The Energy Department today awarded nearly $5 million to undergraduate and graduate students pursuing nuclear engineering and science degrees. The awards include 37 undergraduate scholarships and 31 graduate-level fellowships for students studying at American colleges and universities.
"Supporting the next-generation nuclear energy workforce plays a critical role in maintaining American leadership in clean energy innovation and the safe and secure use of nuclear power worldwide," said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. "The scholarships and fellowships announced today will help ensure that U.S. nuclear engineers and scientists continue to be among the best energy innovators and researchers."
According to industry estimates, the U.S. electric power industry will have to replace nearly 100,000 workers -- more than 25,000 of them in the nuclear industry -- by 2015. In the next few years, about 30 percent of nuclear energy industry workers, many of whom joined the field in the 1960s and 1970s, will be eligible for retirement. The Energy Department's nuclear energy scholarship and fellowship program is helping to train the next generation of nuclear engineers and scientists in the United States and continue American leadership in clean energy innovation.
As part of the awards announced today, each undergraduate scholarship provides $5,000 to help cover education costs for the upcoming year, while the three-year graduate fellowships provide $50,000 each year to help pay for graduate studies and research. Fellowships also include $5,000 to fund a summer internship at a U.S. national laboratory or other approved research facility to strengthen the ties between students and the Department's energy research programs.
Since 2009, the Energy Department has awarded nearly $13 million to more than 280 students for nuclear energy scholarships and fellowships. Ninety-five percent of the students who were awarded fellowships in 2009 have since completed the program and are pursuing careers in nuclear energy fields at the Department's national laboratories, other government agencies, academic institutions or private companies.