Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Fast-Tracking Fission at LCS

One of the pleasures of serving as Dean of LC Smith is the chance to work with practicing engineers. For example, a couple of weeks ago I joined LCS Professors Dr. Larry Tavlarides, Dr. Mark Glauser, and Dr. Prasanta Ghosh in a visit to Constellation Energy Nuclear Group’s Nine Mile Point Nuclear Station (NMPNS) in Oswego, New York.

We talked with Sam Belcher, Vice President NMPNS and Tom Lynch, Plant Manager NMPNS about the growing demand for engineers who will design and work in nuclear power plants. The need for these engineers will increase dramatically in the next decade. Engineers of all types will be in demand including electrical engineers, mechanical engineers, civil engineers, computer scientists, and nuclear engineers.

The map below is from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission and shows locations where new or expanded nuclear power plants are proposed. As you can see, many plants are expected to come on-line in the near future. You can read more about nuclear power plants from the World Nuclear Association.

LCS is helping to meet the national and international demand for nuclear power engineers by establishing a new track in Nuclear Engineering. A highlight of the visit to Nine Mile Point was the presentation by Mr. Belcher of a $50,000 check from Constellation Energy to help LCS jumpstart the new curriculum. New courses in the track will be open to students in all disciplines at LCS beginning in the 2010-11 academic year.

Presentation of check to LCS team. From left: Melanie Morgan, Karen Davis, Dr. Ghosh, Associate Dean Mark Glauser, Dean Laura J. Steinberg, Sam Belcher, Vice President – NMPNS, Nancy Holden, Sr. HR Consultant and Ron Leski, General Supervisor – Engineering Asset Management.

Discussing the new Nuclear Engineering curriculum with NMP personnel (from left) Melanie Morgan, Dr. Mark Glauser, Dr. Larry Tavlarides, Dean Laura J. Steinberg, and Ron Leski (back to camera).

Mr. Belcher also led us on a fascinating tour of the plant - a facility that is so technically complex that it takes approximately 110 engineers and 165 operations personnel to run it! Below is a photo of the Unit 1 Training Simulator, where engineers are trained to monitor and control the workings of the plant on a second-by-second basis. We were pleased to learn that a number of LCS alumni are employed as engineers at NMPNS , and others serve as summer interns. Our alums told us that they are thrilled that more LCS graduates will be joining the nuclear industry in the future.

Touring the Unit 1 Training Simulator

Dr. Prasanta Ghosh has a conversation with Alex Sterio, General Supervisor of Design Engineering for Constellation Energy Nuclear Group, regarding the growing interest by students in power and energy fields because of the jobs that exist at NMPNS and facilities throughout the country.