In 1980, the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO) recognized the need to plan for the future by helping to provide an ongoing supply of entry-level engineers to fill the employment needs of the nuclear industry. The importance of a continuing supply of engineers increases as the existing industry workforce ages and replacements are needed.
With funding provided by INPO member utilities, the National Academy for Nuclear Training was established, consisting of the training and educational activities of all U.S. nuclear companies that are members of the National Academy and INPO.
The goals of the National Academy's Educational Assistance Program are to support U.S. nuclear engineering education, to encourage students to consider careers in the nuclear power industry, to support students who would be likely candidates for employment in the industry after graduation, and to strengthen and unify the efforts of U.S. nuclear utilities to improve the performance and professionalism of nuclear plant personnel.
The National Academy awards undergraduate scholarships and graduate fellowships to engineering students demonstrating outstanding academic achievement and interest in careers in the nuclear power industry. The programs are administered by INPO. Funds are provided by all U.S. nuclear electric utilities and by INPO supplier participants.
Undergraduate scholarships are available to eligible students at U.S. colleges and universities who have completed or are participating in work experiences at National Academy member utilities (such as internships or cooperative education work assignments) and are recommended by managers at these member utilities.
Eligibility. Students must be majoring in nuclear, mechanical, or electrical engineering, power-generation health physics, or chemical engineering with a nuclear or power option. Other disciplines may be acceptable, if directly applicable to nuclear power electric generation as approved by the National Academy, based on justification from the nominating utility. Students must be rising juniors or seniors with a minimum GPA of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale). With their applications, students provide biographical data, essay question answers, and transcripts, in addition to utility recommendations. There is no limit to the number of candidates from an institution.
Timetable. National Academy scholarships are awarded during the summer for the upcoming academic year. Applications are available in mid-May through this Web site. Due date for submittal is late June. Students are notified in late July whether or not they will receive an award that becomes effective in August.
Selection Process. Student applications are evaluated based on the recommendation by a manager at a National Academy member utility, the student’s work performance, academic performance, the extent to which the student exhibits the motivation and ability to successfully complete a rigorous course of study, and the student's expressed interest and desire to work in the nuclear power industry. From a ranked listing of students, INPO selects each year's new awardees.
Availability. Approximately 125 scholarships, $2,500 each, are awarded annually to new and renewal students. Scholarships can be renewed for up to one year of additional support to eligible students.
Annually, the deans of engineering and health physics at U.S. colleges or universities with accredited graduate nuclear engineering and/or power-generation health physics programs are invited to submit proposals to participate in this educational support program. The proposals describe each program's curriculum, faculty credentials, nuclear power industry interactions, and statistics for student placement in the industry.
Following a rigorous review process, an independent committee of professional educators and utility managers rates and ranks institutions to receive approximately 20 fellowships, $25,000 each. The National Academy then allocates fellowship awards among the top-ranked institutions. The institutions select students, who receive the support following approval by the National Academy.
Timetable. In September, the National Academy sends a request for proposal (RFP) to universities with accredited graduate nuclear engineering and/or power-generation health physics programs. Awards are announced the following February for the next academic year.
Selection Process. Student candidates are selected by the respective departments receiving fellowships. Following approval of student candidates by the National Academy, students are notified of their awards by their respective universities.
To promote industry hiring of students, INPO routinely communicates with utilities, students and universities. For example, lists of students are provided to utility executive and human resources contacts, and lists of those utility contacts are provided to students—each group is encouraged to communicate with the other.
To assist National Academy-supported students in their search for employment in this industry, students are encouraged to contact member utilities and supplier participants directly. Those organizations are requested to appropriately consider National Academy scholars and fellows for summer, cooperative, internship or permanent employment.
Since 1980, the industry has provided more than $26 million to support some 5,700 students. Of graduated students reporting employment during the five-year period, 2006 through 2010, 83 percent of graduate students and 70 percent of undergraduate students accepted jobs in the nuclear power industry. Experience indicates that Academy students are eager to work in the nuclear industry and make highly skilled, motivated employees.
For additional information about the National Academy Educational Assistance Program, please contact:
National Academy for Nuclear Training Scholarship Program
101 ACT Drive, P.O. Box 4030
Iowa City, IA 52243-4030