Department of Materials Science and Engineering Professor Aris Christou was a guest on the September 5, 2010 edition of "Platts Energy Week," broadcast on Washington, D.C. CBS affiliate WUSA9 TV.
Christou, who serves as the director of the Clark School's Graduate Program in Nuclear Engineering, and the Department of Energy's Principle Deputy Assistant Secretary, Dr. Pete Lyons, were guests in a segment about the rise of applicants to nuclear engineering programs at universities across the U.S. Bill Loveless, Platts Editorial Director for U.S. Energy Policy, moderated the discussion.
The segment, "Federal Incentives Boost New Interest in Nuclear Energy," explained how the renewal of U.S. interest in constructing and staffing nuclear power plants—as well as maintaining existing ones—could face challenges after a decades-long lapse steered students away from degrees in nuclear engineering. The good news is that student enrollment in nuclear engineering programs is on the rebound, currently at its highest in over two decades as the nation has begun to re-embrace nuclear power as an important factor in addressing its energy needs and freeing itself from dependency on fossil fuels. Some programs, including the Clark School's, are also benefiting from new federal education grants aimed at expanding nuclear education options and offerings.
At the Clark School, Christou told Loveless,"…we have now taken an integrated approach toward revitalizing nuclear engineering [programs] and also placing a greater emphasis on our online masters program…[which] we are offering to students in the industry." At the undergraduate level, the Clark School is promoting a minor in nuclear engineering which, Christou said, when paired with a related major such as materials science or mechanical engineering, "makes a student very employable."