Two universities have announced they will introduce new graduate and undergraduate nuclear engineering programmes - the first time in more than 20 years that new university nuclear courses have been launched in the USA.
The two new nuclear reactor-oriented programmes will be launched at South Carolina State University (SCSU) in Orangeburg and at the University of South Carolina (USC) in Columbia, South Carolina, respectively. Both have already been approved by the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education.
US energy secretary Spencer Abraham said both programmes represented a response to state and national needs for nuclear engineering graduates. He pointed out that the state of South Carolina is "deeply involved" with nuclear energy, with facilities including seven operating power reactor units, a commercial fuel fabrication facility and a low-level waste disposal facility.
SCSU's new undergraduate nuclear engineering programme will be offered in partnership with the University of Winsconsin. While the majority of courses can be completed at the South Carolina campus, students will need to "round out" their education by courses that involve access to a research reactor at Winsconsin's Madison campus.
USC's nuclear engineering graduate programme will offer Master of Science, Master of Engineering and Doctor of Philosophy degrees, with research expected to be developed in the general areas of reactor design, reactor safety, material applications and other applications.