The Nuclearfutures Laboratory has openings for graduate students interested in studying interdisciplinary problems related to nuclear energy, nuclear nonproliferation, and nuclear disarmament verification. Students interested in pursuing a doctoral degree through the Nuclearfutures Laboratory can either apply for a PhD program in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE) or for a PhD program in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs (WWS).

Our work focuses on the technical aspects of nuclear-energy use and related fuel-cycle technologies, and specifically on questions related to the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Student projects could help assess selected reactor technologies and their fuel cycles, in terms of their technical feasibility, life-cycle economics, safety, proliferation resistance, and environmental impact.

Nuclear Energy: Assessing the potential role of nuclear energy in a carbon-constrained world, with a particular emphasis on proliferation implications that would be associated with any significant expansion of nuclear energy; Assessing the viability of specific reactor and fuel cycle concepts considered for future use.

Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament: Developing the technical basis for cooperative international policy initiatives to support nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament; Verifying a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty (FMCT); Reducing –and eliminating if possible– global stocks of fissile materials; Assessing fissile material production capabilities worldwide based on detailed reactor models and neutronics calculations

Nuclear Fuel Cycle: Detecting clandestine fissile material production; Converting research reactors to low-enriched fuel and eliminating highly enriched uranium (HEU) from the civilian nuclear fuel cycle; Improving safeguards on centrifuge enrichment plants; Limiting the use of proliferation-prone nuclear technologies in the nuclear fuel cycle.

Nuclear Forensics: Determining signatures of plutonium from various types of dedicated production reactors; Determining signatures of highly enriched uranium obtained with different enrichment processes; Evaluating the role, capabilities, and limits of nuclear forensic analysis; Applying nuclear forensics to support nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament initiatives.

Nuclear Archaeology: Another branch of our current work is focused on nuclear disarmament and the technical means to support it, especially with methods and technologies that can help verify nuclear disarmament. A possible area for independent research projects includes the development and assessment of new approaches to so-called “nuclear archaeology.” This method seeks to verify declarations by states of their past production of nuclear materials for weapons purposes. Computer simulations of nuclear reactors can be an important part of this analysis in order to calculate the consumption and the composition of nuclear fuels over time.

Postdoc Position Opening

THIS POSITION HAS BEEN FILLED (Spring 2010)

A postdoctoral research or more senior research position is available with Princeton University’s Nuclear Futures Laboratory, an initiative of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and the Program on Science and Global Security of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Independent and collaborative research will support projects at the interfaces of nuclear-energy use, climate change, and nuclear nonproliferation. Additional responsibilities include work with undergraduate and graduate students in the group and project support of the International Panel on Fissile Materials. For more information on ongoing projects, see nuclearfutures.princeton.edu.

Applicants should have a PhD in engineering or the physical sciences and have expertise in nuclear reactor and fuel cycle analysis. Preference will be given to candidates with interest in energy-systems modeling and policy issues related to one or more of these areas. The initial appointment will be for one year, with the possibility of extension. The salary will be determined on a case-by-case basis commensurate with experience. Applications should include a cover letter, resume, 2-3 sample publications, and names of three references. Application review begins April 19, 2010, and continues until position is filled.

Individuals with evidence of experience in scholarly research in the prescribed areas are encouraged to apply. You may apply online at jobs.princeton.edu; for general application information and how to self-identify, see here. We strongly recommend that all interested candidates use the online application process.

Princeton University is an equal opportunity employer and complies with applicable EEO and affirmative action regulations.

Lise Meitner and Otto Hahn, c. 1913