President to Sign Nuclear Education Provision
A provision to increase America's nuclear science education is on its way to the President to be signed into law. The language, included at the request of Idaho Senator Larry Craig, is incorporated in the America Competes Act.
The provision establishes university grants to create new university nuclear science programs and enhance existing ones. The grants will assist the University of Idaho, Idaho State University, and Boise State University, including their collaboration with the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) and the Center for Advanced Energy Studies (CAES). CAES is located at the INL and is tasked with research and development of energy production technologies. It is designed to leverage the unique capabilities of each institution.
Craig, clearly pleased with the enactment of his provision, stated, "Nuclear power is a proven, zero-emission, reliable, and safe power source. Over the last two decades there has been a serious lack of investment in the nuclear industry and in nuclear education. Nuclear power is rebounding because of its ability to meet our growing energy demands in a cost effective and environmentally responsible manner. Consequently, we need to encourage domestic education of nuclear scientists and engineers, which is exactly what this legislation does."
The Act also drew praise from Idaho's university presidents.
"Because of Senator Craig's leadership in drafting and passing the America Competes Act, our colleges and universities will be ready to deliver world-class education to the Nation's next generation nuclear scientists and engineers," said Arthur Vailas, President of Idaho State University. "With our state's other two universities and Idaho National Laboratory, Idaho State University will continue its long tradition of providing nuclear science and engineering education to Idahoans and students from around the country. Now, because of Senator Craig's leadership, we can do our job even better."
Tim White, President of the University of Idaho, said, "A vibrant nuclear power industry capable of meeting our nation's energy needs requires a strong underlying nuclear science and engineering education program. For far too long, our nation has ignored necessary education and training with the result that the workforce is lacking. This legislation will go far toward helping us rebuild the nuclear science and engineering education base that we so desperately need."
Bob Kustra, President of Boise State University, said, "This legislation takes a major step towards ensuring our nation has a highly-qualified workforce in place to support a number of nuclear-related initiatives critical to our nation's interest. Our country's academic community is indebted to Senator Craig for his proactive and timely approach to addressing this important issue."