As the bunnies know, Barry Brook, owner operator of Brave New Climate, is a strong advocate of nuclear power as THE (his words) way to avoid the climate disruption soon upon us. He has even written a book about it, pictured on the right. Free publicity for friends here at Rabett Run.
Now Eli, Eli thinks that nuclear must play a significant role, but there are other technologies that will also be important, including a shift from coal to natural gas, solar and wind. Eli is what you call a moderate Rabett, moderation in everything, including moderation. Joe Romm, on the other ear, thinks that nuclear is cods liver oil, but then Eli don't agree with everyone on everything either.
However, to the point (spoil sporting again), in reading through the National Academys' report of doctoral graduate programs, Eli came across a tab for "Emerging Fields" and in that tab the bunny found that fourteen of the best places in the US have (more likely restarted) nuclear engineering programs.
|Institution Name||Number of Core Faculty||Number of Associated Faculty||Number of Students|
|GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY||7||3||19|
|KANSAS STATE UNIVERSITY||4||0||6|
|MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY||35||0||79|
|NORTH CAROLINA STATE UNIVERSITY||8||9||23|
|OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY||7||3||16|
|PENN STATE UNIVERSITY||14||26||23|
|RENSSELAER POLYTECHNIC INSTITUTE||7||10||4|
|TEXAS A & M UNIVERSITY||15||19||38|
|UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA-BERKELEY||12||2||47|
|UNIVERSITY OF CINCINNATI||6||0||10|
|UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA||12||131||14|
|UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS AT URBANA-CHAMPAIGN||10||21||47|
|UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND COLLEGE PARK||4||3||7|
|UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN-ANN ARBOR||20||1||59|
|UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI - COLUMBIA||5||0||27|
|UNIVERSITY OF NEW MEXICO ||6||2||22|
|UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE||9||15||16|
|UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN MADISON||29||N/D||43|
They are both a trend and a remnant. Nuclear engineering programs were everywhere in the US in the 60s, but started to shut down in the 70's for multiple reasons, no new plants being build as one, the increased difficulty of operating research reactors being another. What remained trained operators for the existing nuclear plants. One of the things that happens in academically dying fields is that departments of dying stuff convert themselves into department of dying stuff and trendy stuff. Thus, Departments of Anatomy became Departments of Anatomy and Neuroscience or Departments of Anatomy and Paleoscience. In other cases, Deans politely ask department to merge, as in Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering. In yet others, the departments glom onto a part of their field that is expanding, as in the Department of Nuclear Plasma and Radiological Engineering.
The Department of Nuclear Engineering was established in 1958 as an inter-disciplinary program and was granted departmental status in 1986. Its name was changed to the Department of Nuclear, Plasma and Radiological Engineering in 1999 to reflect the three paths typically followed by its students, and the wide variety of courses available to them. The change was approved by the Illinois Board of Higher Education at its June 15, 1999 Board meeting.The nuclear engineering department where Eli had collaborators began hiring materials scientists and converted into a Department of Materials Engineering but the school has brought back a nuclear engineering program.
"The name change has been in the works for a long time," said James Stubbins, department head. "The purpose of this name change is twofold: first, to emphasize that the nuclear engineering discipline, as it is taught at the University of Illinois, is not just about commercial nuclear power, and, second, to better reflect the breadth of the undergraduate curriculum, the graduate program, and the diversity of the faculty.
"Over the last few years, the faculty has developed a modified undergraduate curriculum," Stubbins continued. "The primary purpose of the revised curriculum is to explicitly include two new sub-fields or paths of study: Radiological, Medical and Instrumentation Applications, and Plasmas and Fusion Science and Engineering. The third, the traditional Reactor Power, Safety and the Environment sub-field, is also an option. The explicit incorporation of the new sub-fields has been performed to better prepare our undergraduate students for employment in radiation-related sectors of the U.S. job market, and to better reflect the expanding opportunities in the evolving nuclear engineering discipline in line with faculty research interests."
It looks like Nuclear Engineering departments might be making a comeback. The key in the US is going to be Steven Chu's attitude as head of the Department of Energy. Of course, when a thousand flowers bloom, some die