Krishnakumar Nangeelil and Zaijing Sun (both Health Physics and Diagnostic Sciences) and their collaborators, Cai Qingseng and Scott Lassell of the Department of Nuclear Engineering at the North Carolina State University, published an article titled “Investigation of Heavy Metals in Cottonseeds with Instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis (INAA)” in the Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry. The study was conducted by neutron activation with the PULSTAR reactor. The results indicate that cottonseeds from several counties of South Carolina exhibited a consistent and similar elemental absorption pattern for heavy elements, and Zn, Co, Rb are the most abundant heavy metal pollutants identified in cottonseeds produced near the superfund sites listed by EPA.
Dr. Sun received one-time funding from the federal Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA) to develop remote spectra collection system for nuclear sciences.
During the pandemic, the students and professors are suffered from the interruption of experimental activities, especially on experiments of radiation detection and measurements. Due to the social distance policy and laboratories’ limited capacity, the related experiments for teaching and research are mostly paused. In this project, Dr. Sun proposed to develop a remote spectra collection system at the radiation laboratories, which allows the students to obtain radiation spectra through the internet and remotely control the sample exchangers. The implementation of the project will benefit the teaching and research activities and reduce the personal in laboratories. It will support student’s success in completing the degrees on time in health physics, radiochemistry, and nuclear engineering at UNLV.