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Virginia Tech will offer nuclear engineering minor in 2020

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Print this page By Kate Andrews .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Virginia Tech announced Thursday it would launch a new minor in nuclear engineering in January through its mechanical engineering department. Students in the colleges of engineering and science will be able to take the course-load of 18 credit hours, as well as students in other majors that meet course requirements.

Naval ROTC students in particular will be encouraged to obtain the minor if they plan to go into the nuclear Navy. Mark Pierson, associate professor of practice in mechanical engineering, said in a statement Thursday that students who take the courses will be prepared for “careers at nuclear engineering-related companies, nuclear power plants, state and national government positions, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the U.S. Navy, naval shipyards that build nuclear-powered ships and submarines, and for graduate students in nuclear engineering.”

The minor will have four required courses in differential equations, fundamentals of nuclear engineering and radiation detection, protection and shielding. Electives will cover power plant operations, the nuclear fuel cycle and reactor thermal hydraulics.

Virginia has two nuclear power plants — North Anna in Louisa County and Surry in Surry County, both owned by Dominion Energy — and the Navy has a concentration of 97 nuclear reactors in Hampton Roads, according to the Virginia Nuclear Energy Consortium.

Newport News Shipbuilding in Newport News is the nation’s sole producer of nuclear-powered  aircraft carriers and one of only two producers of nuclear-powered submarines.

Virginia Commonwealth University and Old Dominion University also offer undergraduate and graduate degrees in nuclear engineering.

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