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Nuclear Engineering Program

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The Nuclear Engineering Program (NEP) is a program in the Virginia Tech Mechanical Engineering Department. It is a rapidly expanding program with the faculty, resources, facilities, and support necessary to become a premier program. The Virginia Tech NEP will offer a comprehensive, multidisciplinary program addressing nuclear power, nuclear security and safeguards, medical physics, nuclear materials, plasma science, and nuclear policy. The Program will prepare the next generation of graduates to advance the design and safe-practice of nuclear engineering, and will expand and add to the body of knowledge that comprises the discipline of nuclear engineering for the benefit of our students, research sponsors, the technical and industrial community, academia, and ultimately our society. Nuclear engineering professionals are engaged in nuclear power generation, nuclear security and safeguards, nuclear medicine, radiation therapy and diagnosis, and new research on emerging technologies.

There is increased interest in nuclear power due to growing energy needs while at the same time there is an equally strong interest in minimizing the impact on climate change. By 2030, the projected increase in electricity demand in the Unites States is 25% and the world net electricity generation is projected to double. The amount of electricity generated by nuclear power plants is expected to increase by 72% to meet this demand. There is a significant need for education of nuclear engineers who are prepared to serve in the power industry and design the next generation of reactors.

In addition to an increase in demand for nuclear power engineers there is a need for well trained scientists and engineers who can engage in research on the design and optimizations of other nuclear technologies. Nuclear safety, monitoring, and safeguards is of great concern today and requires a generation of professionals to contribute to the development of new non-destructive detection and monitoring systems. Further, our graduates will contribute to nuclear medicine through the optimization  and operation of radiation diagnosis and therapy systems, radiation imaging devices, and tools for the evaluation of radiation doses and effects