 
industry support of university 

The study's authors, led by Michael 
May, director emeritus of the Lawrence 
Livermore National Laboratory, said 
that boosting U.S. nuclear forensics 
capability will help deter the black-
market smuggling of nuclear materials 
or a nuclear detonation in a city.

Nuclear forensics can be used to trace 
the source components of a bomb to the 
government that produced them and 
potentially to the experts behind such 
an attack, subjecting them to the 
prospect of quick retaliation, the 64-
page report said. "A credible . . . 
capability may deter some who are 
principally motivated by financial, 
rather than ideological, concerns," the 
report added.

The scientists' report called for the 
development of faster and more accurate 
field equipment, as well as modeling 
and simulation technologies; the 
creation of a comprehensive sample-
matching database of nuclear materials; 
national simulations; and the 
establishment of independent expert 
panels to measure progress and advise 
the U.S. government in case of an 

Only 35-50 nuclear specialists?

Clayton J. Bradt
dutchbradt at hughes.net
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