As seen in the January 2017 issue of Nuclear News | Copyright © 2017 by the American Nuclear Society
IN ITS 10 YEARS OF EXISTENCE, THE NUCLEAR ENGINEERING PROGRAM AT VIRGINIA COMMONWEALTH UNIVERSITY IS HELPING MEET INDUSTRY PERSONNEL NEEDS AND CONTRIBUTING TO THE DISCIPLINE.
By Rebecca Jones
Ten years ago, Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Mechanical Engineering added nuclear engineering to its program offerings, bringing comprehensive nuclear engineering education back to Virginia. Today, VCU is the only university in Virginia with an accredited undergraduate nuclear engineering major concentration, as well as M.S. and Ph.D. programs in mechanical and nuclear engineering. Those programs are making robust intellectual contributions to the discipline while also meeting significant industry needs. The idea to create them came about when industry and academia came together to solve a problem.
“Around 2007 or so, Dominion Resources’ nuclear business unit employed a lot of people who had come in with bachelor’s degrees in engineering, but they had to leave the state to go any further into their education in nuclear engineering,” said Kerry Basehore, who was director of nuclear analysis and fuel for Dominion from 1997 to 2016. “We looked at the situation, and at the fact that the VCU School of Engineering had opened 10 years earlier, and we said, ‘Why don’t we start a night program?’”