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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Nuclear security administration names A&M as center of excellence

The National Nuclear Security Administration has named six universities as centers of excellence that will help work with the emerging field of predictive sciences involving nuclear warfare, with Texas A&M being one of them.
The designation as a center of excellence will bring $8 million to the University over a five-year period, said A&M System Chancellor John Sharp.
“Our College of Engineering continues to innovate and improve on their status as one of the top programs in the country,” Sharp said. “This designation as a center of excellence by the NNSA is evidence of the momentum.”
With countries such as North Korea conducting nuclear testing underground, the NNSA has used simulation and modeling tools to assess nuclear
weapon stockpiles.
The alliance with universities allows for training where graduate students and post-doctoral researchers will learn skills to eventually use on large-
scale simulations.
“I feel this recognition is indicative of the caliber, quality and value of our program,” said Yassin Hassan, head of the Department of Nuclear Engineering at Texas A&M. “We are fortunate to have strategic administrators, dedicated faculty, hard-working staff and extraordinary students who are committed to setting our program apart.”
Schools were selected as multidisciplinary simulation centers or single-discipline centers, with A&M having a single-disciplinary system receiving $1.6 million per year under NNSA’s Predictive Science Academic Alliance Program II (PSAAP II) agreement.
“We expect the PSAAP alliances will continue to help develop the predictive science field and the workforce of the future, wherein simulations will be pervasive and instrumental in important, high-impact, decision-making processes,” said Robert Meisner, director of the NNSA Advanced Simulation and
Computing program.
For students within the Department of Nuclear Engineering, the alliance provides for unique opportunities that weren’t once available.
Chaz Mazzilli, sophomore radiological health engineering major, said the announcement opens up the idea of pursuing a nuclear path and asserts the prestige of the A&M engineering program.
“This designation of the A&M program as a center of excellence by the NNSA affirms the program as one of the nation’s elite engineering colleges, which brings praise to both the faculty and the students,” Mazzilli said. “It shows that our researchers and professors are among the best of the best and promises that the program will only become larger, more refined and highly sought after in
the future.”
The NNSA was established by Congress in 2000 as an agency within the U.S. Department of Energy responsible for enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science. The association is responsible for the management and security of the nation’s nuclear weapons, nuclear nonproliferation and naval reactor programs and responding to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the U.S. and abroad.
Mazzilli said the recognition will give himself and others within the College of Engineering a better idea of what is expected of them when trying to pursue a nuclear engineering career path.
Other schools selected were the University of Utah, University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign, Stanford University, University of Florida and University of Notre Dame.

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