Civil engineers studying nuclear weapons at NDSU are set to begin their second year of study in the next two months, with the university announcing that it has secured an international contract to design and build two of them.
The two are expected to be commissioned by the end of 2019, with a third being developed by 2021.
The project is part of the Government’s efforts to ensure that future generations of civil engineers will be equipped with the skills to deal with the future threat posed by nuclear weapons.
A total of 18 civil engineers are currently employed in the university’s research programme, which was established in 2017 with the aim of developing the skills and knowledge to design, build and maintain nuclear weapons of the future.
The NDSU civil engineering school was established at the University of Northern Dáil in 2015, and is one of the most advanced in the country, with over 150 students taking its courses.
Its students have been awarded several awards including the National Research Council’s National Research Excellence Award and the Irish National Research Scholarship.
They are currently in the process of completing a second year at NDUI in Derry, which they will be moving to in 2021.
Professor James McGarrigle, director of the Civil Engineering Department, said: “The Civil Engineering Program at NDU is one the largest of its kind in the world.
We have over 150 graduates now working on our projects and we are excited to have secured an award for a project that will be developed by our next cohort.”
This is a major step in our research programme as we develop our nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons design capability.
“I would like to thank the NDU faculty, staff and students for their tremendous commitment and support throughout the course of this project.”
The project is the first of its type in the United States, and comes at a crucial time for the US nuclear deterrent, with US President Donald Trump set to unveil his budget on Monday, in which he will propose to cut more than $1 trillion from the Department of Defense.
It will be the first time that an Irish nuclear weapons project has received an award from the US government.
It was the first project to be developed and built by a US company after it was awarded the US Nuclear Facilities Safety Board (NFFB) Award in 2014.
“We are very excited about this project and looking forward to the successful completion of the programme in 2021,” Mr McGarragle added.
“The success of this award is an example of our continuing commitment to the nuclear weapon community in Ireland, and it reflects the leadership of the NDSU Faculty and the staff who have worked so hard to develop this programme.”
It is a tremendous honour for NDSU to be chosen as a recipient of this prestigious award.