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NCSU to lead $25 million research consortium to improve nuclear proliferation monitoring

RALEIGH N.C. State University has won the lead role in a major federal grant, for $25 million for a consortium of universities and national laboratories to improve the means for detecting international nuclear proliferation.

The grant is from the National Nuclear Security Administration.

It follows two announcements larger federal grants: $140 million from the Department of Energy in January to develop next-generation power electronics and $60 million from the National Security Agency to advance the science of “big data.”

NCSU’s proposal beat out 22 others to win the nuclear proliferation effort, which is called the Consortium for Nonproliferation Enabling Capabilities, or CNEC.

Chancellor Randy Woodson said in an interview: “With the nuclear proliferation project, for example, ours is one of the top nuclear engineering programs in the country, and that’s not something that just happens overnight. It relates serious investment by the state over a long period of time and many years of extraordinary effort by the faculty.”

Woodson said the grants show how the faculty has focused on areas where the university has a strong competitive advantage.

The NNSA is a semi-autonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy. It manages the nation’s stockpile of nuclear weapons, works to prevent nuclear proliferation and reduce the danger from weapons of mass destruction, develops nuclear propulsion for the U.S. Navy and responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the U.S. and elsewhere.

NCSU’s partners in the consortium include the University of Michigan, Purdue University, the University of Illinois, Kansas State University, Georgia Tech University and N.C. Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro. National laboratories also are partners, including Los Alamos, Oak Ridge and Pacific Northwest.

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