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To provide new career opportunities to engineering and science students, Prairie View A&M University established a nuclear engineering program within its Department of Chemical Engineering in 2003.

Prairie View’s Panther Pipeline Program helps students work on research projects that support the engineering workforce in nuclear power. Current nuclear research areas are radiation detector and sensors, medical physics, and advanced energy systems.

This summer, Dr. Richard Wilkins, a Prairie View engineering professor, is supervising students as they conduct modeling and simulation research with other Texas colleges and universities.

Wilkins is collaborating with the Nuclear Power Institute at Texas A&M University, which is part of the Systems Engineering Initiative- Nuclear Science, Technology, and Education for Molten Salt Reactors.

The Nuclear Power Institute is a joint center of the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station and Texas A&M University.

The Systems Engineering Initiative- Nuclear Science, Technology, and Education for Molten Salt Reactors is part of a Grand Challenge Integrated Research Project with the Nuclear Energy University Program in the U. S. Department of Energy (DOE).

Since 2009, the DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy’s Nuclear Energy University Program has awarded approximately $569 million to 123 colleges and universities to train the next generation of nuclear engineers and scientists in the United States and continue American leadership in clean energy innovation.

According to the Nuclear Energy Institute, which fosters the beneficial uses of nuclear technology, the industry expects to hire about 4,000 workers a year for the next five years, a total of 23,000 workers.

Power Engineering magazine says the power sector will need more than 100,000 skilled workers by 2018, according to industry associations and consulting firms.

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