McDonald Research
University of Utah

Current Research

Environmental Radiochemistry
Spent Nuclear Fuel Reprocessing
Nuclear Forensics
Identifying novel signatures of nuclear materials is essential for identifying the provenance, process history, and geographical history of a sample; thus yielding information that will aid in verifying treaty compliance and identification of WMD development and proliferation that has occurred outside of treaties and agreements.
Understanding the fate and transport of contaminants in the subsurface involves a detailed investigation of factors related to soil biogeochemistry, factors causing acceleration and retardation of contaminant transport under varying in-situ conditions.
Used nuclear fuel contains almost one-third of the periodic table. With an increased demand for nuclear power, more focus is being devoted toward the reprocessing of used fuel to reduce both the volume and radiotoxicity of the waste.
What We Do
Why We Do It
The McDonald research group is focused on fundamental radiochemistry. Radiochemistry is a beautiful multi-disciplinary field. Our research often utilizes expertise in analytical, environmental and inorganic chemistry, nuclear and environmental engineering, and material science. The research is very diverse which makes it always exciting!
While our research is heavily focused on the fundamental/basic science side, it is very rewarding to see the broader application of our work. We hope that by improving our fundamental knowledge of basic nuclear material properties including microstructure, morphology, complexation chemistry, etc. that we will help in the rapid detection of hostile nuclear materials, remediate and dispose of radioactive materials in an environmentally responsible manner, and develop advanced processes for recycling spent nuclear fuel.
How Can We Help
Join Us
We love collaborative opportunities! We feel that the best science does not happen alone, but as a team. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions or suggestions for our research. We love feedback and we hope that we can team with as many brilliant minds as possible to make the greatest contribution to the community of science.
We are seeking undergraduate and graduate students, especially PhD students in environmental engineering.
Information on the Environmental graduate program may be found here . Feel free to contact Dr. McDonald with any questions.