American Nuclear Society Student Conference
NUCLEAR IS ___________________________.#nuclearisThe word “nuclear” likely invokes a few specific mental images to the general public. Indeed, prior to receiving a full undergraduate education, even aspiring nuclear engineers may only be aware of a few applications and opportunities in the nuclear field. However, the applications of and opportunities within nuclear science and technology go much further than power generation. For example, the medical field has benefited greatly from advances in nuclear science and technology with nuclear-enabled tools for imaging, cancer treatments, and sterilization. Irradiating food offers protection from harmful microorganisms without compromising the quality of food. Nuclear science and technology provides tools to law enforcement and national security personnel to help identify threats and protect our communities. Of course, nuclear power generation is a major focus in education, research, and industry; and the successes and advances in this area are not to be overlooked.Professionals working in the nuclear industry often require skills and expertise beyond strictly nuclear science. Modeling and simulation analysts must learn and maintain computer coding skills. The nuclear power industry needs professionals that understand regulations in order to meet their strict requirements for safety. Additionally, the nuclear power industry is looking to those with an entrepreneurial spirit to bring new technologies to fruition that promise increased performance at a lower cost. The finances of nuclear power plants are unique in the energy production sector and require those with economic expertise to plan for the continued, financially successful operation of nuclear power plants.VCU has chosen to focus on the broad nature of nuclear science and technology with the theme “Nuclear is ________________.” Under this theme, the conference will explore the many opportunities accustomed to students within the nuclear science and technology realm. The theme will also encompass the many supportive activities, technologies, and experts in varied fields of nuclear science and technology. Obvious examples of the application of the theme include: “Nuclear is thermal-hydraulics.” or “Nuclear is neutronics.” or “Nuclear is nonproliferation.” Other, less obvious applications of the theme include: “Nuclear is cyber security.” or “Nuclear is health.” or “Nuclear is advocacy.” or “Nuclear is economics.”In addition, this theme allows VCU to explore the subtle and ubiquitous impacts of nuclear science and technology. For example: “Nuclear is making toast.” One out of every five pieces of bread used in making toast is toasted using electricity generated from nuclear power plants. Another example would be “Nuclear is fresh herbs and spices.” Almost every jar of dried herbs or spices sold in the U.S. has been irradiated to preserve its flavor and maintain longer shelf-lives. Demonstrating the successful and safe day-to-day use of nuclear science and technology represents an important nuclear advocacy tool that we will highlight throughout the conference.Additionally, the exciting new technologies that hold much promise for the nuclear industry will be represented by “Nuclear is entrepreneurship.” and “Nuclear is innovation.” Innovations in reactor designs, medical applications, and security tools will require those with the imagination and the business skills capable of launching new products and/or companies that fulfill the promise of an improved world. In contrast with the ubiquitous and mundane, successes in innovation and entrepreneurship represent the exciting and inspiring aspects of nuclear science and technology that will energize those students in attendance.
- Student Organization: American Nuclear Society Student Chapter at the University of Michigan
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