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Preparing Versatile Engineers For The Nuclear Industry

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Trends in Nuclear Engineering Education I

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.939.1 - 8.939.5



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Paper Authors

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Audeen Fentiman

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2177

Preparing Versatile Engineers for the Nuclear Industry

Audeen W. Fentiman The Ohio State University


During its meteoric rise in the 1960s and 1970s, the nuclear industry hired thousands of engineers. As the industry matured in subsequent years, the number of employees leveled off. Now, many of those engineers hired in the 1960s and ‘70s are approaching retirement. Since a substantial fraction of the nuclear industry’s workforce is about to retire, the demand for employees with an understanding of nuclear science and technology is about to grow. Nuclear power plants are operating more efficiently than ever, making them an important asset to utilities and increasing the likelihood that 20-year license extensions will be sought for most of the plants. With concerns about greenhouse gases growing, there is a renewed interest in nuclear power. A new generation of nuclear power plants is being designed, and the current administration in Washington supports construction of a new nuclear power plant by 2010. It appears that the number of nuclear power plants will remain stable or grow over the next few decades. In addition, other uses of radioactive materials, such as medical treatments and diagnoses, non-destructive testing, food irradiation, and research in many fields, continue to grow.

The nuclear industry requires a workforce with a wide range of capabilities. Certainly, it needs nuclear engineers. But it also needs mechanical, chemical, electrical, and other engineers with an understanding of nuclear science and technology. In addition, it needs health physicists or environmental scientists and engineers, chemists, geologists, and health professionals who have mastered the basics of radiation science.

The Ohio State University has a graduate program in Nuclear Engineering which offers M.S. and Ph.D. degrees and prepares its students for employment in utilities, research laboratories, nuclear medicine, regulatory agencies, and so on. However, OSU’s Nuclear Engineering Program also uses four other established programs to provide students from other disciplines with knowledge of nuclear science and technology that will prepare them for careers in the nuclear industry. Those programs are: 1) Undergraduate minor in nuclear engineering 2) Graduate minor in radiation safety 3) BS/MS program 4) Dual masters degree program.

The undergraduate and graduate minor were developed by the Nuclear Engineering Program and guided through a long review process culminating with approval by a university-wide academic

“Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education”

Fentiman, A. (2003, June), Preparing Versatile Engineers For The Nuclear Industry Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--11673

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