Undergraduate Introduction

Nuclear Engineering involves the practical application of the principles of nuclear science for the benefit of human kind. It provides the engineer with the opportunity to work on challenging problems that are vitally important to the modern world. Many diverse opportunities await graduates of the Nuclear Engineering (NE) Program as nuclear sciences have and will continue to make major contributions to electricity production, medical diagnostic imaging and therapy, non-destructive testing as well as radiation detection and measurement.

These opportunities will continue to grow as we face more challenges in energy production and medicine. For the last 3 decades, the nuclear industry has contributed over 20% of our country’s electricity production, and major advances continue to be made in the development of radiation diagnostics and treatment for medical and industrial applications.

The objective of the program is to provide students with a strong academic background that enables them to pursue professional careers in nuclear and radiation-based industries, or to pursue graduate study in nuclear engineering or related fields such as medical physics, health physics, or another engineering field. The program especially appeals to students with an interest in applying advanced technologies, mathematics, science, and computer science and engineering. The curriculum covers a variety of subjects including radiation interactions, particle diffusion and transport, reactor physics, thermal hydraulics, control, fuel cycle and waste management, risk assessment, and radiation protection and dosimetry.

To advance the use of nuclear science and engineering, the NE faculty have been involved in cutting edge research in many different areas including reactor analysis, high performance computing, advanced reactor design, and fuels for space nuclear power and propulsion, particle transport methods and their application for simulation of real-life nuclear systems, reactor physics, robotics, advanced nuclear fuel design, nondestructive testing, and detection.

 

Career Opportunities

Students have the opportunity to pursue careers in diverse fields, such as in a nuclear fuel facility, nuclear reactor research and design, medical physics, radiation detection and many more. A list of non-exhaustive career prospects for nuclear engineering graduates are as follows:

  • Academia
  • Utilities/Nuclear power plants (NPPs)
  • Nuclear energy companies – Research and design
    • Areva, Siemens, Westinghouse
  • Regulatory, policy-making
    • NRC, NEI, DOE, DHS
  • National labs
    • ORNL, LLNL, LANL
  • Medical institutions
    • Radiology, cancer treatment, medical physics
  • International agencies
    • International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna