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NRC Funds $400,000 in Fellowships

Health Physics, Nuclear Engineering Grad Students Eligible

02/11/2011
By Edwin L. Aguirre

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) recently awarded UMass Lowell $400,000 to help fund graduate fellowships in health physics and nuclear engineering for the next four years.

“The fellowships will be split between M.S. students in radiological sciences and nuclear engineering,” says physics Prof. Clayton French, who is the coordinator of the University’s radiological sciences program. “Each award is worth $25,000, so we can give out four per year.”

Says Prof. Gilbert Brown, UMass Lowell’s nuclear engineering program coordinator: “We will use the program to attract highly qualified and motivated graduate students specifically for careers within the resurgent nuclear industry, especially in supporting the design, construction, operation and regulation of nuclear facilities and the safe handling of nuclear materials.”

“In addition to assisting students, this NRC grant will send an important signal to our University colleagues and to the public about the future value of nuclear technology as a safe and reliable energy source and as an important tool in medicine, industry and research,” he adds.

Interdisciplinary Opportunity

UMass Lowell’s Radiation Laboratory on North Campus is uniquely suited to providing interdisciplinary academic training and industry partnerships. Its facilities include a 1-megawatt research reactor (one of only 26 in the country), a 5-million-electron-volt Van de Graff particle accelerator and a cobalt-60 gamma-ray source, as well as radiochemistry laboratories and complete health physics analytical and assaying facilities.

According to Brown, since the University first introduced the health physics and nuclear engineering programs in the 1960s, more than 700 bachelor’s, 400 master’s and 50 Ph.D. degrees have been awarded.

“Almost all of our nuclear engineering graduates and more than half of our health physics graduates have worked in the nuclear power and related industries,” he says.

In particular, they have worked at companies such as NextEra Energy (Seabrook Station), Entergy (Pilgrim Nuclear Station), The Shaw Group (previously Stone & Webster), AREVA (previously Yankee Atomic Electric Co.), EPM Inc., RSCS Inc., Cabrera Services Corp., MGP Instruments and others.

For more information about the NRC fellowship program, contact Clayton_French@uml.edu or at 978-934-3286; or Gilbert_Brown@uml.edu or at 978-934-3166.