Washington State University has developed a Nuclear Engineering emphasis within its College of Engineering and Architecture. The emphasis is comprised of specific courses as well as new modules for existing courses pertaining to basic nuclear science, engineering principles, and applications. In addition, nuclear safety, nuclear security, and nuclear environmental protection will be addressed. The availability of employment in the region’s extensive engineering enterprises with activities related to nuclear power production, nuclear waste treatment, nuclear fuel processing, and medical isotope production, has excited students to this discipline’s growing future. In addition, the recent national attention generated by news of potential new nuclear power and fuel business activities has added to the appeal of this program. The regional center for nuclear engineering employment is located near Richland, Washington; hence, the program will be led by resident and adjunct faculty at the Tri-Cities campus of Washington State University, located in Richland. The faculty at this location interact closely with local nuclear industry and government agencies associated with the U. S. government’s Hanford nuclear reservation. This includes the only operating commercial nuclear power reactor in the Northwestern United States (Columbia Generating Station, operated by Energy Northwest), as well as the largest nuclear waste treatment project in the nation, and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. There is also a nuclear fuel vendor, Areva, and related businesses nearby including DOE’s contractors. At its main campus, WSU operates the Nuclear Radiation Center, which includes one of the dwindling number of University research reactors and is home to a unique radiochemistry program.
Although led from the Tri-Cities campus, the courses comprising the nuclear emphasis are not restricted to students there. In addition, students may be taught by faculty from Pullman or other WSU campuses. Through its two-way, live Academic Media Services (AMS), nuclear-related courses comprising the emphasis area curriculum will be made available to students at the Tri-Cities and Pullman campuses. Because of its longstanding agreement to jointly offer courses with the University of Idaho, the engineering student population at UIís Moscow campus can also access these offerings.
The goal of the effort is to offer a coherent Nuclear Engineering Emphasis within the College of Engineering and Architecture at WSU, aimed at both undergraduate and graduate engineering students enrolled in non-nuclear degree programs at WSU.
The ultimate goal of the proposed program is to support the NRC’s mission as it relates to promotion of the nation’s nuclear engineering activities, while supporting the secure and safe development of national energy priorities.