The "Department of Energy/University Nuclear Science and Engineering Act" also calls on the Energy Department to develop a graduate and undergraduate fellowship programme to attract new students, and to assist universities in recruitment.

The bill’s sponsors warn that only 28 university reactors are currently operating in the USA, about half as many as in 1980.

The Nuclear Energy Institute, meanwhile, is warning that ongoing NRC research on reactor pressure vessel materials has been put at risk by the planned shutdown of the University of Michigan reactor programme in late 2002 or 2003.