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Saturday, February 24, 2007

NSF, DHS Team to Address Nuclear Threats

The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) have issued a joint solicitation to encourage long-term, transformational advances in nuclear detection technology.

The agencies envision the research leading to next-generation detection systems for identifying nuclear weapons, nuclear material, radiation dispersal devices and related threats, they say.

"Five NSF directorates and two offices will be participating in the initiative," says NSF program director Bruce Hamilton. "Expertise will span multiple academic disciplines, necessary for forming a comprehensive platform to guide fundamental research on domestic nuclear detection."

DNDO intends to provide $58 million over 5 years to fund the effort with proposals going to NSF for review through the agency's merit-based process. Peer-review panels will consist of experts recruited jointly by NSF and DNDO.

The funding will grant opportunities for colleges and universities that will focus on detection systems, individual sensors or other research relevant to the detection of nuclear weapons, special nuclear material, radiation dispersal devices and related threats, DHS says. The program is called the Academic Research Initiative and will foster frontier research and build the nation’s intellectual capital in nuclear sciences.

“This Academic Research Initiative is a critical element in building the nation’s intellectual capital in nuclear detection capability,” says DNDO Director Vayl Oxford. “Continued advances in science and technology are a key element in the long-term effort to protect the Nation against nuclear attacks.”

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