About Us

The McDonald Research Lab focuses on three primary topic areas: environmental radiochemistry, spent nuclear fuel reprocessing, and nuclear forensics. While these topics may seem quite diverse, they are all interrelated and devoted to our core research philosophy of improving our fundamental knowledge of basic radionuclide material properties to aid in the rapid detection of hostile nuclear materials, remediate and dispose of radioactive materials in an environmentally responsible manner, and develop advanced processes for the recycling of spent nuclear fuel. 
Since September 2015, our research team has been awarded three federal grants (almost $5M in funding) to improve nuclear forensics capabilities in the U.S. Two of those grants are led by CVEEN/UNEP Assistant Professor, Luther McDonald; while the third is led by Tolga Tasdizen of the Scientific and Computing Institute (SCI) with McDonald as a collaborator.  In total, this funding is supporting 10 new Ph.D. students in areas relevant to nuclear forensics including: nuclear engineering, environmental engineering, and computer science.

Apply for the Nuclear Forensics Summer School here !

We are hiring PhD Students!
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Recent Publications
  1. McDonald IV, L. W., Campbell, J. A., & Clark, S. B. (2014). Failure of ESI Spectra to Represent Metal-Complex Solution Composition: A Study of Lanthanide–Carboxylate Complexes. Analytical chemistry, 86(2), 1023-1029. Link
  2. McDonald IV, L. W., Campbell, J. A., Vercouter, T., & Clark, S. B. (2016). Characterization of Actinides Complexed to Nuclear Fuel Constituents Using ESI-MS. Analytical chemistry, 88(5), 2614-2621. Link
  3. Levinthal, J.D., Richards, B., Snow, M.S., Watrous, M.G., McDonald IV., L.W., Correlating NORM with the mineralogical composition of shale at the microstructural and bulk scale, Applied Geochemistry (2016). Link

January 4, 2016: Forbes Recognizes Prof. McDonald as One of "30 Under 30".  http://www.coe.utah.edu/2017/01/04/1186233/