DOE invests in future nuclear energy leaders - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

DOE invests in future nuclear energy leaders

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RICHLAND, Wash. -- Secretary of Energy Steven Chu announced, The Department of Energy will be giving more than $47 million in scholarships, fellowships, research grants and university research reactor upgrades to train and educate the next generation of leaders in America's nuclear industry.

 The 143 awards are part of the Department's Nuclear Energy University Programs and Integrated University Program will support nuclear energy R&D and student investment at 46 colleges and universities around the country.

Washington State University in Pullman received a little under $2 million in funds.  Ken Nash,  a radioactive chemistry professor says he'll use the money for a project to help them find a better way to deal with nuclear waste that comes from a power plant.

The research will be done in Richland at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory with WSU Pullman grad students.
"What happens in a period of 25-30 years is that the staff gets old and they retire. Not just PNNL, but all of the Department of Energy national labs are really in a position these days where they have difficulty in finding qualified individuals with the right kind of back ground to do the research they need to do to deal with these radio active materials," says Nash.

WSU is also getting two grants to update their infrastructure, including the nuclear reactor at the Pullman campus.

Professor Nash says its also a good way for his handful of graduate students to possibly find jobs in their field in the future.